The Secret to Collecting Art

Collecting art is a unique reflection into an individual’s aesthetic persuasion. Some people might start with a pre-existing collection founded on inherited artwork or souvenirs and others, a blank slate.

Collecting art can seemingly come naturally to some and others like a huge undertaking. It all comes down to taking an approach that best suits your personality and pace. An approach to decorating or filling a home could feel the same. There are spaces of necessity that can be moved eventually.

The first step I typically invite new collectors to do is train their eye. This is be achieved by observation. Visit galleries and museums of exhibitions of different periods, cultures, and stylistic movements. Over time you will notice that when looking at some works of art they evoke an unexplained feeling. This feeling when looking at art is a different experience from listening to music, creating music, creating art, or exercising. It can tap into an area of connectivity in your mind and body unlike any other, and it can take time to strengthen or recognize that connection. This becomes what I like to call the mind-body connection. It is something not to be feared nor intimidated by, but to recognize that each individual has their own aesthetic selection which mirrors the beauty of art and artists’ output.

For any given exhibition or body of work of an artist, there will be different paintings or sculpture of various size, color, these are produced given that artists’ individual inspiration and motivation, the beauty of those differing approaches that then could tap into to a viewer’s aesthetic is truly special. It takes bravery and conviction on the collector’s part to feel confident in their ability to select what they want.

First time collectors can consider collecting works on paper and editioned works. This is an excellent way to acquire the artistic excellence of fine artists. Print making is a centuries old practice originating from the Japanese woodblock prints to etching process by artists like Rembrandt. This was an early way to commercialize artwork, make it possible for the masses to own fine art. Over the centuries and decades prints and works on paper have evolved. There are now artists that exclusively create prints and works on paper as part of their oeuvre. Many artists today, whether their medium is two or three dimensional, will also produce prints as a way to expand their collector base.

Seeking counsel in collecting art is more accessible today than ever. There are a multitude of websites, databased, articles, blogs, social media accounts and opinions. To that end, there are several individuals who are experts in the field and are qualified to advise. Seeking the advice and guidance of an art advisor, gallerist, consultant or dealer is a great way to ask big and small questions and to also assist in navigating the larger waters or art acquisitions. The world of art collecting has expanded beyond artist to owner. There are auctions, online platforms, galleries, collectors, social media, etc. The gallery has played an important role in being a tastemaker, an expert in selection and presentation, and a liaison to finding talent. Furthermore, all galleries are not created equal. It is important to consider experience, credentialing, and prestige.

Finally, one aspect of collecting art to consider, is that as a collector, you are the temporary owner of something that can live on beyond our years. We are just caretakers of these objects that we appreciate as fine art for a limited period of time.  

-Anne Kelly Lewis


William Campbell Gallery