Any new art collector can benefit from these tips.
1) Determine what you like
Artsy and other websites can be extremely useful in helping to educate you about the different art styles and periods, including modern art. However, to me, there is no substitute for actually visiting an art gallery, browsing the exhibits, and figuring out what I like and don’t like.
Whether it’s because you did some research before you bought your first piece of modern art, it isn’t unusual for your tastes to change; what you thought you liked may no longer appeal quite as much. It can be more of a challenge to buy a piece of abstract or modern art as your first piece, and you may find that your tastes change after you buy your first piece of art.
2) What are you buying?
In the art world, there are different factors that are behind a purchase. Are you buying a piece that you really want to invest in and sell it for more than you paid? Or are you buying a piece simply because you happen to like it?
It’s clearly easier to buy something because you like it. Rather than thinking in terms of an investment, you have to decide that you can afford it and it’s worth that price for you. It can be a little more challenging if you are buying art as an investment; the cost of work can be affected by several different factors, including whether it’s a unique piece or one of an edition, and whether it’s on paper or canvas. In general, a work on canvas is going to be worth more than one on paper. Buying with an eye to investing can be challenging for the new art buyer, and understanding these factors can help you make a more informed decision.
3) Set your budget
In my opinion, you should be prepared to spend a little more than your budgeted amount, although figuring out how much you can afford and establishing a budget is an important part of the buying process. I think it’s essential to go with your instincts; there are several pieces of modern art that I didn’t buy because I felt I couldn’t afford to, and of course, I have always regretted not doing so. It may be a cliché, but life really is too short, and if you see that painting in an art gallery and you have to have it, then you should buy it even if it is a little over your set budget.
4) Do your research
Talking to other art gallery owners, modern art collectors, appraisers, and consultants can be a big help if you are new to the often confusing and overwhelming world of art collecting. The listing price is always the piece’s sale price, as you will find out once you start to learn more. However, it’s worth knowing that discounts to art buyers are sometimes offered by galleries if they are trying to establish a relationship with a new collector or reward loyal and established collectors.
5) Size matters!
It may seem obvious, but you should know if a piece of art or a painting is actually going to fit in your home before you buy it and bring it home. Many beginner art collectors end up buying a painting from an art gallery, only to find that to their surprise, it won’t fit over their fireplace. This happens more times than you might think, especially to those just starting out in the world of art collecting.
6) Track your purchase
It’s essential to have a paper trail if your goal is to sell your piece of art one day, meaning that you should keep all receipts, correspondence, and emails. The goal is to have a path from the artist to the buyer that can easily be traded and verified in the future. Always keep track of your purchases.