So You Want to Start Collecting Art: Here’s How


via Erika Brechtel

Before blowing whatever budget you have at the first art gallery you spot off Main Street, intelligent art collecting requires mastering certain skills. To ensure your collection will be a successful investment for your home, you’ll need to figure out a few tidbits:

  • Is it important that your collection match your decor theme?
  • Will it be displayed throughout the house or in a single room?
  • Are you wanting to make money from the art market?
  • Are you embarking on an exciting, passionate journey of art collecting or is this just a hobby?
  • What’s your budget?


Define your tastes

One of the best things about art is that it’s subjective. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. With this concept in mind, you’ll want to hone your artistic senses by observing lots of art. Take the time to develop an understanding of what aspects of art you appreciate. This could be paintings, photography, pottery/clay work, artifacts, and time eras of this artwork.

Window shop ’til you drop

There’s no harm in going art-crazy by visiting loads of galleries, art fairs, and exhibits. You’ll gain a better sense of price ranges, quality of artwork and the opportunities to ask lots and lots of questions.

Research (vital!)

Art collecting is an intellectual and educational pursuit. Your ability to put together a great collection depends on your skills to research and evaluate that piece. You don’t want to be ripped off by being sold fraudulent pieces.

"Mountain Memories" is available on Etsy.

“Mountain Memories” is available on Etsy.

Dealing with the dealer

Just like buying a car, doing some homework can give you the upper hand in a price negotiation. Avoid accepting the “sticker price” and compare with databases to check what similar pieces are going for. Good art dealers should be more of a counselor than a salesman.

Document everything

Good documentation such as the history of the piece can raise the value of your art piece. Documentation itself also holds value from the business aspect. Save receipts, certificates, related material, autographs, and if possible, photographs of the artist.

Pro tips

  • Ensure your editions are signed.
  • Avoid sales people that depend on commissions. Your collection should be centered around your passion and tastes.
  • Consider additional costs for framing and proper maintenance and care.
  • An extensive and expensive collection should be insured with replacement appraisals, and measures taken to ensure the heirlooms are passed on to your inheritors.

Broaden your definition of what art could mean for you. Think outside the box, and stay true to your passions. Doing this will certainly make your home unique, tasteful, and exclusive.

Where to buy art

Your city is more than likely home to some amazing artists. Local coffee shops often showcase different artists’ work for a few months before switching to new stuff, and if you look closely, you’ll see a price underneath the title of the piece. You can also search for local artists on Instagram, the social media platform many artists use to announce work that’s for sale or currently in progress. Never be afraid to ask an artist to create something new for you — that’s called commissioning a piece. Just be sure to decide on price and size and any other details before the work is done. Try browsing these online shops, too:

 Where are your favorite places to buy art? Have a favorite artist who you think more people should know about? Let us know in the comments.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment