New Collector's Guide
Visit museums and galleries. Talk to their owners, staff members and visitors. Browse the internet and interact with the people who are sharing interesting information. Visit your local library. Visit art markets and fairs. Follow websites and social media accounts that are devoted to the things that interest you. Find out what, in particular, is of interest to you, and go see as much of it as you can. Enjoy the initial period of discovery, and use it to absorb as much information as possible.
READ, READ, READ
Once you’ve established an interest in a particular area, educate yourself. Read everything that you can find on the subject. This process is a great way to determine whether or not something will be of interest long-term. If you read a book on a particular subject and lose interest, you’ve identified an area that might not hold your attention long term. If you finish a book and feel your interest expanding along with your knowledge, you’ve found something that you’re truly passionate about.
CHOOSE YOUR DEALERS WISELY
It is very important, especially for new collectors, to establish relationships with reputable dealers. It might be tempting to buy from eBay and other anonymous online markets, but doing so can be risky, especially to an inexperienced buyer. Auctions, too, can be problematic for the new collector. Look for dealers who are reputable, successful, knowledgeable and accessible. Let them know what interests you and what you’re looking for, and then let them help you find it. Ask them questions about their operations, their purchase and return policies, and their own collecting interests. When choosing the dealers with whom you will work, look for honesty, transparency and genuine enthusiasm.
BUY WHAT YOU LOVE
The most important piece of advice we offer new collectors is very simple: Buy what you love. Look for things that speak to you on a personal level and that you will want to see every day in your home. The goals here are self-expression and personal satisfaction. Your collection can be a reflection of who you are as an individual. If you succeed on this level, your collection will bring you lasting pleasure. Trends will come and go, artists will fall into and out of fashion, values will rise and fall unpredictably. If the artworks you buy are artworks that please you on a personal level, you will receive continued satisfaction regardless of what’s going on with the market.
BE FOCUSED AND DELIBERATE
When looking for something specific or attempting to fill a gap in your collection, it is important to be focused and deliberate. Set clear goals for yourself, and figure out how to achieve these goals. This might mean passing on certain things that you would otherwise buy impulsively, while you set aside whatever is necessary to buy your desired piece. Focus on quality over quantity, and buy the very best pieces that fit within your budget. Don’t buy something just because it is available or inexpensive. These impulse buys might not fit your collection, and they probably won’t excite you long-term. Reach out to your trusted dealers to inform them of your goals and collecting desires, and let them use their expertise and their resources to assist you.
Buy artworks that you truly love and you will always be proud of and satisfied with your collection. Work with dealers and artists whom you respect and enjoy, and your purchases will have additional, long-lasting personal significance. Creating, displaying and sharing an art collection is a wonderful form of self-expression. Every step of the process, from hunting to hanging, should be taken seriously and enjoyed immensely.