By: Andrea Teresa Hauser, Office Manager at Hager Design International Inc.
If you have always wanted to start an art collection and thought that collecting was simply based on buying random works of art that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, think again. Purchasing art is purposeful, especially when building a meaningful art collection. Think of it as a long-term commitment. With a primary goal of starting an art collection for investment purposes in mind, you are likely wondering where you should begin.
Establish a Budget
The very first step in art collecting is to establish a budget. As a beginner, start with a small budget and keep in mind that quality over quantity is key and is significant when making your choices, especially for investment purposes and resale value. Acquainting oneself with different styles, techniques and mediums used by various artists will assist you in the decision-making process. Focussing on mid-career and established artists is a good guideline when buying for investment, however, there is no guarantee on your return in investment.
Limited Edition Prints and Multiples are a good starting point for a beginner wanting to start a comprehensive art collection given the price point is much lower than an original work of art. It is also a great way to own an authentic and iconic piece of artwork by an established artist without the hefty price tag. Many have a misconception about limited edition original prints – a print is not a copy of an original. “Christie’s defines an ‘original print’ as a limited-edition print by an artist that conforms to other prints in their catalogue raisonné, or matches other confirmed examples of the print by the artist”.
The history of printmaking is innovation at its best in the artworld. Some of the greatest artists that ever-lived used printmaking to express themselves and create art through a medium that could be shared with a larger audience of art lovers.
The second step in art collecting is to educate yourself. If your intention is to own a collection that appreciates in value over time, do your due diligence before heading into a gallery, contacting an art dealer or buying at an online auction. Studying an auction history database is a great tool to use when researching the art market and trends. Premier art auction houses such as Christies, Sotheby’s and Phillips are the largest and oldest. These trusted auction houses provide real auction results and an entire history on sale prices of fine artwork. Their online databases allow you to discover the true value of a piece of art, saving yourself time, money, and the possibility of getting scammed by so called art advisors and galleries promising they are offering you the next best deal. Study the auction catalog and the price estimates. I know first-hand that some gallery owners and private dealers purchase paintings and original prints from these auction houses at a lower cost and resell them in their galleries with a huge mark-up. Private art dealers generally add an additional 5-10% on top of the retail cost to make the sale worth their while.
Where should I buy?
Purchasing art online is one of the most economical ways to start a collection. There are numerous online platforms for buying and selling fine artwork. Artnet, Artsy, Artprice, Printed Editions and Saatchi Art are a few places to start. Buying from these trusted sites guarantees that you are protected and buying authentic artwork. All the galleries and dealers marketing and selling artwork on these platforms are vetted before partnering and given a membership. If you have a little more to splurge on artwork there are live online bidding opportunities at Christies, Sotheby’s and Phillips.
Bargain hunting takes time but with patience, research, and persistence you can build a meaningful collection that will appreciate in value over time.
Andrea Teresa Hauser is an art lover and experienced in fine art prints. This blog is based on her experience in publishing of limited edition prints and marketing/sales. Andrea Teresa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.