Top Tips To Starting An Art Collection

Starting an art collection

Art is the ultimate personal collection.  It demonstrates exactly what appeals to you and many suggest that your art collection is a window to your soul.  How one goes about starting an art collection is as personal as the choice of work itself.  Some people may accidentally start a collection, perhaps by picking items up in car boot sales or vintage flea markets which appeal.  Some buy art work to match the drapes!  Some people look to becoming serious art collectors with the end goal of selling the work on for profit or becoming a custodian of important pieces of work which museums are galleries want to show, and some people simply want unique or beautiful work on their home or office walls.  

Mike Bell, Beach, Driftwood, Coaldust

Mike Bell, Beach, Driftwood, Coaldust

Here are our top recommendations for the beginner art collector

  • Go via legitimate dealers or galleries where you can be sure that you are getting original or limited edition, high quality art (if that is what you are looking for). To further ensure the work that you are getting is limited edition, go for a signed and/or numbered piece.  The lower the total number made the more valuable the art work. 
  • Art should be unforgettable to you, so if you find you cannot get an image or piece of art out your head then chances are that is a great place to start your collection.  You may not have the money perhaps to buy an original, but a limited edition print is a good starting point and will feed your desire to continue to develop your interest.
  • If you plan on working with a gallery or a dealer then go at your pace, not theirs.  Stick with the money you have set aside for the initial purchase or purchases and go with your instincts.  You will know what you like so do not be pressured to buy something which is not perfect.  It is after all you who will have to spend a lifetime looking at it.  Also ensure that you trust the seller - spend time talking to them, ask them lots of questions, build a rapport. 
  • Whilst art to some is simply a commodity, buying art purely to sell is not a wise move because everyones taste varies so distinctly.  No doubt there will be someone who wishes to buy the piece eventually, but until then, you will have a art work you may not even like on your hands until that day comes.  Love what you buy, even if it is going to be sold on. 
Steven Porter, Untitled

Steven Porter, Untitled

  •  The history of a piece of work only gives you other peoples judgement on it.  The price and predictions are generally based on someones personal opinion of the artwork (sometimes the artist them self if you are buying direct) so if a dealer or gallery are selling based only on the history of the work then you may be working with the wrong people.  The seller must trust their own judgement in believing that the work of art is exquisite (even if it is not to their taste) otherwise they are buying in the pieces as commodity, which as previously mentioned is not a strong  or guaranteed way to buy or sell art. 
  • Costs of artwork can be as personal as the art itself but do keep in mind any extra yet justified costs which you may not be told about.  For example, framing, restorative work, insurance.   
  • Keeping your collection safe and protected is crucial if you want it to do well for you both in terms of how well it lasts over the years aesthetically speaking, as well as how its worth increases.  For example, keep paintings out of direct sunlight to avoid fading and use ultraviolet light-resistant glass when framing.  Also, speak with an art conservator before framing works which are a decade or more in age. 
ArticlesClaudia Elliott