Everything You Need to Know About Collecting Art

For some people, collecting art is often seen as only accessible to the elite and affluent, just like in the portrayal in Nathaniel Kahn’s film called The Price of Everything. This perception makes building an art collection an intimidating and overwhelming task surrounded by many questions like works of which artists are worth collecting and what would the right prices be for those pieces. Moreover, people may also question their intentions whether they would want the art as an investment or as a lifetime enjoyment.

If you are thinking of starting an art collection but are unsure whether it is for you or not, how to start, and what pieces to collect, this article will serve as a guide to answering all these questions.

Why collect art?

For the past decades, the art news has been filled with stories on lucrative art purchases. The art collection experience is subjective but is a great way to showcase your personality.

Overall, the motives behind building an art collection come multifold. For some, owning an art piece that follows the art market’s trends ensures an excellent financial investment, while others purchase art for decorative purposes or plain love and passion for art. Whether you identify yourself with the subject or the colors of the art take your breath away, the emotions evoked through artwork are profoundly personal and priceless.

Interestingly, Semir Zeki, a professor of neurobiology and neuroaesthetics at University College London, revealed that having a piece that you appreciate at home is a way of improving your well-being. This is because looking at the art releases the hormone dopamine (the same hormone associated with falling in love). In the experiment involving observation of Boticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”, Zeki and his team observed that the volunteers who watched the art had increased activity in their pleasure and reward brain centers.

In addition to these personal intentions, collecting art is a way of supporting the creative economy. Buying the artists’ pieces is a way for them and the industry to thrive.

To learn more about why art can be a great collection for investment purposes, read 5 Luxury Investment That Guarantee Financial Return.

Types of art to collect

Carrying out research can help you determine the genre and artists you are drawn to that you can start incorporating into your collection. Here’s a brief overview of some common art materials and mediums you can acquire.

  • Photography and limited edition prints

Collecting photography and limited edition prints is a good way to begin. They are generally more affordable than paintings because they are created in more than one copy. Additionally, they are more affordable because they can be packed or rolled during shipment.

For collectors who find a famous artist’s photography or printed art beyond their budget, acquiring its limited editions is the strategy because they will likely be less expensive but still of great value.

  • Sculpture and design objects

Three-dimensional artworks like sculpture and design objects, although often less preferred than framed canvasses, are great additions to your art collection. They make fascinating display pieces inside the home.

For starters, it is best to consider small-scaled ones as they are often priced well and easy to sell. In terms of value, objects signed by the artist make great additions to your collection.

  • Paintings

Original paintings may come very pricy, especially those created by well-known artists. However, there are ways to buy some museum-worthy pieces at not-so-expensive prices. One is investing in smaller pieces of highly-sought painters.

Exploring works of emerging or slightly less-known artists can also help in adding original paintings to your collection. Buying from these artists means you will be among their early collectors. In other words, you can acquire unique works you can hang on your walls at a much lower price but also have the potential to grow in value.

Tips when collecting art

  • Define your taste

Due to social and economic changes that the world faces, trends in art museum exhibitions and the artworks that they and patron art collectors buy also change. To know your own taste, spend as much time as possible in art fairs, gallery openings, and online exhibitions to understand your emotional reaction to specific art forms. Discovering the type of art that excites you is a good starting point to building your own genuine taste. In addition to this, focus on art pieces that depict your artistic taste rather than analyzing if it is a smart investment move or not.

  • Set a budget

Price is one of the biggest obstacles when acquiring art. As previously mentioned, investing in limited edition pieces is a great way to work around a limited budget. This allows you to own a famous artist’s work which may potentially increase in value. Remember that the fewer the edition is, the higher value they may become in the future. Also, participating in a benefit auction is a cheaper way to acquire an art because fairly-priced pieces can be found here, and winning bidders are not required to pay additional premium charges.

  • Look for art in the right places

Aside from traditional places like art fairs and galleries, valuable art pieces may also be found in auction houses and reputable websites. Sometimes, browsing art online can be more convenient as filters in searches are possible. However, remember that some artworks may appear different in person and in web photos, especially the colors.

  • Make sure the art fits your home

Collecting art does not stop with purchasing them. It is also important to consider how the piece can be displayed, conserved, and taken care of. Since artwork comes in different mediums like paper, plastic, and metal, appropriate conservation and maintenance can be a big task. This is often done by engaging a conservation expert.

Fine art conservation and framing expert Matthew Jones said that the materials used in making an art piece determine the appropriate framing materials to use. Additionally, a shipping destination is a big factor in artwork conservation. In the case of overseas shipping, the difference in the temperature and humidity must be considered in choosing the framing material to be used.