Art Collection 101: Starting Your Collection

Art Collection 101: Starting Your Collection

by: Kwami Merzier

We know that collecting art can seem intimidating, but in reality any one can do it. As the internet continues to shift into our main medium of communication, more and more resources are available to the general public. This means art collecting is becoming less exclusive and easier to accomplish. Here are a few tips to get you started on your art collection.

Patience, Patience, Patience

First and foremost, collecting art requires patience. Though you may be tempted to add any eye-catching piece into your collection, the best approach is to take a step back and think on it. Research and background information can save you a lot of money (and needless to say, save you the headaches). Many impulsive buyers fall victim to overpriced or even fraudulent pieces. When considering a piece, it is important to look around and read the accompanying documents to make sure you are paying the appropriate price for the work. Visit galleries and exhibits to get an up-close and personal view of the work.

Hire an Art Advisor

Consulting an art advisor can be another route to take when building up your art collection. In addition to their expertise and working knowledge of the market, art advisors have a useful network. They have relationships with galleries and sellers who are a little more exclusive. Sometimes art advisors can even get you discounted prices with sellers they have rapport with. You can find information on the benefits of an art advisor can be found here.

Buy What You Love

As an art collector, you should buy what you love. Many amateur collectors make the mistake of buying for profit. Because of the complexity of the market, only insiders know what piece is on track to bring in a return. Consequently, the best pieces to add to an art collection are ones you enjoy. This way if you don’t get a return , you still end up with a piece you love.


Your budget is a deciding factor in how difficult or easy starting your art collection will be, but there are options if you don’t want to spend too much. If you are looking to save, prints and editions of an artist’s work can be bought for significantly less. Another option is to finance through a financial service or the gallery you are purchasing from. Though they may not advertise the fact that they offer financing, most are open to setting this up if you are serious about it. Keep in mind, however, just because financing is an option, it is not advised to make such purchases unless you can afford to pay for the art in a reasonable time frame.

Develop Your Network

Even when first starting out on you art collection, networking can prove to be essential. Be sure to step out to local galleries, exhibits, and events and introduce yourself. Sometimes relationships can be built before your first purchase is made. This can give you access to more galleries, valuable advice, potential discounts, and a leg up in the market. Be on the look out for local student and emerging artists. Sometimes these artists may have some unlisted works which they can sell to you at a reasonable price. Relationship building will not only provide you with access to art pieces, but will also give access to a wealth of knowledge and people to learn from.

Though the art market is vast and always changing, collecting art is something accessible to everybody. Keep these tips in mind and remember that the most important part of art collecting is to have fun and stay inspired.

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