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How-To: Collect Art, Part Two


If you've read the first part of my lesson on collecting art and learned all you can, you can move on to beginning your collection. The cardinal rule of collecting art is: Only buy what you love. Your collection should reflect your tastes and sentiments. It should be you. Don't allow your purchases to adhere to trends or the palate of another. At the same time, you can't just buy anything you fancy because you'll go broke and wind up with a hodgepodge of works that don't make sense together.

  • When you begin your collection, focus on some type of theme, like South American artwork, moody landscapes, vintage portraits, graphic patterns, etc. This will give your collection some cohesion, like coordinating colors in a living room would. Beyond that, the more you focus your collection, the more you'll learn about art, and it'll be a great conversation starter!
  • If you see something you can't get your mind off, snatch it up fast before someone else does!
  • Invest. Splurging on one captivating piece of art that you love, and that is valued in the art world, will make much more of a statement than buying up 20 smaller prints or lesser works bit by bit. It'll be worth it in the end.

You have a lot more to learn so read more.

  • Limit your use of the Internet. Googling galleries is helpful and can help you find pieces and artists you may not have known about, but seeing the real thing in person should be the deciding factor in whether you buy.
  • Buy something nostalgic. Whether it's an antique lithograph from a far-off city you once visited, a painting by a local artist, or a portrait that reminds you of an old friend, artwork that stirs up nostalgia is almost a foolproof buy.
  • If you find an artist you adore, don't feel like you can only own one of her pieces. Picking up multiple works from one artist will also add cohesion to your collection, and if you love something, why fight it? It's also good karma to support people who make you happy.
  • Make a point to follow the careers of artists you've purchased from and to meet them if you have an opportunity.
  • Don't buy artwork to match your decorating. If it happens to, go for it. Otherwise, don't be afraid to repaint to make your favorite work integrate better into your home. You can't go wrong with Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White.
  • Follow news in the art world, but don't make choices based on it. If a style or piece of art is going out of vogue, and you love it even though others don't, just buy it. Snatch it up and put it on your wall. Remember, this is a personal collection, not a business. Reselling artwork isn't easy anyway, especially in this economy, unless you've got a Van Gogh or a Damien Hirst.
  • Make your purchase worthwhile by taking care of your artwork by having it framed and displayed prominently! But don't leave it all for show; keep something hidden just for yourself.

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