Art Collecting Tips
Most of the tips below
come from my personal experience in advising clients about their art
collections. I suppose
I’ve even made a few of these mistakes.
Mistakes can be great educators.
Unfortunately, they can also be expensive.
This list is brief, but I think it gets to the heart of the
mistakes that I’ve seen made most often—and that could have been
Narrow down your collecting interest as much as you possibly can. You can like all kinds of art, but it will serve your best interests to narrow down the scope of your art collecting interests as much as possible. The more you narrow down your collecting interest, the more of an expert you’re likely to become in that particular area. One of the greatest joys of collecting art is learning so much about an artist that you feel almost like you know him, or studying the period of history in which the art was developed. The more this is done, the greater your appreciation of your collection will be, and your enthusiasm and knowledge will be evident when you show off your collection.
Yes, you should buy a piece of art because you love it, BUT take the financial aspect into consideration too. It has become a cliché in the art advice business to tell people that the best thing for them to do is buy the art that they love. This is good advice, but somehow hidden in that statement seems to be a subtle message to not take the financial aspect of the piece into consideration. I say buy the art that you love, but also make sure you’re not paying too much for it and consider your end game. I wouldn’t advise asking, “How much money can I make on this painting? Or How much will it appreciate?” Rather, just be sure that you can recoup your investment. Tragedies can happen, and sadly what people first consider selling to raise money is their art collection.
Buying work by a deceased artist is generally less financially
risky than buying art by a contemporary artist.
This is because the art market for
a contemporary artist has not really been tested.
Most deceased artists have some kind of record of sale on the
secondary market, whether it be at an auction or a gallery.
This record gives you an idea of what is an appropriate price to
pay for a work by a certain artist.
Just because a painting is signed “T.C. Steele” doesn’t mean T.C. Steele actually signed it or even did the painting. What often happens is that a family member, often a wife or son or sister, signs an artist's paintings after he dies. If this is the case, it decreases the value of the painting. Of course, an "artist signed" painting could also be a forgery. I’ve seen plenty of paintings that bear the signature of an artist who clearly didn’t do the painting. An art appraiser can assist you in determining the authenticity of a signature or painting.