NEW research from Direct Line SELECT Premier Insurance (SELECT) reveals a new boom in art sales and an appreciation of culture among young Britons.

Young art fans have spent over £1.9 billion in the last year on “affordable art”.

With almost a third (31 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 having purchased paintings, sculptures and photographs valued at less than £4,000 each in the last 12 months, an interest in art is being viewed as a hallmark of sophistication among the young.

One in five (20 per cent) of those aged 18 to 34 that has purchased affordable art in the last year did so to impress visitors to their home, or as a status symbol.

Art is also seen as a sophisticated gift within the age group, with 21 per cent tending to buy pieces of art as gifts for friends and family.

Those art aficionados are also looking towards affordable art as savvy investments too, with one in seven (15 per cent) having purchased art because they believe it is an asset that will appreciate in value.

Stephanie Norton-Henson, appraiser at SELECT Premier Insurance, said: “Young people are transforming their homes into miniature versions of White Cube or the Saatchi Gallery, with works from up-and-coming artists adorning their walls.

“The rise of affordable art fairs over the last 15 years has made building a home collection more accessible than ever before.

“People should be aware the value of their collection will vary over time - some pieces may escalate in value as an artist becomes more established. It is important works are regularly appraised so people can ensure they have sufficient insurance cover to protect the works in their home galleries.”

Knowledge or ownership of art is seen by 12 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds as a sign of modern sophistication.

Art is viewed as a status symbol by many young people - one in 10 of those who own affordable art believes having art in their home is more a marker of social status than expensive items such as 3D Smart TVs.

Young art fans are flocking to art fairs and art markets to purchase their pictures, sculptures and photographs as 18 to 34-year-olds are more likely to purchase art from dedicated art fairs than any other age group in the UK.