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How to Start Collecting Art - A beginner's guide

How to Start Collecting Art - A beginner's guide

1. Buying v/s Collecting

Collecting art is more of a purposefully directed long-term commitment than simply buying what you like. You need two skills to collect -the first is to effectively research, evaluate and make an informed decision about buying the pieces that attract you. The second is to choose each individual work in a way that they form a meaningful grouping over time, aka a collection.


2. Primary v/s Secondary Market

You can purchase artworks from either auction houses or art galleries. Auction houses redistribute or resell older artworks put up by a consignor, hence termed as "secondary marketplace". Art galleries, on the other hand, usually display new works fresh from the artist's studio. Galleries are therefore called "primary marketplace".


3. Get to know your taste

The first step to becoming a collector is to understand what you are drawn to. Visit as many museums, art fairs, and galleries as possible. The more you understand what you like, the deeper you can delve into which subjects, mediums, and styles of art speak to you. From there, your taste will develop naturally over time.


4. Understand the Market

In order to get a fair price and recognize what’s valuable in the art world, you need to put in the research. Check out all the auction catalogs, gallery websites, and art collecting books. See what other collectors are buying in art fairs. If you like a curation, chat up with the gallerist. When you buy your first piece, this research will help you make a well-informed choice.


5. Build Relationships

It pays to be social in the art world. Get out there and try to build good relationships with curators, dealers and galleries. It helps in the longer run, because they can give you early access to information on new artists and trends. You can even book an appointment with the gallerist or sales team of your favorite galleries to see the works they house that are not on display


6. Leverage Social Media

Instagram is becoming an increasingly important forum for artists, galleries and collectors. Follow galleries that have an aesthetic you love for the latest updates on their shows and events. Digital access can help you expand your knowledge to emerging trends and artists across the world.


7. Learning About the Artist

It's crucial to familiarize yourself with the artists of the works you like. Their backstories and inspirations bring more personal value to the art. Look out for artist meet-up events that most galleries conduct. If not, you can ask the gallery to connect you to the artist as well.


8. Documentation

When you purchase art, the 'Certificate of Authenticity' proves that the work is genuine. You'll need the document while getting the piece insured. Plus, you never know when in the future you decide to donate or sell certain pieces from your collection. The certificate will come in handy then. Remember that the certificate is more credible if coming from a gallery because galleries stake their reputation on authenticity.


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