Frieze and Other Fairs Are About to Take Over London
The Times of London offers this handy guide from Judith Greer on how to become a collector. Yes, this is the “official” guide, meaning you’re being advised to wait in line and hope the gallerist will take a shine to you. Funny how no one tells you to go straight to an auction and buy up anything you like:
The best way to learn is to become a member of a non-profit art institution. Prices vary, but you get what you pay for. The higher the level, the more access you have to artists, curators, gallerists and other collectors. Most serious collectors belong to several galleries or museums. [ . . . ]
Good relationships with dealers are also essential. When visiting a gallery, talk to the dealer about the exhibition. [ . . . ] If it interests me, I will ask about prices. Ask to go on the mailing list, and you will receive exhibition announcements and invitations to private views. Over time you will find there are galleries that consistently show work you find compelling. You may develop a good rapport with the owners and buy a piece or two. Eventually you could become a favoured client and be offered the first choice of new work. This relationship takes time to develop, so if you have just met a dealer and are offered a pricey work from the back room, think twice.[ . . . ]
Always buy the best piece that you can afford. Don’t buy a bad work by a well-known artist, buy a great work by a lesser-known one. No investment is guaranteed, but at least with art you will be investing in your personal enjoyment. [ . . . ]
If you are planning to spend more than about £50,000 it is relatively easy to research artists’ prices and reputations online. Be wary of “hot” artists whose prices suddenly rise on the market’s hype. Likewise, don’t overlook the less fashionable, established artists whose prices don’t reflect their importance.
New collectors will often say “I know what I like” but for me the greatest excitement is seeing a new work that I don’t understand and perhaps don’t like, then feeling the confusion slowing fading while a new and powerful understanding of something I cannot even always articulate finds its way into my consciousness. This is the real reward for a true collector.
An expert’s guide to buying the best artworks (Times of London)