Dr. Lori: How to buy art and antiques
When embarking on a new phase of life, like marriage, completing a degree or moving to a new home, many people chronicle the experience with the purchase of an object. When looking for an investment that is both fun and smart, art and antiques come to mind. For the novice collector or seasoned art and antiques lover who wants to jump into the market, I’ll share my insider tips on starting an art collection. I’ve compiled an buying guide to help you find, understand and collect the best examples of fine art and antiques.
Learn from masters
First, learn as much as you can about art and antiques in places where you are not tempted to buy art or antiques. Visit museums, historical societies, libraries and other places where fine art and antiques are on display, but not for sale. You should learn about the various media (e.g., pastels, watercolors, bronzes, oils on canvas), art movements (e.g., Surrealism, Impressionism, Contemporary Realism) and subjects (still-life, seascapes, portraits) so you have a good idea of what sparks your interest. This method will prevent you from buying just because the opportunity presents itself. Don’t think about buying a work of art or antique piece until you establish a budget.
Stick to your budget
Have a budget in mind, settle on it and stick to it. Do not waiver and don’t convince yourself to overspend because you fell in love with a piece. No matter what, you will be happy if you stick to your budget.
Slow down and forget life’s distractions when you are considering an art or antique purchase. Even if you are starting out slow and only buying a small, reasonably priced piece, it is a good idea to take it slow. This work of art or antique object will become a part of your home for years to come. Learn to look at the work of art or antique piece for more than just a few minutes. Don’t let a pushy dealer, encouraging friend or other “background noise” distract you or rush you into the purchase. Take a minute and just stand there and quietly look at the work. Think about what you see and try to figure out what you like. Consider it, ponder it and don’t rush it.
Back to basics
Try to consider the basics starting with black and white. Don’t be taken in by an artwork’s color or an antique’s various forms and ornamental details. Some people who sell art or antiques will try to get you to like a particular work based solely on its colors or how it may fit into your color scheme. Remember, a big part of buying something good is learning to recognize quality pieces. I want you to buy something that you like that is also of high quality and worth the money.
Buy the work of the trained artists and established craftsmen. Better yet, buy the work of artists who teach other artists like those established instructors from prestigious art schools and apprenticeships. When it comes to market prowess, those who can, teach.
Appraisers, curators and art historians know that the best quality work is always the best choice for a collection. It will hold its value long term. Collecting quality art and antiques is always a good investment.
(Dr. Lori is the star appraiser on Discovery channel’s Auction Kings. Go to DrLoriV.com, Facebook.com/DoctorLori, @DrLoriV on twitter, or call (888) 431-1010.)