CollectorsGuide Click on the Collectors’ Guide Link to download M Gallery of Fine Art’s printable Collectors’ Guide.
Most of us start buying art work by accident. We see something that moves us, that we think will enhance our lives in some way, or evokes a memory of place or emotion. After several years of willy nilly buying pieces we find we either have not enough wall space or too many paintings or both. Usually what then occurs is serious soul-searching, a certain amount of “gifting” to our children and or trips to the consignment store or the attic. After all that sorting out we find we still yearn for more art and the desire to collect becomes serious, almost an addiction. At this point the real fun begins and most of us start to develop our sense of aesthetics and keen personal preferences to include very specific kinds of work and artists. I encourage collectors at this point to first and foremost purchase a work of art because they love it and it moves them to tears; evokes a happy memory; touches their soul; reminds them of a great love, soothes anxiety; or is simply an image of great beauty they do not want to live without.
It should outlast their couches, houses, styles, room decor, life changes & be a gift to those who follow in their footsteps.
I also suggest some things to make art collecting activity easier, more focused & more fun, such as:
Visiting galleries + websites + blogs asking questions of the staff;
Attending the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America, Salon International Shows, Museum group shows & opening receptions;
Signing up for gallery newsletters or mailing in order to get invited to openings and receive alerts when artists they follow do new works;
Attending collector events at galleries or art fairs & using the opportunity to talk to other collectors;
Collecting books on artists from history that paint in the manner they enjoy & serve as mentors for their favorite contemporary artists
Visiting the blog, U tube & web site of the artist & or galleries they like; watching for live demos by favorite artists “friend” or “fan” -ing them on Face book ;
Asking to see other works and the pricing by the Artist they are considering purchasing; Compare pricing from the internet + asking for historical pricing from the gallery offering the work: Most Artists worth purchasing are escalating in value. A 5 year history is helpful, ten is preferable. There are 3 categories of living artist basic pricing scenarios to consider:
Early in their career these artists may or may not be young but are new to painting full-time. Certainly not hobbyists, the value of these works, unless something unusual happens may or may not increase. The danger in collecting these works may be that painter stops painting, is sporadic in quality, or does not grow in technique or capability…i.e. stalls out. If you buy in this category make sure you absolutely love the piece and that is not a financial investment of any sort. A good example of an artist of this type would be Matteo Caloiaro http://www.mgalleryoffineart.com/searchresults.php?artistId=11573# . He is a new instructor & recent graduate from the Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota. His painting, Coming, pictured below is typical of his work.
Matteo is unusually colleible in this category: He has been painting for 10 years already, has studied under a respected teacher, is teaching and painting full time + unusually dedicated to his work. It is rare to find a painter at this stage with this level of seriousness and we reccommend Matteo as great quality for the dollars he commands for his work.
Matteo studied under a Mid-Career artist & OPA Signature Master Hodges Soileau. Hodges’ painting, Commercial Street, http://www.mgalleryoffineart.com/searchresults.php?artistId=11450# is typical of his work.
Mid Career Artists:
Mid career artists have usually 20 – 30 years of easel time, studied under several living Masters (or the equivalent) are now recipients of major awards for their work, are teaching workshops, been in significant invitational group shows, hang in regional + major museums, are members of the OPA, Portrait Society or listed as a Living Master with ARC, are in corporate & private collections. Pricing in this category is usually well established. Discounts on purchasing multiples of this category of painter can still be had in some instances, but usually only for multiple purchases & at values over $10,000. It can be assumed works by these artists will continue to increase in value and are well advised from a financial standpoint. Collections around a certain group of painters (who have all studied under the same Master) or who have begun to congregate & paint together (sharing skills & ideas) make for robust & valuable collections, Other collecting scenarios can involve prize winners from the National competitions, or deep collections of one painter’s work.
These painters are at the top of their peak pricing and will continue to hold steady value until their death…Upon which there is usually a valuation spike. Although we all love the Living Masters at the peak of their earning + performing power there works may or may not escalate dramatically until their death. Their values however will be stable and fairly liquid (i.e. easily re-sold if needed). Paintings acquired in this category should be carefully insured + documented for your self + your heirs. Although few of us can obtain large numbers of this category of works, a few select pieces paired with mid-career painters who have studied as protégées under a specific Master makes for a well-rounded exquisite collecting strategy. Albert Handell’s Canyon Wall in Pastel + Water Colour is a good example of a highly sought after Mature Artist’s work. You can watch Albert paint this painting on our Facebook page titled Albert Handell Workshop (link to come as soon as it goes live in the next few days).