To flip a painting (or flipping a painting) is collector- and auction house jargon.

The term is used to say that a collector wants to resell a work of art at an auction after having purchased at an auction earlier. Thereby, the collector is treating the initial investment as a commodity sale by realising its monetary value.

There may be several reasons:

  • Often modern art appreciate in value and it is thus worth cashing in on the art acquisition.
  • Some collecters simply renew their collections by buying other pieces of work and letting go of pieces which are not in line with the art collection.
  • A collector may also want to cut their losses. Sometimes a collectible artist depreciates in value, and if the collector is not convinced that the value would recover, it may be worth selling at a loss.