THE ART OF BUYING ART

Should you buy for love or money?  When it comes to buying fine art,  purchases are often motivated by one of three objectives:  investing, collecting or decorating.   Whatever reason you have for buying art is a good one.  The important thing is to be sure your strategy for purchasing fits your objective.

Buying for Love​

Buying for love is by far the best reason to buy art.  Collectors who buy art out of pure appreciation, engage in the art collecting process primarily for personal enrichment, not financial gain.   Art collectors who buy for love, cover a large spectrum ranging from new and inexperienced to educated and knowledgeable.   They will often feel an inner emotional connection to the art they choose.   It could be the use of color, the composition, the subject matter, or a connection to the artist or artist’s message.

 

Whatever the reason, collecting art that is rooted in a foundation of true appreciation is a highly rewarding personal experience, and may even yield financial rewards.  Engaging in the process to learn about and acquire art has significant psychological and neurological rewards which actually produce powerfully positive effects on the brain.   Studies documenting the connection between art and brain chemistry are compelling.    Read more.....

One only has to read the endearing story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel to  understand what buying art for love truly means. The Vogels were avid art collectors who assembled one of the most astonishing and valuable personal art collections while living in a 450 square foot apartment in New York City.  Their passion for art was simple and private yet had a rippling and positive effect on the world around them.   Not only did they add enrichment to their own lives, they contributed significantly to the careers of many artists.  They worked effectively as a team motivated by genuine appreciation for the art they purchased.  Today their collection is worth a fortune, but they have never sold a piece.  Instead the Vogel's personal art collection serves as an invaluable gift to society that can be viewed in museums located in all 50 states.

Herb and Dorothy Vogel, courtesy of Fine Line Media, Inc.,

Read the remarkable story of Herb and Dorothy....

 

Not all collectors who buy for love are comparable to the Vogels.   Successful art collectors have many faces and profiles. It is not uncommon for passionate collectors to have more art than walls or spaces to show it.  For other art collectors, the goal is simply to assemble a collection of work they can proudly display and view.  An art collection can consist of 2 to 2000 pieces or more.  Even owning just one prized work of art can bring years of emotional and visual enjoyment.  The important thing is to love what you buy.

Decorating - Transforming Your Space With Art

Introducing visual art into any work or living environment immediately transforms the space and establishes a personality.  The art in the room will add the most visual impact.  Even better – an original art collection cannot be seen anywhere else.  It lasts forever and is not subject to the ever changing styles and trends of interior décor.  Long after furnishings, colors and accessories have lost their appeal, art endures.

 

Selecting art for a new interior design project should begin by determining the ambiance or impression you want to portray.  Then select art that fits that style.  Inspirational, soothing, energetic, elegant, powerful, playful  are just some concepts, and all can be achieved through the selection of art.  Wall, furnishing and flooring design elements will follow successfully when you start with the art.  

Original art is available in every style, size, medium and price range.  If your objective is to create a unique and personal space, start by selecting art that fits your budget and style.  

What to Know About Shopping For Art

Shopping for art is a fun and enriching experience.  Galleries, art shows and online resources provide access to every kind of art.   But before you embark on your journey to find those perfect pieces, remember to begin by assessing your objective.

 

Defining your shopping criteria - style preferences, budget constraints, size limitations, etc. - is the first step and will eliminate many hours of unproductive time and energy. With a good strategy in hand, when you see something you like, you will have the confidence to make a decision, and it will feel good.

Once you have narrowed down what you like and what you can afford, the next step is to become familiar with the many mediums available.  The medium used by an artist, as well as the surface, impacts the price and value and will affect your search process.

 

Some of the more contemporary mediums have sparked debates on what is real art and what isn’t. When photography was originally introduced as an art form, it was heavily debated, and also rejected.  This is common in the art world when any new medium or style is introduced.  Photography is now an accepted fine art medium and new ways to manipulate photography are being developed regularly as technology continually develops, creating newer mediums.

Understanding the difference between traditional and contemporary styles should be part of the process in defining preferences, as well as learning some basic vocabulary about the different mediums in oil, water, ink, mixed media, etc.  Not only does this information help in assessing and selecting, art, it also prepares you for conversations with galleries and art dealers.  If you see a work of art you like but the medium is not familiar to you, it is helpful to hear or read the artist's own words explaining their process in creating the work.  The information is often very insightful and inspiring.

Most art collectors will feel a purchase is safe if the artist is a recognized name because many others have invested in the work. But understanding the artist's career progress is also helpful when buying.  Once an artist has built a collector base, has a following, and has been publicly recognized, the value of the work naturally increases.  At this stage, the artist is considered a mid-career artist.   New and emerging artists will be more affordable than the mid-career or established artists, but it is not always the best measure to determine whether to buy.  When in doubt, buy what you love.

Negotiating a sale - Every artist wants to sell their work.  Once an artist has established a price level, it is not in their best interest to negotiate down.   If an artist’s work is higher than your budget allows, it is better to seek out a similar artist who may be at an earlier stage in their career than try to get the work at a discount.  Discounting fine art is not a recommended practice.

 

Keep in mind that price is not always the best indicator of quality or potential value.  Art prices are often more reflective of  marketing and promotion.  If the price of an artist's work is inflated too high too fast, the value will not likely sustain.   Obtaining sale history is recommended when possible.

Investing in Art - Buying for Money

Like any investment, fine art investing requires a certain amount of due diligence on the part of the investor.  A risk and reward analysis is especially important in the art market which can be quite complex and inconsistent.  Resources are available to research art sales and trends, and it is advisable to use as many as possible to build your own knowledge base. Unless you are already adept at art investing, it may be best to defer to the expertise of a reputable art consultant for guidance.  Keep in mind, of course, that even with the best information in hand, there are no guarantees.   Financial gains can be significant, but not easily calculated.

 

A good first step in becoming a successful art investor, is to learn some basics about the trends and happenings in the highest end of the art market.  Reviewing reports generated by the top auction houses, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips, will provide the most current information as well as some basic awareness and perspective.   Click the image to read the 2016 New York Times Report on Auction Sales.

Following the auction house reports is advisable if you are serious about fine art investing, but the information is not going to help if your objective is to capitalize on the next rising star.  Identifying emerging artists that show promise in their careers is a speculative process.  With speculation comes significant risk.  Promotions on “artists to watch” are rampant, and marketing strategies are often misleading and confused with sound advice.

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