The Simple Guide to Art Collecting

Why Collect Art?
From my perspective, it’s all about the intangibles.

1.    A particular piece speaks to you.

Probably the most important consideration when shopping for art is the emotional impact that a particular work has on you. Original art will outlive both the collectors and the maker. Since the dawn of time, people have had the compulsion to organize and be artistic.  I’ve stood in front of pieces and wept unexpectedly. I’ve stood in front of others and had a purely joyful reaction or abstract sense of wellness, or coziness from others. And yes, sometimes I stand and feel nothing.

2.    The artist’s body of work speaks to you.

Sometimes it is the artist or a group of work that pulls at you and expresses something about the artist or reflexively, yourself, that you are trying to bring forward to others. People generally enjoy talking about the art we own and telling you something about the story behind it because it helps us, in some way, tell our own narrative or express our interests or values.

3.    It adds value to your daily life.

Art is a powerful mood enhancer. When you take the decorative value, the personal emotional connection, and the human story behind it, each moment that your glance falls on the art piece is an opportunity to enjoy it or subconsciously re-align with the meaning it has for you. 

4.    It fits your budget.

Art you feel good with needs to fit your budget. There are art pieces in all price ranges and reproductions when you’re determined to live with a piece that is otherwise unattainable. 
The first painting I purchased (I come from a family of artists, so I grew up with free original art all around me) was a tiny landscape from a street market painter in Cambridge, England. It still bookmarks that experience for me- being in that city and meeting that artist. I don’t remember the cost, but I know it wasn’t extravagant by any means. I also own a print of a Van Dyck painting and some Botticelli and Rembrandt paintings. No hope of an original there! 

5.    You and others you trust think it’s a sound financial investment.

I looked at the top picks at Art Basel 2015, and personally, I don’t get it. Then I found a photo of Bill Gates’ most expensive pieces, including a Childe Hassam and a famous Winslow Homer, and I felt much better. Billions of dollars change hands each year in the art market.
 I don’t think investment should be the only reason to buy a piece, but it doesn’t need to be overlooked either. Art is a changing organism, and it’s thrilling to learn about and guess which artist will hold or gain financial clout. 

These are my personal guidelines to consider when looking at buying art and wondering when to say “yes” and when to say “no thanks”.

Watch high end art that you like and notice the price tags. If you learn to spot art you love that’s been curated by pros, it will give you a better eye for finding more affordable works that the big guys don’t know about. 
Some important galleries that sell work that I like are:

Antique/contemporary art options:  search antique art

Antique Art Dealers
 Carole Pinto (French art specialist) at:  (she also has a beginner’s guide to collecting that was published in Fine Art Connoisseur)
Katherine King in Milwaukee, WI at:
Joseph McGee at Joseph’s World Antiques in Petoskey, MI and on (above)

Copyright 2016 Thimgan Hayden
Please do not distribute without written consent. You’re free to share the link and let your friend download their own! Help others learn about me.

Thimgan Hayden

website of Michigan portrait artist and painter of still life, landscape, Italian and American, and floral subjects.