Art lovers wanting to begin collecting art needn’t start with Van Gogh or Monet. While originals of the Old Masters probably remain out of your grasp, the world of art collecting remains open to you. Far more artists exist than those already famous and the most important aspect of collecting anything is enjoyment. Keep in mind the five following tips to get your fine art collection started.
1. Find What You Love
Peruse local galleries. Investigate galleries wherever you vacation. Identify cafes and restaurants that feature artists of the month. Frequent these locations to discover new artists. Looking at art on a daily basis helps you discover what you love – not just artists, but media, styles, periods. When you discover what you love, buy it. The artist needn’t carry a famous name. They do need to create work you love. You might discover a future famous artist. Perhaps you’ll become like those who frequented a tiny baked goods shop in Norman, OK that featured silver sculptures by the owner’s friend, a then young artist named Coy Overall. Many shoppers owned five or more of Overall’s pieces – some bespoke – before he reached the ubiquity of being sold in Neiman Marcus.
2. Research Related Artwork
Perhaps you discovered an affinity for the sculptures of Allan Houser or glassworks of Chihuly. Their grand pieces may exceed the scale on which you can collect, but a quick trip to the library will help you uncover like artists working on a smaller scale. You might uncover someone who creates chandeliers or garden/patio sculptures in the same style.
3.Get to Know the Gallery Owners
Gallery owners know great art when they see it. Plus, they’re usually pretty cool folks. Visit with them while you look at art. Remain open about what you like. If you’ve just begun your foray into art appreciation, say so. Ask for advice. Ask about artists that work in the style you like. Enjoy the process. Gallery owners see emerging artists constantly. Everyone working in any media pitches to them. They choose the best to feature and they decide when to reveal them. Which leads to the next tip… be the early bird.
4. Beat the Rush
Arrive at a show opening before anyone else. Throw out the notion of fashionably late. Arrive before others, so you get to see the full show. You’ll see all the best pieces and have first dibs. Early also applies to when in an artist’s career to begin buying. Once you develop an eye, you’ll learn to spot the next Pollock while he’s still founding his career.
5. Bid on the Mids
Attend auctions. Buy mid-career artists who may not have become well known yet or who have taken a career break. Set your budget in advance. Research the artists and pieces in detail before attending. You can find important investment pieces. Things to remember:
- The estimated sale price is merely an estimate. You can hope it goes for less, but prepare for it go for more.
- Budget for auction commission and bidding fees. Commissions range between 15 to 25 percent added to the “hammer” or final bid price. Many auction houses add a three to five percent fee for using their service, especially online.
- Your auction win constitutes a contract to buy. You’ll usually have five to ten days to pay for your purchase. The auction house’s sale documents will provide the payment due date.
Collecting art can become a fun and rewarding hobby. A collection you love will provide you personal enjoyment for years to come. It can also become an important investment in your – and the artists’ – future.