Art Collector

Knowing the Artist is Important When Buying Art

Learn About the Artist Before Buying the Art

When you start your art collection and it is time to select your very first piece to purchase, your first question should always be: ‘Who is the artist?’. You can find the answer from a number of sources, including the artist themselves, the dealer, the gallery, the artist’s websites, exhibition catalogs, art reference books, and more. It’s just like any other valuable property that you buy. Take the example of a house: nobody buys a house on a whim without any research. Before you decide to buy a house, you will probably research the neighborhood, find out how much other houses in the area are selling for, and check for any structural issues. It is not that different when you start collecting art.

Read and Listen

To make sure you don’t come away with inaccurate or skewed information about how important the artist or the work of art is, you have to get information both verbally and written down. If you only read or only listen to what people say, there is a big chance that you won’t get the full and accurate picture. Make it your mission to determine the following information from various sources: • The time of birth and death of the artist • Where the artist lives/lived and works/worked • Galleries and museums where the artist held exhibitions • Awards, honors, prizes, and grants the artist received • Other collectors who own the artist’s work • Positions held by the artist • Publications like books, websites, catalogs, and magazines that mention the artist • Organizations the artist belongs to • Where the artist studied

Don’t Over-complicate Things

Once you have gathered as much information as possible, you will be able to make a few basic assumptions about the artist. Unless it is very expensive art, all you really want is a reasonable idea of who the artist is and how significant their work is, so that you can formulate an opinion of whether the asking price is fair. In a nutshell, the more the piece costs, the more established, respected, and documented the artist should be. If the price doesn’t match the reputation, negotiate or walk away.  
Knowing the Artist is Important When Buying Art
Knowing the Artist is Important When Buying Art

The value of art lies as much in the artist as it does in the artwork. Unless the artist is very well known, and that means the artwork will usually be extremely valuable, you need to do a little background work before investing in artwork, no matter how much you love it. Just as you’d research the background, history and credentials of a motor vehicle, house or any other thing of significant value, before you purchase it, so too should you with art. In this blog, you’ll discover just how important it is to get an accurate, unbiased record of the artist, and how to start researching the artist’s background, accolades, exhibitions and other collectors who own art by the same artists. With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about purchasing that piece you love so much.