Saturday, May 3, 2008

Where Do You Collect Art?

Many people are intimidated by the thought of entering a gallery or are concerned that there will be an admission fee. Commercial galleries have no admission fee as a museum does. They make their money by selling the artwork to people, but you are under no obligation to purchase something because you have walked through the front door.

In most galleries you will probably be allowed to wander through on your own. This is a great way for you to be come familiar with a gallery’s artists. If you see something you like, be sure to ask if there is more. There are often many pieces which are stored. After you have visited several galleries you will find that certain ones appeal to you more than others. Galleries are mostly owned by individuals who have a distinct personality, which is reflected in the art that they offer. Make sure that you get on their mailing lists so that you will be notified of all upcoming shows.

There are also ample opportunities to buy art at art schools, artists’ open houses, art auctions and even eBay. One of my customers only buys from second hand shops. He has a wonderful eye and picks up some quality pieces for very little money. He then frames them in top notch frames to make the pieces look really special. When you purchase art from people you are not familiar with be sure to ask very specific questions about condition- especially if they are framed which might mask condition problems. I have seen many pieces purchased sight unseen, which then have to go to the conservator to be repaired from being improperly handled or framed.

The only places I do not recommend purchasing art are on a cruise ship. These sales take place far from home when people are not thinking clearly- they are often extremely relaxed as they are on vacation or have had too much to drink. Resist! Your defenses are down and it is a spur of the moment, impulse purchase often driven more for a desire for a memento of the trip than a love of the art. Save your money and buy a snow-globe.

Once you have found a couple of galleries that you like, try to visit them frequently. Things change often- new artists are brought in, shows change regularly. It is also a good way to establish a relationship with a gallery and to learn more about their artists. Once they know what you like they will probably contact you when something of interest comes in- giving you first choice.

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