Evolving from an Art Buyer to an Art Collector
The difference between someone who collects art with the discriminating eye of an art lover and an art buyer is profound. It might be compared to the difference between someone who buys and sells cars for a living and a collector of vintage and fine automobiles. The word “buyer” is pivotal and making that distinction. It is true that you as an art collector do from time to time buy art. And it is true that you can purchase a fine piece of art and after some period of time, you may find yourself selling it for a significant profit.
So the investment side of art collection is real and cannot be denied. But the first major difference between a buyer and collector is the investment value of a piece of art you wish to add to your collation is not the primary motivation you may have for making that purchase decision. But there are other significant modes of behavior a true collector will exhibit that set him or her apart from a person who buys art simply for monetary purposes.
* A collector specializes in certain genres of art, art movements, geographical areas and artists whereas a buyer will buy and sell whatever “book value” tells him is a good purchase. As your knowledge of the art world deepens, it is natural to become a collector because you have reached a point that collecting those great pieces of art in your chosen genre are part of your love of that art. A collector will demonstrate a ravenous appetite for knowledge about the genre and artists of his or her specific interest eventually gathering an encyclopedic knowledge of the art that they seek to collect.
* A collector knows galleries. An art gallery is a very different place from a museum or even an art show. An art gallery is essentially a place of business. But there are modes of behavior and systems in place for communicating details about each artwork that is important to a collector considering a purchase. For example, most galleries use a system of colored dots that are put on artwork on display which are significant to the sale status of that piece. As you invest more and more time into your love of art collecting, you will also become well known at galleries who frequently display and merchandize the type of art you collect. As a result, the gallery owners will know who you are and you will be regularly notified if a piece in your genre is on display and available for purchase.
* A collector knows how much they can do within their financial boundaries and invest in their passion for art collecting. You already know who the great masters are in the genre that you focus on for your collection. But there is a huge price difference between buying an original of a great master versus a quality print of that same piece. Within your genre, there are also fine artists from the same time in art history that the genre was at its pinnacle but who were lesser known and as such, their works are less expensive. By knowing your niche, you can continue your love of art collecting without the frustration of attempting to collect in a range outside your abilities.
Never let your existing body of knowledge about art collection keep you from always learning more about this fascinating avocation. Galleries commonly conduct seminars and discussion groups about the basics and the nuances of art collection. By keeping yourself informed of the language and the lay of the land of art collecting, you will avoid pitfalls many fall into and your enjoyment of art collecting will be rich and full.
You can find more of my Art at Etsy Gallery