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Arts Culture The Art Of Buying Art

The Art Of Buying Art

The Art Of Buying Art
By Valencia Tong for The Artling
October 04, 2017
Top tips to start curating like a pro from The Artling


'Porcelain Skull' (2015) by Jacky Tsai (Photo: Courtesy of the artist and The Cat Street Gallery)

Whether it is for investment or decorative purposes, building a strong art collection requires time and know-how. If you're eager to kickstart your journey, here are five tips you should know.

1. Cultivate personal taste


'Plush Flowerball' (2008) by Takashi Murakami (Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

You don't need to be a millionaire to buy art. What you need, however, is to spend time looking at art and gathering information.

You probably know of Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, but there are many more artists out there that you can explore as well. One way of getting to know more about the plethora of works available on the market is to browse art online on reputable websites. The Artling, for example, categorizes artworks according to the medium, size, orientation and color. If you are interested in collecting art from a particular region, you can also pick the country of your choice. 

Another strategy is to adopt the traditional method of researching. Visit art fairs and go to exhibitions in galleries and museums. Ask questions and read artists' biography pages. The best way to gain access to insider tips is to speak with other like-minded collectors.

2. Determine what type of work to buy

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'Guitar Girl' (2003) by Yoshitomo Nara (Photo: Courtesy of the artist and YOD Gallery)

Once you have narrowed down the category of work that you would like to acquire, it's time to consider the background of the work and the artist.

Check the provenance of the work and the track record of the artist. Select artists that have been approved by authoritative sources in the art world. While it may be difficult to start your collection by owning a piece of work by blue-chip artists like Picasso, there are many mid-career and emerging artists to choose from. Depending on your budget and the space available for storage or display, you can start your collection easily by having a concrete idea of what to pursue. 

3. Manage your budget

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'Constellations No.22' (2016) by Zhao Zhao (Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art)

It may be tempting to put all your money into the first piece of work that you like, but it is unwise to do so. Set a budget, so that you will not be carried away by the excitement of starting a collection. Plan carefully and be aware of fees and taxes related to your purchase. You first art purchase may be something more accessible and under US$500, or go above and beyond US$10,000

4. Devise a strategy for art collecting

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'All That Remains' (2016) by Zhu Jinshi (Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Pearl Lam Galleries)

Many collectors start collecting for aesthetic reasons—for example, to enliven their living room. Art can no doubt transform a space and create beautiful interiors, but what happens when their collection outgrows their space? As art collections grow bigger, art collectors need to think about the logistics, installation, insurance, storage and conservation of their works. It is always useful to have a few reliable companies in mind just in case.

For collectors who collect art for investment and wealth management purposes, they may consider enlisting the help of an art advisor. As galleries working in the primary market may have a long waiting list, aspiring collectors may need to consider different ways to obtain the works they desire.

If you are looking to build a corporate collection or select art for your office, art consultancy services are available on the market to provide access to the best works.

5. Keep Certificates of Authenticity


'Summer Palace' (2015) by Shen Wei (Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Visionairs Gallery)

When you purchase a work of art, the Certificate of Authenticity is crucial to prove that the work is indeed authentic. The document will come in handy when you need to insure the work. Plus, you never know when in the future your art collection may grow to a point that you decide to donate or sell certain pieces. The loss of the certificates may cause great trouble in the future, which is why you should always keep important documents of your art collection safely.

 This article first appeared on The Artling.

(Related: These Are The ‘World's Best Museums’ In 2017)


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