Welcome to the first in my series of blogs dedicated to art, artists and collectors.
As a former gallery owner and currently an independent art dealer, curator and consultant in artist marketing and management, I am involved in several aspects of the art world. I am the instigator - dealing with both the supplier and the buyer, giving me a unique perspective on the art world and all it’s complexities, as I strive to make everyone happy with the outcome. This week I will offer my views on the question I am asked most by new collectors – How do I know if I am making the right decision when buying art?
The answer is really pretty simple, but it depends on the reason behind your purchase. Basically, there are 3 reasons people purchase art. The most common is for décor. People - nearly all people - need wall art for their homes. Whether you live in a traditional style home and prefer landscapes, old-school botanicals, still-lives, or portraits, or reside in a modern condo and are drawn to photography, large –scale abstracts or graffiti-inspired street art, by far the largest majority of art sold is to beautify and accent the home. Therefore, if you like looking at it, think you will enjoy its presence in your home, and it complements your household furnishings, you CANNOT make a wrong move! You are buying the art because you need something to go above your couch/ bed/ fireplace, and this one is the right size/ color/ style for your house.
The next most common reason for buying art is because you can’t live with out it for some emotional reason. It reminds you of a person/place/ thing. Or, it speaks to your heartstrings because you love the composition for some reason you may not even be able to explain. Perhaps you know the artist, and therefore, you want to own something by that person. But somehow, you just know that you MUST own it. Again, if it elicits that kind of emotion with you, and it truly resonates with you, then you can’t go wrong, because, well, you LOVE it!
The last reason that people buy art is the smallest percentage of purchases, but equates to the most money spent. That is investment buying, usually reserved for blue-chip art bought at the highest level of galleries, or from auction houses. THIS is the one kind of purchase that does require some knowledge of the artist, their history of exhibits and their sales record. If you are a new collector, and are trying to build a collection of local artists, that is not necessarily investment buying, although it can be a good investment if the artists are of a high enough caliber. But buying art because you want to re-sell it is generally a different kind of purchasing reserved for a small percentage of collectors, many of whom will even put the art in storage waiting for it to appreciate after the artist passes. If your plan is to buy art to put your children through college, then you may wish to study the artist, their auction history, CV and other collectors before laying out a 6-figure sum. But if you want to beautify your home, be a patron of a particular artist, or add some flavor, drama or interest to your home, here’s my advice- BUY WHAT YOU LOVE – and call me – I can help you find it!