Collecting art has traditionally been a pastime of the rich, but the advent of new technology and growing personal wealth have democratized art collecting. Buying art is easier than ever, but it must begin with some soul searching to find the art that you enjoy. If you start collecting art that you don’t like, you won’t maintain your passion and will quickly give up the hobby. Building a collection should come from an excitement for art that will continue to build as your collection grows. The four first steps to building an art collection is to visit museums, art galleries, classes and books.
Many museums have free days at least once per month and offer a broad range of styles and artists. Walk the galleries and find what type of art you like the most. Take your time to read the labels and get up close to the paintings and sculptures. If you come across a docent tour, join along. They’re free too and the docents have been trained to provide more information on many works in the museum so feel free to ask questions. By the end of the tour you should have a good understanding of some of the best works in the museum and how they fit into art history. And if the museum offers an audio tour, it is worth the fee to rent one for your trip. The recordings provide even more depth on some important pieces in the museum and offer flexibility for you to wander the collections at your own pace.
Most art galleries work with living artists who are just beginning to build their career. Unless the artist is established and has gained a large following you won’t find them in a museum so make sure that you also check out local art galleries. The best time to visit is during their openings when gallery owners invite collectors and the public to see their new show. Artists are almost always at these events as are several other collectors and art enthusiasts. The galleries will be alive with conversation prompted by wine and music. It’s also a good time to talk to other collectors and share your thoughts on the art or even introduce yourself to the artist and ask questions about their work. They should be happy to answer. If you would like a quieter setting, feel free to stop by the gallery during the day. The owner and their staff would be happy to answer any questions you have about the artist or the work.
Art Appreciation Classes
If you find yourself drawn into a certain movement art appreciation and art history classes are excellent forums to learn more about that movement. Look at you local community college or university for continuing education courses that offer a survey of specific styles. You will learn about the top artists behind each movement and will be more knowledgeable about their work. You will also learn about other artists who worked in similar times and styles – a good way to continue expanding your understanding of art.
Books and Online
Also make sure to visit bookstores and search online once you find an artist or movement that you like. Several art history surveys have been written that will paint a broad picture of any style you can imagine. Beyond the survey books, you can find volumes on individual styles and artists to deepen your knowledge of the arts. Having background on the history and context of an artist or group of artists will give you a better appreciation of their work. But what if there are no books on the artist? What if they are just beginning their career? Then search for that artist’s or their gallery’s website. You’ll get all the most current information including their biography, list of their past and current shows, images of their art and you should also be able to sign up for email alerts when they have a new show or news to share. If you really want to build an art collection, email alerts will keep you updated on your favorite artist.
As you learn about art and get a feeling for what you like, you’ll start feeling the urge to buy a piece or two. The learning doesn’t stop there. If you’ve found something that truly sparks your passion you will keep collecting art for years to come.
Source by David J Ward