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Your first purchase might have been seamless. The piece spoke to you, and it seemed like a reasonable price. You mentally moved it into your foyer until it eventually came home with you with no difficulties.

If you're a new collector or trying to be more proactive about your collection, there are some golden rules to buying art.

Follow these 5 proactive tips for successful art buying:

1. Develop Your Style

Start by visiting local galleries and art shows. Gallerists and artists are your first resources to ask questions about eras and styles that interest you. Tell them what you like about a piece and ask for recommendations of other galleries and artists to explore. Don't be afraid to say what you don't like and why?this could give you insights on styles or eras to avoid.

2. Start Your Art Education

Once you have a defined style, you can really dive into your personalized art education.

Attend auctions with no intentions of purchasing to understand the intensity and speed of bidding. Auctioneers will give you some background on the periods and styles that are being sold. This will show you the competitive side of purchasing art and give you an idea on pricing.

Shopping with no intentions of buying will also immerse you in the culture without getting caught up in the buying process. Your emotions can get the best of you when you fall in love with a piece, and self control is the only way to keep a level head.

These experiences will give you a confident, educated demeanor during future interactions with auctioneers and dealers.

3. Set a Budget

Setting a budget is important because it's easy to get carried away.

Although you want to be in love with the piece you're buying, don't let your heart make financial decisions. You want to consider aspects like insurance, shipping, and framing when necessary. Auctions can also require a buyer's premium, which will make the cost higher than the winning bid.

Setting a budget is also about understanding the difference between what is an investment piece and what isn't.

If you are going to spend a large sum of money on a piece of artwork, it is wise to confirm that it is an investment piece. An investment piece could be purchasing a work by a young or emerging artist. It could also be increasing your budget to purchase something you think could be sold for profit at a later date.

If you have any questions on investment pieces, art consultants and advisors can help you.

4. Consult Professionals for Advice

There are many facets of the art world, and each one has an expert. This includes appraisers, conservators and wealth management firms.

We have outlined some basics of working with these various professionals in the art world. If you ever have a question or are feeling like you need some expert advice, don't hesitate to reach out to someone with experience. In some cases, you might get your first consultation for free.

Review the following professionals in the art world, and how they can help:

  • Art Appraisers
  • Art Insurance Agents
  • Wealth Management Advisors
  • Art Restorers
  • Art Conservator
  • Art Advisors & amp; Consultants

5. Document Everything

Make sure you have digital copies of the receipts, invoices, condition reports, and contact. These documents will be your first resource when assessing the value of your collection, planning an estate, or deciding to sell.

As your collection grows and you are frequently making productive art buys, your documentation of provenance will be the most important part of your art collection management.


Artwork Archive, 2019


02/17/2021