Pro Tips for Budding Art Collectors

Art collecting is a hobby where how far you go depends on how much time and resources you are willing to invest in your new pursuit. Whether you simply wish to casually dip a toe in or you plan to make a full leap, art collecting can be a very rewarding pastime. However, no matter how immersed in the hobby you wish to be, there can be a significant learning curve throughout the entire journey of acquiring your collection. 

Determine Your Taste

Art is an extremely subjective medium of expression. The sheer variety of art types can be intimidating to a beginning art collector. One of the key tips for those budding collectors is to determine your taste in art and only buy art that sits well with your art preference.  Not only would this make your collection more cohesive, but your collection will also display better as a whole in your home or gallery. 

Set a Budget

Setting a budget when you are starting out as an art collector can be difficult when you consider the amount of artwork that is out there. However, this shouldn’t stop you from doing the practical thing of setting a limit on your wallet. Start small and slowly acquire your collection. For every timeless artwork of Picasso or Van Gogh, there are many others from relatively unknown emerging artists. Your very first purchase will always be the most intimidating. If you are starting with a smaller budget, here are some purchase ideas to get you started:

  • Buy obscure works from major artists.

  • Buy works from new, emerging artists.

  • Buy limited-edition signed prints or etchings.

  • Buy art from new, emerging art galleries.

Photograph by Deanna J

Hire an Art Advisor

An art advisor can be an immense help when developing your collection. Art advisors have valuable connections with the galleries and artists of a particular local region. They also have the expertise to help beginning collectors develop an underlying theme to focus on in a collection. From educating new artists to finding the perfect artwork to add to their client’s collection, art advisors can transform their client’s art collection to the next level.

Learn Your Prices

Part of the learning curve of new art collectors is learning art prices for different artworks, artists and art periods. Fortunately, there are a number of useful art collector databases that can help you find the information you need. Databases such as Artnet and the Art Sales Index are tools that can help you determine the current value of the art piece you are interested in. Their databases are archives of auction prices for sold artwork. Over 180,000 artists worldwide are represented.

Major art databases include:

  • Artnet Index Price

  • The Artprice Index Market

  • The Blouin Art Sales Index

  • Art Market Research

  • Sotheby’s Art Index

Frame or Don’t Frame

Framing your art collection is the first step in ensuring that your collection is protected. While artwork kept in drawers does not necessarily need frames, when it comes to displaying your collection on a wall, framing is the main protective step to ensure your collection’s safety. Archival framing with acrylic plexiglass with UV coating is usually the way to go for most types of artwork. However, there are some exceptions. For example, oil paintings on canvas usually don't need to be framed. 

Keeping Your Collection Safe

Art can be a valuable asset, and certain steps should be taken by art collectors to protect an art collection. Purchasing insurance to cover your artwork during transportation and installation is one of the best things you can do. Transport and installation are the two phrases where your artwork can incur physical damage. When installing your artwork, make sure you choose a spot on the wall where you can avoid direct sunlight.

If your collection is extremely valuable, it is recommended that you start an inventory of your collection and keep all paperwork and authenticity certificates together in a safe place. You can also get a modular security system so that you can expand it along with your collection.

The world of art collecting can be a daunting one when a new collector first starts out. However, the majority of art collectors start small and eventually grow their collections, turning their interest into a very rewarding, lifelong hobby.

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Hailing from New York City, Patrick Chappelle is the Founder, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Kingdomz X Magazine. A computer geek from day one, Patrick was on the forefront of social communities and has served as a Technical Advisor for NING, Social Media Manager for SiteSuites Software Development, and Community Manager for Gen Y Hub. When he's not scouting local talent, he's either at the health club, or enjoying the sights, sounds, and culture of the city.