Paint by Numbers

Art beat stocks last year. But will the picture change?

Illustration by Hinterland for TIME

Paint by the Numbers

At some point last year I'm sure I had art on my to-do list. Pick up the dry cleaning, a bag of Caff Verona, peanut butter and, oh yeah, a couple of Picassos. How did I forget it? I bought every other asset class last year--small caps, big caps, bond indexes, foreign stock indexes and gold funds--and it all came to naught. That is, the S&P index had a total return of total crap in 2011, although not without extreme volatility, thanks to our friends in Europe.

Instead, art was the place to be. According to the Mei Moses World All...

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