If you’re serious about starting an art collection, but you’re unsure where to start, you may want to consider hiring an art consultant.
What is an art consultant?
A consultant selects, acquires, and presents pieces of art for clients. Some art consultants specialize in either commercial or personal art collecting, so you’ll want to ensure you find a consultant that is the right fit for your needs.
How do you find an art consultant?
Many consultants collaborate with architects and designers to create spaces that are compatible with displaying art, so you can start there if you’re working with design professionals. Art consultants often work out of galleries, or curate special exhibitions, so you could also look to local gallery spaces and art events.
Developing a good working relationship with your art consultant is key to finding the right piece of art for your home or building your collection. Consider your goals and schedule an in-person meeting or studio visit to ensure you and your art consultant will collaborate well. You can also ask for references. Don’t be afraid to tell them you haven’t worked with a consultant before – your honestly will help you determine whether or not you trust the other person. Don’t forget to ask them how they charge for their services!
Merritt Gallery & Renaissance Fine Arts, with locations in Maryland and Philadelphia, offers the following advice:
“Art is a reflection of you. The pieces you hang on your walls tell your story and reflect your personal style. When you think about how to build an art collection, it is important to buy art you are drawn to, art you love, art that speaks to you.”
Below are their top tips for starting your collection:
1. Love it: Buy what you love, not just what “matches the room.” Art evokes emotion; embrace it as you build your art collection.
2. Optimal Acquisition: Buy the best piece or pieces your budget will allow.
3. Push your Boundaries: If you tend to like a particular style or genre, perhaps you find that you already have those pieces in your collection, explore! Open your mind to something new.
4. Mix it Up: Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Your collection can be diverse: comprised of pieces of varying styles and genres.
5. Trust: Work with a gallery you know and trust. The gallery should have the experience to guide you through the process of acquiring art. You will also benefit from their long standing relationships with the artists they represent.
6. An Experience to Enjoy: Buying art is an experience to revel in. Venture into this process of experiencing, selecting and ultimately buying with enthusiasm. Allow yourself to journey into a different world – even if just for a bit.
Other Important Things to Know
How do you know if you’re buying “good” art?
We suggest you trust your instincts and select pieces you love. You’ll find value in buying something you love rather than buying art for pure investment, because it’s a deal, or because it’s trendy.
How do you know if an artwork is authentic?
Authentic art is typically signed or numbered by the artist. If a signature is not visible, you can request a signed artist authenticity statement. Ask your art consultant or dealer for records indicating the date of creation, the title, the dimensions, and other details. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, and carefully consider the authenticity of the pieces you are purchasing.
What is the difference between original art, reproductions, and prints?
Original pieces of art are unique and one-of-a-kind. Reproductions are typically mass-produced copies of the originals. A reproduction can sometimes alter the original image and weaken its impact. A print, often made by the artist, has the intention of preserving the original piece. If you see a piece you like, but are unsure if it’s an original, reproduction, or print, we suggest asking a professional to protect your investment.
Should I only buy from famous artists?
Works from famous artists can be a valuable addition to your collection, but if that’s out of your price range you could consider focusing on emerging artists or lesser-known artists. Purchasing pieces from up-and-coming artists is exciting because it gives you the sense that you are contributing to their growth as an artist. Many emerging artists will show their appreciation for your support by sharing new works with you as they continue to grow in their careers.
Tune in next week – we’re blogging about buying art on a budget!