The Art Of Buying Art!

If you have just acquired your first Apartment, Condo, or dream house, now is not the time to rush out and buy ‘Art”, to fill wall space or to provide a cosmetic relief. Start slowly. First, begin by deciding on what your personal taste in Art, is. And when you start buying, do with your eventual collection in mind. As when you start buying, you should do so with two primary motivations, investment, and aesthetics. 

So, instead of rushing out and filling your walls with 111qq111111 piece. 

Avoid buying in bulk or commissioning an Artist to mass-produce his work for your consumption. 

Avoid being the Trendy new ‘Status-Buyer’, someone who buys art to appear cultured or as a ticket into the hallowed halls of the Art establishment without an appreciation for the Artistic or financial value of the piece in question. These buyers rarely last and are quite disruptive of the Market, as their desire to impress, causes them to spend loosely and unwisely. Sometimes causing young artists, overcome with the initial attention, they price themselves out of the Market; or simply expire from overexposure. On the other hand, the buyer, can end up with Works of no real value because of a decision made in haste; or to impress, and not being full au fait, with the industry, end up with a lot of invaluable “Trophy” pieces.

Before making any major purchase, it’s best to consult with an expert, or someone knowledgeable. As this can save new buyers many heartaches or foolhardy decisions. It’s also important to note that New entrants into the Market, should also be wary of so-called  Experts, as some, have been known to collude with Artists and other so-called experts to inflate prices and or hype the particular work and or Artist that on merit, is worthless. 

Not all Experts are scammers tho, some are genuinely into their craft, and do their best to stand by their professional truth. Occasionally, however, some Experts get drawn in by the charisma and works of the Artists and go overboard in promoting it, only for the Artist, to never rise to the occasion. 

Washer Women – Barrington Watson

Acquiring Art As An Investment: If you are already heavily invested in the Stock Market, and are looking to diversify your investment portfolio, buying Art, is an option to be explored. In fact, considering the recent news of Fraud at SSL and within the Banking sector generally, buying Art as an investment is absolutely one of the best investment options around. 

Note however, if you plan to buy for investment, never trust and or rely on your own judgment or advice from the Artist,  to make that investment. While knowing the Artist, or something about his style, or Craft, can help in the decision-making process, I advise you to consult with an Art Consultant, who can assist you with appraisal and or requisite provenance, of your intended purchase(s). 

Buying For The Home:  In buying for the home, or in starting a collection, do not try to replicate the Galleries and or the latest Art exhibition you visited. Most Galleries will have on Display what I call Stock Masters, That is a collection of representative pieces from the Greats, which are used to draw in potential Clients. And Whilst A Huie, Manley, Artwell, Watson, MacMillan, Boxer, and or a Rovan, looks good when mounted in a Gallery, the effect will be completely different in the confines of your home, all things such as space and existing decor, considering. 

Albert Huie – Crop Time (1955)

Instead of trying to Copy a display, allow your innate senses to lead you. Buy the pieces you feel a connection to, and only after you get some background info on the Artist. And so sufficiently tuned in, that you can reasonably identify, the artist’s style, and or work when it is posed alongside other works. If you can do this. And if you identify with the work, before you buy, identify the reason behind your wanting to buy. If you are clear on your motivation, then buy, cause when you do, you will walk away with a sense of accomplishment or even satisfaction.

Now there’s something to be said about “Roadside Art”, Generally as a rule, the pieces on display on street corners daily, might look good, and colourful and might even attract a certain appeal, it is not the type of “Art” one expects to see, adorning the walls of any home I visit. But to be sure, even here there’s a caveat, as back in the 80s, a Young Artist, named Richard Hall, began displaying his work, on the Street in Manor Park, This was his Launching pad. I must state, however, that from then his work was hmm-good, and I too was one of those who snapped up a few pieces. And A good investment it was too, I might add, as today, Hall has come into his own as an Artist, his work fetching top Dollar, and he stands in the Pantheon of self-taught, Greats. 

In summation, let me highlight: 

  1. Never Buy Art in Bulk.
  2. Before embarking on starting a collection, seek to familiarise yourself with various artists their styles, work, and artistic temperament.
  3. Never Buy To Impress. 
  4. Before You purchase, identify your reasons for wanting to.
  5. A Noteworthy Collection is not done or acquired in an afternoon shopping spree. It’s Not Fast Food or instant coffee for Instant gratification. It takes time. I recall with horror, visiting the home of a political acquaintance after his party has secured a resounding victory at the Polls. It was a beautiful cottage nestled in Old Stony Hill, with Ivy trailing on the Stone Work. But that was where the charm and beauty ended, as once inside, it was all cringe-worthy, as the house reeked of Varnish and Fresh Paint, It was as if someone had gone down to Globe Furniture, and ordered the most horrendous collection they could produce,  and crisply varnished to boot. The Stuff on the walls, was abysmally bhuttoesque, and of the lowest order, as we are talking Gilded Faux Gold Frames on Amateurish Palm trees, and supposed Scenes la Vie, but of the most chintzy order. The place was so frightfully new, that during the course of the evening, the Jost announced that he would be serving Icecream, but that he would have to microwave the Icecream in order to serve it. 

Well, one guest who had gotten tired of the newness all evening took his soup spoon, and spooned up a heap of Ice-cream and proceeded to blow on it in a loud voice, ostensibly to cool it down, but was in effect making a mockery of what was clearly making a Mockery of the evening and its newness. 

Apparently, this Politician had come into his ‘own’ and simply gone out and bought everything of the ‘Rack’ to cudgel together what he considered a Sophisticated Look for his quaint cottage. What he ended up doing was creating a shrine to the largesse of the nouveau riche.

So, our advice, If you like it, buy it but your collection must be staggered to reflect an aged collection, and not all circa 2020. And remember, the reason you acquire, Art is for the aesthetic pleasure it gives, So enjoy your acquisitions!


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