10 Things to Avoid While Collecting Art

May 3, 2024

When you begin to collect art, you are embarking on the journey of a lifetime. You will meet wonderful people, discover amazing artists, and fill your home with beauty. But if you are like most people, you will also make mistakes! We are going to present you with our top 10 things to avoid while collecting art.

What Not to Do When Collecting Art

Don’t Rush: Starting an art collection takes patience. Remember, this isn’t a race, and often feeling pressure to do things quickly will result in making foolish decisions. When you are searching for a work of art, you will often have to wait for the right piece to come available. Or you might simply not be able to find something that fits your needs. That’s okay! There is no reason to buy something that’s available right now but not perfect. Rushing the process also takes away so much of the fun you can have while finding and collecting great artwork.

Don’t Buy Just for the Investment: While art can be a great investment, it offers you so much more than a simple return. But if you end up buying a work of art just to profit later, you won’t be able to enjoy it while you have it. What’s worse, no investment is foolproof. You might end up losing money on the deal — a lose-lose situation. It is a smart idea to consider the long term investment value of artwork you buy, but it should never be the only factor in your decision. No one can predict the future 100% of the time, but if you love a work of art, you know for certain that it will give you joy.

Don’t Ignore Your Budget: When we fall in love with a work of art, it can be tempting to splurge. That makes keeping to the budget you set difficult — but not impossible! Disregarding your budget has long term consequences for your collection. For one, it makes the entire thing much less financially sustainable. It also puts unnecessary strain on the art to make a return in the future, skewing your decision making process.

Don’t Skip the Research: Make sure you always do your homework about the artist, the pieces provenance, and the seller — whether you are buying from an individual, gallery, or auction house. Sometimes, collectors get so excited about a piece that they want to jump right to acquiring the work of art, but that can be a mistake. No matter how good a deal “feels,” you want to make sure you are buying the real deal. And there is no alternative to simply doing the research. (Artnet and Artsy are great resources to begin finding the right information.)

Don’t Neglect the Condition of the Artwork: Collectors need to be certain about the condition of a work of art before they buy it. Damage can affect the resale value, and in some cases it can make the piece break down much faster over time — leading to much more money and effort spent on preservation. Even minor flaws can seriously curtail the value of a work of art. While you may be forgiving of a tiny scratch or dent, future buyers might not be.

Don’t Overlook Emerging Artists: It’s easy to get swept away by big names. But you’ll find that emerging artists are often the best way to get incredible artwork for a great price. That doesn’t mean you should look at these creators as bargains. If you do your research, you can find artists who are going to be tomorrow’s blue chippers. Buying from emerging artists also helps support young careers — leading to a more robust art scene in the future.

Don’t Disregard Your Own Taste: Even if a piece is expected to appreciate in value or is by a well-known artist, if it doesn't resonate with you, it's not worth the purchase. Your collection should reflect your personal taste. After all, you are the one who is going to be spending time with the art! You’ll have a much better experience if you buy things you actually love.

Don’t Neglect Proper Care: Once your collection is under way, you’ll need to stay on top of keeping your artwork safe. This includes proper framing, storage, and cleaning. Different mediums will have different best practices, and you should make it your responsibility to know what those are. If you fail to care for your artwork, it will rapidly lose value and diminish in beauty.

Don’t Forget About the Space: Building an art collection is not a purely abstract activity. The artwork needs to go somewhere. So you’ll need to take into account the place you are putting it. What is the right size for a work of art there? What about style? You will also want to keep an eye out for the right medium. For instance, there might be a place in your home or office that’s perfect for a work of art, but it is drenched in sunlight most of the day. You’ll want something that can hold up under those conditions.

Don’t Go It Alone: If you are uncertain about how to get started collecting, don’t worry! There are many people you can turn to for help. Of your many options, some are more expensive than others. On the free side, you can go to galleries and art fairs with a friend who knows about the art market. Even if they don’t have much expertise, sometimes having a second opinion can help. And if you feel really stuck, you can always hire an art advisor.

Guidelines for Successful Art Collecting

Starting out as an art collector is such an exciting time. You will learn learn so much, and you’ll soon be surrounded by stunning works of art.

But to do it right means navigating the complex world of art — which always comes with its own set of challenges. Avoiding the pitfalls listed above, you can make informed decisions, get more joy from your collection, and become the savvy art collector you were always meant to be!

Where to Learn More

For those who are interested in building an art collection, the prospect of navigating the art world can feel overwhelming. But fear not – One Art Nation and Redwood Art Group along with BonhamsWinston Art GroupartnetArtwork Archive, Private Client Select Insurance Services and more, have created ArtCollect, the ultimate online course to help you achieve your goal.

Our team of experienced experts from all areas of the art world will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to confidently and adeptly collect art. Through our comprehensive guidance, you'll be empowered to create a collection that is not only meaningful but truly enjoyable to curate. By enrolling in the ArtCollect course, you'll have the tools to become an informed and confident art collector with a remarkable collection to be proud of. Let us help you on your journey towards building the art collection of your dreams - enroll now!

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