How To Become An Art Collector
From decorating the empty walls of your new apartment to a need to break into the art world, the search for art can be joyous, and with some thought behind it, your purchases can turn into a collection, and possibly an investment. Here are some tips for new collectors…
Check Out The Pre-Season Auctions
The lure of buying at auction is that you can get an interesting piece for what it would sell for below retail. New collectors might look for lesser works by major names, works by once-forgotten artists that are part of a revival, or artists who were hot in the 1980s but whose works are now selling for less than they left the gallery for.
Attend An Art Fair
Art fairs can be the best place to go for collectors looking for something new and intriguing by new and iconic artists alike. There are typically dozens of galleries and a few hundred artists, all under one marquee roof. It doesn’t hurt to find out more about the works by talking to the gallery owners and sometimes the artists themselves.
“Fairs are packed with as much art as museums, so the layman can become an insider very quickly.” Pascal Spengemann, director of Marlborough Chelsea and Broome Street, explains, “You get to see a lot of work from a lot of different galleries all at once, and the dealers are eager to make sales. Dealers like an educated consumer, but if you’re open to learning about the work, they’re interested in expanding their clientele.”
Go Gallery Hopping
The reality is that the vast majority of art depreciates when you bring it home, so you should buy works that you love and want to see every day, “You need to think what appeals to you from an aesthetic standpoint not an investment standpoint,” says Julie Mussafer, founder of Jules Place, a Boston gallery that deals in contemporary artists. Some galleries have a quiet policy for reselling work, but you should buy works you’re pretty sure you’ll want to hang on to.
Check out Art Online
The art auctions at online auction house Catawiki are fast becoming a hotspot for collectors and advisors alike to visit on their search for their latest must-have pieces.
Paddle8.com: Twice-monthly sales feature blue-chip artists (Koons, Hirst); charity auctions host work that’s in reach, like a Joe Bradley drawing for $6,600. (His paintings go for ten times that.)
Artspace.com: Check out Gregory Crewdson’s photos at White Cube from your bed.
Artsy.net: Boasts a 50,000-piece collection with prices geared both to first-time buyers and to seasoned collectors.
Art Advisors & Consultants
A collector cannot collect alone, one must have help from those more seasoned in the art world – take your pick from our top five advisors and consultants below.
Allan Schwartzman and Amy Cappellazzo
Art Agency, Partners, New York
Allan Schwartzman and Amy Cappellazzo are the undisputed powerhouses of the art world, advising the savviest and most demanding billionaire collectors. Along with Adam Chinn they set up Art Agency, Partners, which this year was acquired by Sotheby’s Auction House for US$85 million.
Luxembourg & Dayan, New York and London
Luxembourg is not only one of the world’s top art dealers, but also one of the most experienced advisors. Among many major collectors, she advised Ronald and Leonard Lauder and almost single-handedly procured the collection that became the Neue Galerie in New York.
Dutch collector, art historian and advisor, Marta Gnyp, is a force to be reckoned with. Specialising in contemporary art, she recently published The Shift: Art and the Rise to Power of Contemporary Collectors based on her PHD research. She is one of the top references for collectors who want direct access to contemporary art.
Simon and Michaela de Pury
de Pury de Pury
These two are — and have been for a long time — one of the most iconic power couples of the art world. They set up de Pury de Pury in 2013 as the consultancy arm of the eponymous auction house. Swiss collector Baron Simon de Pury is known as the ‘Mick Jagger’ of auctions for his exciting style of auctioneering.
Pace Gallery, London
Formerly based at the Gagosian Gallery for 10 years, Dent-Brocklehurst set up the London arm of New York’s Pace Gallery in 2010. She is also the co-owner of Sudeley Castle, where she has curated art and sculpture exhibitions. She has been an advisor to the Abramoviches and other major collectors in the world.
Whatever you find, take heed in going with gut instinct and with no rush. Elena Soboleva, a special projects manager for Artsy says “Invest in fewer pieces that are higher quality. Art is a purchase for life, so it’s better to collect slowly with focus than try to rush and take a more decorative approach.”