How to Build an Art Collection for Your Home

By Jennifer Bringle

We all know that a great piece of art can really make a space. But what if you’re interested in more than just one fabulous painting or sculpture? What if you want to start building a collection of art? We are breaking down the top tips for building an art collection in for your home.

Do Your Homework

Turning your home into a gallery reflecting your artistic interests has never been easier, but before you start buying, it’s important to consider a few things. One of the most critical is to learn to tell the difference between art that simply looks pretty and pieces that have artistic merit and thus, longevity.

The best way to do this is by treating the process of acquisition as an educational endeavor. Do your homework by visiting museums or galleries (many have virtual tours available on their websites), and read art books and magazines to learn some of the subtle differences that can make a piece worth your money. Introduce yourself to the gallery owner or curator, and build a relationship with that person—they can become a valuable resource for finding new pieces that might fit in your home.

Shop Galleries

Many galleries sell the art they display, and in this setting you can learn more about (and sometimes even meet) the artist before purchasing. And an added benefit of buying art from galleries is the knowledge that you’re not only building your collection, but you’re also directly supporting the art community.

This educational process is particularly important when it comes to acquiring contemporary art.  Often these pieces are more conceptual than merely pretty, so it’s helpful to understand the thought process behind the work to understand its value. Hiring an art advisor—a service available from the Contemporary Art Society—can also be helpful when shopping for contemporary works.

How to Get Deals

Art auctions are another source of not only purchasing pieces but also gaining an education on the works. Pre-sale viewings offer potential buyers a chance to look and and learn more about available pieces. And in-house experts at auction houses can help buyers find deals by discovering “overlooked” areas. For example, some famous artists have periods that may be academically celebrated but less commercially successful, meaning pieces from these timeframes can sometimes be less expensive.

Another way to buy art more affordably? Artist prints. While these are not original works, limited-edition signed prints still have value without the hefty price tag of an original.

Protect Your Investment

Once you start to amass your collection, it’s important to protect it. Keep drawings and paintings out of direct light and away from heat sources like vents or radiators. Make sure sculptures are on a stable base. And if your collection is of value, insure it. Many homeowners policies don’t fully cover art, so check yours and purchase additional protection if necessary.

For more tips on incorporating art into your home, check out our blog on How to Properly Hang Wall Art.