Tips for buying your first piece of art

by Shilpa Raina
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There is always a first time, right. And, in all probability, you are bound to make some mistakes. But when it comes to making an investment, you really don’t want to make a wrong move. Especially, when it comes to buying art. There aren’t many advisors and counsellors who would suggest you where to put your money in. Also, if you don’t have a close-knit art clique and are just new to this creative form of expression, then you really are on your own. But fret not, it really isn’t a rocket science. You can train yourself in art appreciation. Here is what all you need to do.
Get yourself acquainted with all kinds of art: As we are talking in the 21st century, the idea of the art isn’t merely restricted to paintings and sculptures. Video and installation art too has become a source of aspiration for many. Hence, be open-minded. Now, start familiarizing yourself with the gallery culture and visit as many as you can. Get acquainted with various forms and works of several artists. Read about their practice and see whether you emotionally respond to the artworks.
Visit art fairs and auctions: The best possible way to educate yourself in art is to visit art fairs, art festivals and biennales. This is where you can simply immerse yourself in the global artworks and artists. And in places like these, you can always talk directly to the artist or the gallerist and learn upfront about their representations. Along with this, going to auctions would help you understand its rhythm and flow; it will also help you get a better understanding of prominent artists and introduce you to the various aspects important aspects like provenance and condition of the work.
Set your budget: It is extremely important to define your budget because sometimes you might go overboard in your decisions. However, regret could possibly be your biggest enemy in the long run. Ask art collectors what they regret the most, they all would have at least a story to share about how they wished they would have bought a specific piece of work, So, make your budget plans flexible and most importantly, sensible. Also, be aware of the hidden costs of owning art: shipping, framing, and insurance. If you buy something at auction, there is a buyer’s premium that can be hefty.
Love at first sight: Every artwork is like falling in love with it for the first time. You mostly go by the instinct or appeal. Depends on what draws you in more. But let anyone influence your decisions. You can always take suggestions from art collectors but at the end of the day you own that piece and you should be proud of it.
Small is beautiful: Yes, it indeed it. Many newbie art collectors feel that big and monumental works are more appealing and have more worth. Well, that is actually not the case. Once you have set your eyes on it factors like provenance and the history of the work with respect to artist’s oeuvre and so on are many such factors that one should consider before opting for a big but invaluable piece.
For the best investments: Past holds more importance in art than the present, especially when it comes to evaluating the work. Hence, you should keep your eyes and ears open for young and emerging artists whose works are promising and would definitely convert into great future investments. But, to ensure that you are investing the right guy, research, ask and observe. Once, you have developed a fair understanding of the works, you will surely make the right choice.
Track your purchase: There should be a clear, traceable path from artist to owner, and it should be documented: save emails, invoices, and receipts. If you eventually want to evaluate or sell a work, it’s important to have this documentation.

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