Get Rolling: How to Start an Art Collection
This one goes out to all you first time art buyers that haven’t pulled the trigger yet–you are interested in art, but don’t know where to start! Well, we’re here to help bust a few misconceptions.
“I don’t want to go into a gallery; I feel like I am very conspicuous, and I feel as if I am expected to buy something.”
Nonsense. Everyone who works in a gallery knows that there is a certain amount of goodwill that goes with owning that establishment. Sometimes people just need a quiet clean place to wait for a friend, clear their mind before going back to work, or grab some air conditioning. I don’t blame you; the art industry can take itself rather seriously. I think in a post-2008 world this is deadly. My husband and I were intimidated by art galleries before we owned one. I wish we hadn’t been; our art collection would be larger (never fear, I am making up for lost time)! I take great care in hiring staff that is friendly, know how to make people feel at ease, and like talking to the general public. We have people from every walk of life come through our doors, and we try to make everyone feel special. Take a deep breath, hold your head up, and come on in!
“I can’t afford original art anyway.”
Don’t be so sure. You would be amazed at what an art dealer might have tucked away. Original woodcut prints that are unframed for $400? What a deal! Original unframed watercolors on paper? I’ll take two! Most art dealers offer layaway as well. If you have a bit of expendable income each month, you can pay on time. Another great way to get started with a collection is to purchase pottery or ceramics. These items are original and usually a much lower price point than paintings.
“I don’t know anything about art. They will see right through me. I only know what I like.”
Ask the gallerist what their background is. It is disarming, and you will learn something about them. You might be surprised. I do not have a degree in art; I love what I do, I’m a good businessperson, and I have a great eye. I tend to hire people around me that do have art degrees. What I know about art is derived from a lifetime of talking to artists, seeing art shows, and going to museums. I love to talk to others about art–if I can teach you something, I will. Most of the time, clients that I speak with teach me something. Isn’t that what art is all about? You could spend many years learning about art and never know everything about it. How wonderful to discover a fascinating subject that you can spend a lifetime learning about. If you buy something you love every time, it will all look great together. I have been in many homes with my clients, and if they love it, it all works together. I love to see a home where the client has collected art for years; they can tell you where and when and how it was obtained. Each piece is a strand in the tapestry of their memory.
And loving a piece of art is the only reason to buy it–not for an investment, not because someone pressured you into it, not because your neighbor Nancy likes it, but because you love of it.
So buy some art, for arts sake.
About The Author: Miriam Oehrlein
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