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Five Tips for New Art Collectors

Katherine Bernhardt,Untitled, 2015
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas
72 x 60 inches
Katherine Bernhardt,Untitled, 2015 Acrylic and spray paint on canvas 72 x 60 inches

Why don’t more people collect art? There are a multitude of reasons, but I also think there is something psychological at work.  People assume that you have to be among the richest people in the world to collect art, but that is simply not true.  Also, there are no simple methods to learn what to buy and how to value it. It may also be because art is a very illiquid investment. As opposed to a mutual fund, it is hard to sell art on demand if you want to liquidate your investment.

Over the last seven years I have been actively buying artwork from emerging contemporary artists and it has helped to change my life. I love supporting young artists and I’ve met and built some of my most inspiring relationships with a generation of creators.

Here are five tips for new art collectors that may help you get started:

  1. Carve out a budget: Take 5% of your investible assets and put that into art over a two to three year period. This will be a definitive statement and will allow you to build a plan that governs what you buy.
  2. Look at Images: Start looking at images of art online to get a sense of what you are attracted to. Websites like Artsy and Artspace are great repositories of information. These will help you start to develop a sense of what you are attracted to.
  3. Visit Galleries: Go see three galleries a month for three months and take in the process of viewing art in person. Ask the dealers to explain in detail what the artist’s practice is about and challenge yourself to think about “what is well done and what is for you”.
  4. Buy Three Artworks: Three will allow you to diversify and start to carve out what you are naturally attracted to. You should hang or install them right away. You can spend anything you want, from $300 to $3,000,000. The key is to pull the trigger.
  5. Find an Advisor: This can be a professional art adviser or associate, even just a friend who has a lot of experience. They will provide a sounding board and will help you with some of the small nuances that you will need to know to navigate the transactions and all that comes with that.


Write me a note and let me know your thoughts about collecting art.  I’m happy to share more of my ideas and perhaps help you get started too.