3 Essential Rules For Collecting Art

I just read a very nice article on collecting art, “5 Unspoken Rules of the Art Market New Collectors Need to Know”.  Sigh.  My favorite was rule number five: gain a seat on a museum board or START YOUR OWN MUSEUM!  Double sigh.  (I am sure it is a very nice article for someone and if that someone is you, here is the link: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-5-unspoken-rules-of-the-art-market-new-collectors-need-to-know )

Today I am feeling bold enough to suggest 3 rules of my own on collecting art for your living and work spaces.  (Home and office sounds so 20th century.  Some of us work at home and others live at the office.)

I just brewed a fresh pot of PG Tips, my favorite cup is steaming on my right, Wesley is snuggled up on my left so here goes: 3 Essential Rules for Art Collectors (who are not looking to open their own museum- not yet!)

Rule #1.  Wait, wait, wait!  We have a problem.  If you set a rule in front of an artist the artist is obligated to break it.

Can’t help it.

It is a rule.

Do you see the dilemma?

Instead of rule, I will call it a suggestion, a very strong suggestion.
Like when I SUGGEST my teenager take out the trash – NOW.  Yeah, a strong suggestion.

Suggestion #1  Love it.

The other article never mentioned love.  Maybe it was only about the market and not art but
 if you don’t love it, leave it.   

A few decades back an artist and his marketing genius brother sold the public a bill of goods wrapped in well lit velvet paneled rooms with stories of paint daubed onto prints by master hands.  They applied Beanie Baby theology to prints and sold high quality posters in gilded frames for extravagant prices, convincing customers they were in fact investors and their children would be able to sell these framed posters for a profit.  They were duped into believing they were not buying art, but they were making an investment in their future.  Art is an investment in the present that might, possibly payoff later.  You must love it now.

Like all true fairy tales, the sort the Grimm brothers collected, the ending was more cautionary than happily ever after.   Some purchasers truly love their posters and are still happy with their fantasy cottages twenty years later.  For them the artworks were a true bargain!   Those who purchased their light paintings as an investment, well, dark clouds may have dropped a little rain on that parade.

The result of all this chicanery was a public who no longer bought art because it touched their hearts or because they loved it or even because it matched their sofas.  People bought into the LIE that art was valuable only as an investment.  A generation forgot that art feeds the soul.  Buy art for an investment, certainly, but first, LOVE IT!

If your pocket is modest start small.    Small in regards to price or small in regards to size.   If it is important to you to have a certain name, it is possible to find something affordable in a mono print or a drawing or very small canvas.   I go to the Art Fair in Dallas and I see things by my art heroes that are very nearly within my means.   When college for my six is over and done with I will be purchasing one of those names.   For now I am collecting small works by friends and acquaintances who are ahead of me in their art journeys.   Sometimes I settle for purchasing their show catalogs which I cherish.  I see it as an investment in my art education and their careers even if it is only my little mite.

Beautiful work is available even for very shallow pockets.  There is truly something for everyone and with a little due diligence you will be able to find your perfect match.  Online shopping is always fun because you can shop in your jammies.  You can buy art like you buy vegetables: local, at craft fairs, boutiques, street vendors, local art departments (high school, college, junior college), coffee shop walls, restaurants, the possibilities for well priced art are endless.  As a matter of fact, my work is quite modestly priced and would look great with your sofa.

Hubby, David, reminded me to tell you about the Nancy Lee and Perry Bass family collection that we just saw (twice) at the Kimbell Art Museum. They focused on what they loved and were ahead of the curve with some of their selections and with others they joined in with what was trending.  Maybe I imagined it, but it seemed as though I could feel the love as I moved through their magnificent collection.

Maybe the works of those friends and acquaintances that I am collecting now will one day be spotlighted on Antique Roadshow 2075 with my great great great grand child jumping up and down cheering and exclaiming, “We had no idea!”   If that happens, hallelujah, but I am not worried about it because right now, I LOVE IT!  My soul is well fed.

Oh, I promised 3 rules.

Rule #2  See Suggestion #1

Rule #3  Ditto

fade out to the Beatles singing LOVE LOVE LOVE……