This post first appeared on 99.co.
A seemingly cold and intimidating place, the art world can be tough to crack at times. However, it is also a wonderful world to explore and filled with different things to discover.
Although this article promises you 10 quick tips, like anything, art collecting takes time, but we are here to help you embark on your journey – whether it is to buy your first major work, or just enhancing your experience at a fair or gallery opening, all it takes is an open mind and some curiosity.
When you see a work you like, don’t just accept the dealer’s price right off the bat. Check online and offline for other places selling similar works and compare their prices. It will take some time, but there are definitely bargains to be had.
Prints can be a little bit tricky, but a great and accessible way to start your art collection! If you do choose to buy one, always buy a limited edition print that will usually have a small edition that ranges from 5 to 150, and make sure they are authenticated and signed. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can read our guide to buying prints here.
With any form of investment, higher returns are often tagged to higher risks. You may see or hear of other collectors buying young emerging artists and making a good profit reselling them later – and it’s tempting to follow suit. However, unless you’re an insider or very experienced collector, it’s hard to be in the upside of the curve. If you’re completely new to the field, it’s better buy something a bit more conservative and collect the tried and tested favourites.
The best thing to do before you dive head first into anything new is to always to do as much research as you can. In this case, it means going to art exhibitions, art fairs and reading art books. Art fairs a great way to get to see what’s available quickly, as most major galleries will have a booth and feature a good selection of the artists they represent. If you feel a bit intimidated by so much art at once, we have a guide to navigating them here; alternatively, you can always sign up for gallery newsletters, which will send information on the latest openings straight to you inbox! Also, follow up on auctions and track the prices and sales of artists that interest you.
If you’re going to a gallery opening or an art fair, the best thing is to always ask questions about the artists or the works. Yes, gallerists can seem intimidating, but they’re always looking to expanding their clientele. Basic questions to ask would be things like: how is something made? How old is the artist? How well-known is the artist? How is the work maintained? If you find something you love, you can ask for the price – gallerists usually have a pricelist on hand. Always remember to ask for a friendly discount, it’s not uncommon practice!
Another great way to start your art collection is to learn from other more experienced collectors. Find out how they got started collecting, and how they grew their collection. Often, collectors are quite specific in the type of art they collect – it’s always interesting to see how they develop their collection. Meeting gallerists and other people in the art world such as artists, curators, academics and advisors can also offer all kinds of advice for art collecting and insights into the industry. However, having said this, it is always good to stay true to what you love – never buy something because someone promises you that you can make a profit from flipping it in 3 years.
If you have already started your art collection, or just bought your first work – that’s great! However, it is important to make sure they your new work is stored properly to ensure longevity of the item. The best person to probably ask is the person who sold you the work, which could be the artist or the gallery. If the work is one that is slightly older, you could also approach a conservator that specialises in that particular medium, as they would be able to advise you on how to restore it and maintain the condition. You should always invest in proper framing: works on paper should not be placed in direct sunlight, use UV-protective plexiglass where possible (but don’t use this on canvas) and make sure that works mounted on acid-free paper.
Buying art can be quite addictive once you really get into it. However, the best thing is to not get too over-zealous. Take your time between buying works, you might find that what you bought six months ago is no longer to your tastes. Also, remember that even if you really love a work, it is always better to buy a work that is in good condition – having to restore a work in poor condition can drive up the cost of it significantly.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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