A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Fine Art

A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Fine Art

The fine art market is booming. It has grown 113% in the last ten years, recovering much faster than other markets after the global financial crisis. Art now falls under the ‘SWAG’ asset, a term coined by Joe Roseman, an analyst at Investment Week. ‘SWAG’ is an acronym for ‘silver, wine, art and gold’, all of which are the alternative investments that defy economic gravity.

Collecting art in this day and age has never been easier. The old ways of art collecting involved establishing a network of relationships with galleries, dealers and the artists themselves.

Today, artists have several platforms on which they can sell their art to almost anyone who is willing to pay the price. Art fairs, end-of-year student exhibits and large open-studio events are the most common venues for artwork hunting. Looking through virtual galleries and catalogues is another way to enter the art-buying game. Paintings continue to break auction records, both online and offline, allowing both artists and collectors to seal the deal on their own terms.

Now is the best time to collect fine art. If you’re new to the art collecting scene and you want to begin, use this article as your guide.

Do Your Research                                                     

Collecting art should always start with extensive research. Read art magazines, investment textbooks and articles on what to do with purchased artwork. With the Internet, you have a wealth of information at the tip of your fingers. Join forums and speak to other collectors who have years of experience in buying art. The goal is to figure out if the art market is something you are certain you want to get into.

Know Your Budget

Jean Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world, was a prolific art collector. His ‘millionaire mentality’ or cost-consciousness is what paved way for his success. He was known as a big value collector, focusing especially on currently undervalued goods and enjoying the potential rewards once prices had risen. The art market was a great place to start reaping the benefits of his artwork. Like Getty, keep an eye on the price tags of your artwork of choice and make sure the value is something you can still see rising in the years to come.

Visit Galleries and Museums

If you are sold on the idea of collecting art, it is time to see your potential collectables in person. The UK is home to the most famous galleries and museums in the world, both public and commercial. Schedule a visit to the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Museum of Liverpool or the Saatchi Gallery. Acquaint yourself with the classics, the galleries’ exquisite collections, the artists and art styles to narrow down your tastes and preferences.

Focus on Emerging Talents

Although a lot of us would want to own a rare Gustav Klimt or Claude Monet piece, we tend to overlook the potential of the rising artists today. The best art to collect is often right under your nose. Subscribe to the mailing list of your local galleries and attend events when you can. You will meet talented and dedicated artists as well as fellow collectors who might be able to help you navigate the local art scene.

Buy from Trustworthy Sources

For beginners, buying from a gallery is the safest and most productive way to begin collecting art. The gallery personnel filter through artists every day and believe in the talent of many rising artists. When you purchase art from a gallery, you build a relationship with its curators. Art consultancy companies are also excellent sources for the best artworks on the market. You get to understand the company’s creative philosophies as well as their passion for the field, encouraging you to see the worth of your artwork purchased.

Care for Your Collectables

Protecting and caring for an artwork is one way to maintain its value over time. Purchase high-quality framing with UV filters to prevent sun damage. Ask framers to use acid-free tape so that they will not leave any marks or stains that can ruin the artwork. If you are displaying your pieces, hang them in the dimmer areas of your home, avoiding intense humidity and direct sunlight. Get in touch with art specialists for paintings that require professional treatment.

Treat Your Art Portfolio as an Appreciative Asset

The value of art moves along with the current state of the economy. Just like any type of asset, you must monitor the art market as well as the performance of the economy to see where the value of your purchase stands. This helps you determine the best time to sell your artwork and when to keep it while waiting for its value to rise.

Be Proud of Your Collection

Always purchase art that speaks to you. Choosing the ones that go into your collection requires a degree of knowledge in art and time for self-reflection. Art can be moving, powerful, haunting and even disturbing – eliciting emotion, whatever it may be, is a good sign. Being able to connect with the artwork you buy is one of the best indicators that the piece has high value, and hopefully, others will appreciate it too.

Wait it Out

Some art collectors make the mistake of selling the art immediately after their purchase. However, many pieces only increase in value over time. Just like any other asset, it will take years before you will see the returns. But, however long it may take you, the returns will be worth the wait.

Smith and Partner

At Smith and Partner, we have a full range of services, from acquisition and collection to disposition and preservation of fine art. On behalf of our clients, we navigate the primary and secondary markets as well as create strong partnerships. Through our network of contacts, we assist clients with title insurance, art handling and shipping, art installation, art conservation and art appraisal services. From complicated paperwork to purchase deals, Smith and Partner helps you achieve the best collectables possible.

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