Where and how do I begin an art collection?  Do I need a lot of money? Should I collect what is popular? How do I know what good art looks like? What is the ‘best’ style of painting to collect? Who can I trust in my search for art? Where do I find art for sale?

First of all, start small. There are no rules – there is, in fact, little regulation in the art market. Also, don’t expect to make money. Art is not made to be an object of speculation. The reward of collecting should come from your enjoyment of the art.

Markets can change.  What was popular and pricey a few years ago may not be now, so collect what excites you, whether portraits, landscapes, contemporary paintings, Old Masters, or lithographs. Look for what appeals to you. Big collectors go for big names and prestige. But that is certainly not the only way to collect!  Many less well-known works are just as charming and skillfully painted. One collector recommends collecting as many diverse pieces by an artist as possible so that these seemingly incongruous works, by the time your collection is mature, will provide depth and breadth.

The trick is knowing where to look. Plenty of great paintings, prints, and other pieces are out there! Art sales once revolved mainly around high-profile auctions and blue-chip gallery sales (many of which have been shrouded in secrecy and price manipulation). It can be helpful in your search if you can get to know several good gallerists who represent the artists you are trying to collect. Many galleries are prepared to negotiate terms of a sale, even agreeing to payment in installments.

Online sources of art for sale, however, are far more numerous! The website architecturaldigest.com recommends several sites for finding affordable art online: Artfinder (200,000+ pieces of original art signed by the artist), Saatchi Art (original works, including sculpture, also prints), Minted (art from independent makers/emerging artists worldwide), Tappan Collective (various emerging artists), 20X200 (provide documentation about each work and write-ups of  new artists), also AHA, Paper Collective, Society 6, Lumas. And in addition, you could search on Google to find your style of art or to locate individual artists with work for sale. Search Facebook, Ebay, even Amazon.

In summary, trust your instincts in collecting art. Choose what you are immediately drawn to – art is personal! It’s okay to mix different styles or mediums, adding photos to original paintings or prints. Don’t be shy, and don’t be afraid to be different from everyone else. Feel free to do some research and learn more about what interests you. As you study, you will become more confident. The more you know about artists and their backgrounds, the more connected you’ll feel to their art. Consider purchasing art from someone whose interests and values align with yours. Have fun!

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