Anyone can buy and collect art intelligently. That's right; I said anyone. No previous knowledge of the art business, experience collecting art or degrees in art history are necessary. All you need is a love and appreciation of fine art, a desire to collect, and a willingness to familiarize yourself with a few simple techniques that will allow you to assess and evaluate any work of art dating from any time period by any artist of any nationality.
Even though the following article contains recommendations and suggestions relating to particular works of art, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong art and there is no right or wrong way to buy or collect art. Anyone can collect whatever they feel like collecting or buy whatever art they feel like buying, wherever and whenever they feel like buying it, for whatever reasons they decide to buy it, and for however much money they feel like spending on it. Consequently, these techniques are not for everyone; they're mainly for people who like to spend their money wisely and who prefer to pay fair prices for quality works of art. If that happens to be you, then what you're about to read will help you become a better collector.
Suppose you see a work of art for sale that you like-- a painting, a sculpture, a print-- it makes no difference. If you like it so much that you think you might want to own it, begin your decision-making process by asking and answering four basic questions.
- Who is the artist?
2. How significant is the art?
3. What is the art's provenance, history, and documentation (or more simply, where has the art been and who's owned it)?
4. Is the asking price fair?
Let's take a more in-depth look at each one of these questions individually...