Rule #1- Never Buy only for the sake of
making an Investment.
must love your art and allow it to give you pleasure
every day. If dollar signs are all you think about when
you look at it, it's not good for your soul or for the
art. In the very unlikely case your art happens in increase
in value, consider yourself lucky that you did not have
to pay more for the same pleasure.
of all artwork never goes up in value: Most
pictures decline 50% in value the minute you walk out
of the gallery. Dealers typically take 40-50%.
art market fluctuates the same as every other market: For example, big collectors
who paid top dollar for art in the late 80's were left
with unwanted inventory in the early 90's when the Japanese
stopped buying art and Wall Street tanked.
is not liquid. Typically, a
dealer who sold you something, will not not take it
back five years later. She has new work to sell by the
artist, and does not want to deal with older works.
Unless, the artist has substantially appreciated in
#2 - Do Your Homework
about art takes time and effort just like learning about anything
at art constantly and develop your
eye, so that you learn what you like and why. The more
you look, the more you'll come to understand the difference
between what is good and what is not. This might not change
the kind of art you like, but will help you distinguish
between the good (of what you like) from the bad.
the "Isn't it amazing" picture and how many
the uninitiated, a realistic oil that looks like a photo
can be an amazing - How did the artist do that? Well, it's actually quite simple. Anyone can learn if
they have time and patience.
The more you look, the more
you see that there are thousands of artists working in
an "isn't it amazing?" style. The more you look the more
you become aware of the cliche of using thrilling technique
as the basis for artistic merit. An image must resonate
beyond technique. There are also hundreds of competent
artists who are good illustrators. The work is fine,
butyou cannot tell one from another and there is no true
originality or unique way of viewing the world. Furthermore,
this competent illustrative art becomes more obvious
as a cliche the more you see it.
#3 - Trust Your Own Taste
end of the day, after looking and looking, you must trust
your own taste. Good art comes with many different syles
and subjects. The style and subject matter that really speak
to you depends on how well your personality converges with
that of the artist. You might have an eclectic sensibility
and appreciate many kinds of good art, you might like the
romantic landscape, colorful expressionistic painting, or
Zen-like minimalism. No matter what kind of art really grabs
you, do not be afraid to mix different things in one space.
In the end your general taste will connect them all.
#4 - Look for VALUE
you are NOT thinking "investment potential" (you're
not, are you?), you should be thinking VALUE.
do not want to be ripped off, and in the art world,
it's easy to spend lots of money on junk. Again, you must
go through the learning process. If you're spending
under $700 for an original work on paper or under $2000
for a good - sized painting, don't worry. Use
these numbers as general guidelines for buying artwork,
and remember buy anything that pleases you and is cheap.
Remember, artists have to make money too. A typical
artist who makes one watercolor a week and sells it
directly for $500 each, makes $24,000 a year. Furthermore,
she probably has an expensive Masters of Fine Arts
degree, plus the costs of postcards, supplies, paper,
rent, and framing. Most likely, she has a day job and
is caught in the classic artist-bind: the artist has
to make enough to live, and at the same time, find
time to paint. It's a hard life, so give her a break
and don't complain about her trying to sell an original
work of art for more than $300. Pay her gladly.
Rule #5 - Buy
from reputable dealers - But how can you tell?
When you are purchasing art, for more than $700 for an original
work on paper or $2000 for a painting, it is a good idea to
work with a reputable dealer. That's easy to say, but how
can you - the uninitiated - tell a reputable dealer from a
- Avoid any dealer with who sells Salvador
Dali, or Norman Rockwell. Other artists to avoid
are Tarkay, Erte, Earle, Jiang,
Chagall (late), Max, Neiman, and Agam. They are
- Avoid - like the plague - the "Limited
Edition Print" and any dealer who sells them.
They are nothing but overpriced, signed posters.
- Avoid the dealer who talks investment and offers a "Certificate
of Authenticity". Certificates of authenticity
are usually phony. They lead you to believe that you have
an original piece of work when in reality you may not.
- Avoid galleries located in shopping malls, tourist areas,
and airports. For
some reason, which I have yet to figure out, the average
person only thinks about buying art on vacation. Although
I'm sure there are exceptions, many galleries take advantage
- Avoid buying art from the framer in your local shopping
mall. Again, I'm sure there are
exceptions, but she's probably not the best person with
whom you should spend any serious amount of money. Typically,
she knows little about the realities of the broader art