20 Tips to Start Your Art Collection

Globally, there is more artwork available then ever and it is at our disposal at a click of a button. Starting an art collection has never been easier and often runs parallel with the huge amount of art available. Seasoned collectors know how and where to buy art and use their connections within the art market. However, newcomers with limited budget and knowledge of the art market are often confused and not sure where to start. 

Here is our small guide for beginners and more experienced art collectors

1. Abstract Paintings, Figurative Paintings, Prints, Photos, Sculptures - Art has many faces. To delve deeper into the subject matter, especially at the beginning, it is recommended to keep your focus on one area.

2. Regardless of which type of art you like, educate yourself; read art magazines and art-books, go to exhibitions, museums and galleries and talk to other art enthusiasts. 

3. Don't be afraid of Auction houses. Even though we read a lot about million dollar sales at auctions, it is still possible to get a bargain. It pays to study catalogs and to go to the viewing days. If you found a piece you like, it is also possible to submit an offer in writing, or online.

4. Ask for the "after auctions". Many pieces do not reach their reserve. That is, the lowest minimum price the vendor was willing to accept was not met. What this means it the artwork is now listed as unsold, however, this means the artwork is still for sale. And now, after auctions, these "unsold pieces" have their reserves disclosed. If you like a piece you tell them your maximum price and if it is accepted you will get your desired piece without and other competitors bidding for it.

5.Don't focus only on the big players such as Jeff Koons or Andy Warhol, the good pieces of theses artists are long gone.

6. Go to Degree shows, this is where you will meet the stars of tomorrow.

7. Get to know the artist. Good meeting points are gallery openings or open studio days.

8. If you really like a piece but it seems too expensive, compare the price to the money you spent on other household items such a sofa or chairs, or items such a watch or handbag. In addition, keep in mind that in comparison to a sofa or a handbag, the piece of artwork is an original, unique piece and will last forever. Still seems too expensive?

9. If you set your eyes on a piece which is over your budget, don't be afraid to ask to pay in installments.

10. Go to Art Fairs. At Art Fairs you will find different types of Galleries offering artworks which suit every type of wallet.There is always a huge offer, which makes it also a good place to train your eye and find out what you like.

Tim Bradford,  Summer Townlands

Tim Bradford, Summer Townlands

11. Don't miss out on satellite art fairs, these are smaller art fairs which run parallel to the big art fairs such as Frieze. There you will find new galleries showing the freshest talent.

12. If you are interested in how is hot at the moment, or are the stars of tomorrow then keep an eye on art competitions such as Thread and needle Prize or National Open Art.

13. If you have decided to purchases an artwork make sure to obtain a certificate of authenticity.

14. With buying limited edition prints or photos, keep an eye on the edition number, artists signature or stamp. 

15. With limited editions, the priced depends on how many pieces of this particular series are still available. Hence you might find that with a series which has almost sold out, that the lasts prints remaining are often twice as much as the first.

16. Don't forget to add possible transportation and framing costs. Especially with prints and photographic artworks, professional framing can add a substantial amount to the actual purchase price. A professional frame not only enhances the actual image it also protects from dust an light damage.

17. When hanging your paintings keep in mind that illumination should be kept below 150 lux, the unit of  illuminance and watercolors below 50 lux.

18. Your standard house insurance might not cover your art purchase. There a special companies such as AXA or Hiscox which offer valuation, insurance and transportation of art.

19. Ask professionals of their opinion and use their experience to your advantage.

20. Buy what you love.