In lots of ways investing in fine art is very similar to making investments in many alternative types of things. Fine art purchases require good research, good understanding and a careful analysis of the risk at hand. Many people invest in fine art as an immediate investment while others invest more for the long run. It totally depends on your individual scenario and your level of risk.
Whether you choose to buy privately by yourself or choose to invest with the experience of a dealer depends entirely on your individual wants. For a lot of people a broker may be the favorable way to go. For other people it might be best to shop around yourself. By making investments on your own you will obviously avoid commissions and many of the fees tied in with fine art, but alternatively you may also avoid some premium art.
Before you go crazy and purchase any piece of art make certain that you have done the proper analysis. The last item you want to do is purchase some "original" painting only to learn that it is not as original as you originally thought it was. And YES, this happens a lot more than you might think. We often need to be wary of others selling us fakes. Be certain to equip yourself with the proper team to make certain that your fine art is precisely what it is supposed to be. The last item you want to have happen is get taken by some jerk looking to make an easy buck.
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