How to build a valuable art collection?

Essential guide for beginners

Marina Viatkina
Aug 27, 2018 · 6 min read

Strategic Choices or Luck of the Draw

First of all, let’s define what is a Collection and how it is different to a random pick of unrelated pieces. Here is the clue in this word — unrelated. Group of objects become a true collection as soon as they are united by a certain feature or have a strong relation one to another. This link could be quite broad, as, for example, painting style, like Impressionism. However a good collection is always way more precise and focused. We’ll come back to that in a while.

So, if you think of becoming a collector you need at least to define what exactly to collect and stick to that subject.

You may say: «Well, I love painting or sculpture in general. Why couldn’t I just start acquiring various pieces that speak to me without any artificial limits?

Consistency is the key to success

Lock on Target

The first advice that I once received from a seasoned art collector was this: «You have to choose one very precise subject and become and expert in it». For example, if you like impressionists, then concentrate on the beginning decades of that movement and limit your ultimate target to masters from country or school. With impressionism that would be 1860’-1870’ years in France. What’s wrong with the masters of late 19th century or today’s impressionists?


Becoming an adept

Study your collectibles inside out

Best or Nothing?

Is it required to have only the best pearls of collectible items to form a good collection? You may be surprised, but not at all. Actually, two or three really great things are more than enough. However, they must be accompanied by a selection of simply good pieces that would make some kind of bridges between the best items.

The same thing with a collection. To finally build an interesting one you only have to find several significantly valuable pieces, while all the rest should be neutrally good to make those best shine brighter.


Start Hunting

Going back to our action plan. Now when you’ve chosen a subject of a collection you should understand where could you get those pieces from. And yes, define the budget.

Take a risk or stay on the safe side, but keep the trade-off in mind

That means, that if we are experts we have a chance to spot a real treasure and buy it for a ridiculous amount.

To be able to do that we have to become those connoisseurs and invest time in research, of course.

Hidden Gem: Art Treasures through the lens of History

Short stories on art discoveries of an ever curious art…

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