What to look for when buying art?
April 2, '20
What to look for when buying art?

by Alina Livneva

April 2, '20

What to look for when buying art?

Figure out what you prefer

The better the knowledge and education you have, the better at art collecting you are.

We suggest going to museums and art galleries and trying to familiarize yourself with different styles. This is also where the internet can help you discover artists. You might come across emerging artists on any network.

Very often you evolve from your departing point—because you did a little or no research. But when you buy your first piece, your taste refines and becomes more sophisticated. You may find that you like abstract art or conceptual artwork or any other. It is fine as you took it as a first piece.

Determining what you’re buying

Are you buying something because you like it? You want it purely because you think it is great? Sometimes you buy something you like but you want it as an investment? These are different types of purchases.

Determining what you’re buying

It’s much easier if you’re buying it because you like it. You have to match the price tag. If you think your passion is worth it, you buy it. Talking of choosing wisely, many buyers – whether experienced or not – often don’t think about how the content will affect the mood and atmosphere of their space. Art should be affecting. Of course, this comes down entirely to your own unique tastes, but if a piece intrigues you, inspires you, excites you, captivates you and leaves you thinking about it and wanting to see it again, this is often a good sign.

Buying art as investment

If you’re buying as an investment and you want it to actually have long-term value in the future, it’s harder. As a first-time collector, you have to know that there are factors affecting the price of an artwork. For example, oil on canvas is more valuable than artwork on paper; or if it’s a multiple or edition versus a one-of-a-kind piece.

Your budget

Important is what you can afford, and often one may spend a little bit more. The things we regret are the artworks we did not purchase because they were outside our price range. We call it a lost opportunity.

Anything up to $20,000 apiece will buy you an occasional emerging artist who may as well be trained in other work to make his ends meet, with no assurance you could sell it later or ever, even at a lesser price. Weak concept, theme, subject, copycats.

Anything between $20,000 and $50,000 apiece will buy you the lower range of established artists. However, the asset is of high risk because of changing trends. Make sure the artist is not a trending phenomenon (96% of all artists are trending phenomenons). Remember art appreciates with time.

Budgeting is very important when you take into account the other costs that come with buying art. Extra costs to consider include packing, shipping, insurance, and installation – all things you should keep in mind when setting your budget.

Research the Artist
Research the Artist

The art world can be overwhelming. Talk to collectors, appraisers, consultants, gallerists but be aware they will be selling something to you.

Start with the artist. Is he worth buying? How many works did he create so far? What medium(s) he works on? Exhibitions? Exposure? If an artist has fewer works it may raise questions. An artist matures when producing few hundreds of unique artworks. If you’ve discovered a new artist you love, it’s always a good idea to look into their background. Check where they’ve exhibited before and what their work normally sells for, as this can give you a better idea of their potential for popularity and value growth.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure their style is their own. This can be part of your background research. Take a look at their other pieces and assess whether their style has fully developed or whether it might be worth waiting for later pieces. Make sure the creator isn’t simply imitating another artist or movement.

Established artists are worth buying but they are pricey. Remember the price is set by the demand and the offer. If an artist has plenty of works for sale it proves the demand is low, so the price shall be. Established artists have very few works available for sale.

No Rush

Most importantly, don’t rush into making a purchase. Don’t let yourself be talked into a quick sale, whether by a seller or anyone else giving you advice. If you’re not sure about a piece of art, think about why that is and whether you’ll really want to be looking at it in the future. Great collections take time and careful consideration, so take it slow and choose wisely!

Understand that size does matter

So you fall in love with the piece, you decide to buy the piece, but primarily make sure the work fits into your space. You must have a perfect understanding you have the right space for the artwork you buy.

Once you’ve taken these things into consideration, it’s time to go ahead and start or add to your collection. Start researching, organizing and planning for your favorite works of art now.

About author Alina Livneva was born 1985 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She studied at Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts. Educated in Russia and the United States. Lives in Miami. Has also lived in Russia. Contemporary Art. Collections expert, exhibitions and loans. E:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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