A Guide to Collecting Art

If you’re a new collector it’s important to understand what you like. Spend as much time as possible looking at works and visiting museums and galleries; talk to and form relationships with galleries by attending exhibition openings. Collecting art ultimately comes down to your personal interests and your means but you don’t have to be rich to own an art collection - there are a plethora of galleries that deal with emerging artists in which you can spend anything from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds and there is enormous enjoyment and fulfilment to be had when buying work from unestablished artists. Some really great collections have been established by those who set aside part of their salaries each month to buy a piece of art. Your resources shouldn’t stop you getting involved.

Collecting in General: 

  • Spend time learning about art and individual artists instead of following the latest art trends or styles of the moment. Popularity does not insure an artist will go up in value over the years.
  • Educating yourself about up and coming artists can help you purchase wonderful work that you can afford before it becomes inflated. While purchasing expensive pieces by already established artists is one method of collecting it's not necessarily the most profitable in the long term and certainly not the only way.
  • Buy what you love. The artwork you purchase will be in your home for a long time. Make sure it will enhance your décor and add to your quality of life for years to come.
  • There is no 'right' way to collect art.  Each collector has their own method of purchasing art, and it can vary from buying bundles of art at one time to purchasing a select piece once every year or two or commissioning a favourite artist to create an individual work with personal meaning, etc.  Find the style of collecting that best suits you and stick with that.
  • Ask questions.  A reputable art dealer or gallery should never hesitate to answer whatever questions you may have when considering the purchase of an artwork.  Provenance, condition, artist information, and history are all aspects of the piece that are very important to its value and your enjoyment of the work.

Corporate Collecting:

  • Meet with a professional corporate art consultant or gallery before making any costly purchases.  An experienced professional will guide you in the right direction in terms of how many pieces to purchase, what style of work to include, where to install artwork, and any other crucial decisions.
  • Identify a style of artwork that expresses your company’s overall image while complementing the existing office aesthetic. For example: If your company, business or establishment is a tech firm housed in a loft space with chrome fixtures and exposed duct work, contemporary abstract artwork may be the best match for you. In the reception area of an established law firm, decorated with dark woods and conservative lighting, traditional landscapes, portraiture or still life may be better suited for the space.
  • Support the local community.  Many companies build their collection around a backbone of local artists. This shows clients, employees, and the city their loyalty and appreciation to the community and usually leads to some excellent opportunities for local and national publicity.
  • Keep your clients in mind.  The artwork a company displays sends a direct message to clients and will leave an impression.  While you may like a particular piece, if the artwork you choose to display is offensive or confrontational, you run the risk of deterring the client.
  • Keep track of details. Make sure to have an appointed employee or art consultant catalogue your artwork as it is purchased and update records as necessary. Careful record keeping of artwork details can prevent confusion in the future concerning damage, loss, and value.