Tanja's Culture


How to Become an Art Collector

If you're just beginning to collect art or a more seasoned collector, our guide will have helpful information for you. 

By Evelyne Del

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every person on the planet is attracted to different elements in nature for different reasons. Some people enjoy colorful, eccentric design elements while others enjoy a more subdued streamlined effect. Whatever style appeals most to you, it is important to have a keen eye for detail and a sense of continuity when attempting to start an art collection.

Here are a few tips on how to become an art collector:

What Speaks to You?

The first step in becoming an art collector is to decide on what speaks to you. It is important to figure out what period of art you are going to focus on and stick with it. Once you have decided on a period that appeals to you, stick within that genre so that your collection has continuity. While it is easy to become distracted by many different beautiful pieces, becoming a collector takes discipline and dedication.

Do your research

Taking time to research particular artists is also a very important step. Check out the backgrounds of the individuals, as well as the meaning behind their pieces. Being able to collect a group of pieces from one particular artist that tells a story or shows their artistic growth will yield better results for the avid art collector. 

Protect your Assets

Once you obtain the pieces for your collection, it is important to make sure that your art is properly stored and logged. Depending on the type of pieces you collect, certain environments can cause damage to delicate materials such as cloth or leather. Be sure to consult the experts, or even the artists if possible, on how and where to store your pieces. Different types of paints and pastels can be damaged if not taken care of properly.

If you plan to store your pieces in plain view, make sure that guests that frequent your home or office are aware of the delicacy of your collection. Keeping proper records also helps maintain the value of your collection. Notes on the materials, time periods, and conditions can help protect against potential damage. Proper record keeping also tells a better story of the life of the pieces, and can sometimes increase the value of the artists' work. 

Use the Experts

Don't be afraid to go to the top art dealers and galleries. Frequenting a very well known gallery or auction house can seem intimidating at first, but there are a lot of missed opportunities when people overlook these resources. The main reward received from major art galleries or auction houses is the education obtained from the exposure to complete collections and rare pieces.

Many of these galleries will occasionally hold open houses where art educators or artists are present to answer questions about their pieces and other mainstream works of art. Souvenirs such as pamphlets or photographs can be added to an art collection or sold to another collector to increase the appeal of a collection. 

Christie’s is an Excellent Resource

Not only will you have access to art education at larger art galleries and auction houses, but there is also the potential to get lucky when purchasing pieces. Some of the larger venues such as Christie's auction house have begun to expand their offerings at various price points. 

They also have "off season" sales such as Christie's very popular Sept. 21st First Open Sale with contemporary and post-war pieces. The high end auction house recently held a very highly publicized auction that brought in some of the best sale prices on coveted pieces from different periods. 

Plan Long-term

While you may not end up with a collection to rival the Rockefellers or the Chryslers, your art collection can be of great value if you plan accordingly. Keeping abreast of news in the art world, and exerting discipline when choosing pieces can result in a multi-generational art collection that your family will love for years to come. 

Also, be sure to check out Christie's excellent guide here

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