smART Collecting – Do Your Art Buying Homework

 

Art collecting is one of the few completely emotional buying decisions you will ever make. For that reason you should prepare yourself before beginning your quest for art. Following are a few helpful tips.

Determine your goals for acquiring art. Do you want to fill a blank wall, are you interested in developing a collection, or do you have a different objective? What medium do you want to acquire? As a rule, prints and photographs are less expensive than original paintings. Sculpture is typically more expensive.

Establish a budget before you begin your search for art. It’s easy to fall in love with something beyond your price range. Setting a budget and sticking to it will lead to a positive buying experience.

Understand how prices are determined. Artists and galleries attempt to fix prices based on the law of supply and demand and what the market will bear.  Price is also based on the work’s size, the medium in which it was created, complexity, cost of production and the artist’s history of exhibitions. If the piece is part of an edition, the museums or private collections that also own it can have an effect on the price.

Know the artist. Become acquainted with the breadth of an artist’s body of works, in addition to the piece that catches your eye. Research online or ask the gallery for the artist’s biography. The biographical information should include how long and consistently the artist has been working, where the artist shows his work, whether the artist has been included in museum or juried shows, or garnered awards for his work. Also, how the price of the artist’s work has changed over the years.

Assume the responsibilities as guardian of the piece. These responsibilities include staying up to date of the activities of the artists in your collection. Documenting the work for insurance purposes, and making decisions about what will happen to the work in perpetuity.

Andrew Wolf, LLC
19th & 20th Century Fine Art, Art Pottery, Sculpture & Books

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