Time to Read: 7 minutes

While art isn’t a component of our traditional asset allocation or financial planning techniques, it is a large part of some of our client’s “Living Above the Line” strategy-using money as a tool to focus on what’s most important to them.  Getting started collecting art can be challenging. With such a wide range of pieces and artists, and the often large investment, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. The truth is that anyone can begin collecting art, even if they don’t have an artistic background or prior knowledge of fine art. The two most important factors when starting to collect art are to have an appreciation for it and the willingness to do a little research. Below are a few tips to help you get started on the right path.

Learn About the Artist

The artist is as important as the piece of art and when it comes to collecting, sometimes even more so. While it is easy to read about the background of an artist, you will also want to gather information from other sources. A few great sources of information include art dealers, gallery owners, and curators. If possible, you may want to discuss the artist with other collectors and even try and get some face time with the artist themselves.

A great way to get face time with an artist would be at an art opening where they’re exhibiting work. The artist will usually be in attendance. Also, many museums and galleries will hold artist talks that are free and open to the public. The audience will learn about the artist’s oeuvre and be given a chance to ask questions. You will want to find out:

  • Where they live and work
  • Who they have studied with or any formal education they may have
  • Galleries, museums, and other places that exhibit their work
  • Any prizes or awards they have received
  • What types of collectors currently have their work
  • Publications or catalogs that feature them

You will also want to find out more about what inspires them and their passions. You want to collect work from not only someone who is known and respected in the industry, but also someone whose work speaks to you. Most importantly – do you love the piece? It will be hanging on your wall after all!

How to Find Art?

Auction house results are a good way to find out the investment value of an artwork. Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonham’s are just a few auction houses that publish bid results. Their websites are user friendly and easy to navigate when looking for a particular artist or even an entire genre. A collector will be able to see the expected and final bids. There are several reputable websites to find artwork/sellers online like Artsy. Their website has hundreds of galleries and it’s as easy as clicking “Contact Gallery” in order to initiate a conversation about an artwork. Artsy does not take a fee from the buyers and all negotiations are handled at the gallery’s discretion. They also publish informative articles on the art market.

Print vs. Unique Pieces

There are several options in choosing the type of art you purchase. Many people who are just beginning their collection opt for prints such as screen prints or digitally produced photographs because they’re less expensive than a unique piece. Prints come in a limited edition and once sold out, are no longer reproduced. The less editions that are available, the more expensive they become so they are still great to collect. Unique pieces are one of a kind which increases their value. A fun way to see different mediums would be to attend a contemporary art fair like Art Basel, Frieze or the Armory show. This will introduce collectors to a lot of different types of art at one time. It will also allow the opportunity to speak to Art Dealers directly who can shed some light on the artist’s intent when creating a particular piece.

By following the few tips above, you can get started collecting confidently. After choosing the perfect piece for your collection, the final steps are verifying the authenticity. Some artwork, especially for established artists, will come with a Certificate of Authenticity. Smaller galleries or newer artists may not have this document and that’s ok! They can help you track the provenance or ask the artist to sign the work to validate its authenticity. Negotiating a price is acceptable but remember that the lower you go, the less the artist receives. Selling art is how they earn a living and enable them to create more art for everyone to enjoy. Once you get started, you will begin to enjoy your new collection for years to come. At the end of the day, make sure you truly love anything you buy, since you will be the one that has to look at it every day!

BONUS: Glad’s Guide

In case you did know, our very own Glad Elevado spends a lot her time working at local gallery and is our very own art aficionado.  Checkout her tips below.

Much like a Financial Advisor, Art Advisors can help guide you in making smart financial and investment decisions when purchasing artwork.

Go out and see art! There are sure to be art fairs and art walks throughout the year in your local city.

With technology, there are several ways to determine if an art work will look good in your home. An app called “Art Cloud” allows users to super impose an artwork onto a wall so you can see if you like how a piece looks in your home before purchasing.

*Photo courtesy of Quint Gallery

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by BWM Financial. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.