Do your research. Become informed by utilizing museums, galleries, auction houses, other collectors, art books & websites. What is the state of the current art scene? Allow yourself to form opinions but don’t be too quick to judge. Learn the art of discernment, which does not judge. The bottom line must be what lights you up, so even if your investment doesn’t increase significantly over the years, you will still be happy with it being in your collection.
One important question is, are you looking to put together a cohesive collection or do you want to shoot from the hip and allow your collection to evolve over time, as a reflection of your eclectic and evolving tastes? Think twice about buying for a particular spot in your home or trying to match the sofa, etc. Your decor and address will change with the fashion, but the art in your collection will remain.
So be careful to avoid fashion trends. For instance, with notable exceptions, I have noticed over 35 years in the business that in down economies people tend to gravitate more to bright colors and fun, raw paintings, which express a longing for freedom and better days. When consumer confidence is higher, people come back to more serious classical idioms.
A word about branding
I have found collectors gravitate to a brand, when it comes to selecting artists. If an artist can do anything, they probably don’t have a significant contribution to make that distinguishes their brand from other artists. Artist hate this, of course, but as a collector, it’s important to know what you are collecting is part of an evolving body of work, created with authenticity and confidence by an artist who has a specific life mission.
If you want your collection to reflect your particular sensibility, you may want to establish some guidelines. Do you enjoy subjective or objective (abstract) art? Is there an historical period that appeals to you, perhaps a famous artist or movement from the past or present who inspires you? Are you interested in what is being done today, keeping in mind contemporary art is a far better value for the emerging collector? Will your collection focus on a particular region, idiom, movement, medium or subject? Do you prefer a certain genre, i.e. impressionism, expressionism, realism. Are you all about found-object art or the avant-garde? Or do your tastes more classical.
There are many ways to appreciate and determine quality in fine art. Keep in mind, art only speaks to you when you are quiet. That’s why art rarely sells in a nightclub. The impact of quality is often immediate. So trust your instincts. If an artwork calls out to you, listen for what it’s saying. Take it aside, spend some quality quiet time with it. Take action to hold the work until you can make a final decision. You may live to regret not acquiring a new treasure but rarely have I heard of a person who regretted owning a work of art they really love.
What to look for in a work of art
In addition to the emotional impact, there are other factors to take into consideration. Depending on the art work in question some are more important than others. What is the aesthetic and historical relevance? Aspects such as composition, color, surface, mannerliness (touch), expressiveness are very important in an abstract piece whereas narrative, subject, paint quality, light on form and draftsmanship might be more important in realism. Become acquainted with the jargon of art. Understand the difference and function of “decorative art” vs. “fine art.” Be sure you know the difference between an original and a “hand-touched” reproduction. There are no government regulations to prevent fraud in the art world. Be concerned about archival quality – will it stand up over time? Learn to recognize quality in all it’s aspects.
Value vs. Cost
The value of a work of art is not necessarily the same as it’s cost. As with any purchase the art consumer is looking for the value to be greater than the cost. Prices in art have come down considerably from the ’80’s. Art collectors are more savvy today, not as subject to hype and the empty promises of a huge trun-around of investment. Even though art collecting is still considered one of the best long term investments you can make it is unrealistic to buy art for the sole purpose of making a financial killing. The bottom line is this: is the personal satisfaction and value you will derive from owning the work of art worth the cost?
What makes for a good art investment?
In contemporary art (living artists), prices are determined by the quality of art, the stature of the artist (gallery/museum shows, notoriety, collections, provenance of works, etc) and the fair market value of his/her work. Emerging artists are a good long term investment if their work is of consistently high quality and if the artist has proven he/she is on a solid career track.
Try it out first! We are happy to come to your home or office, and consult with you about your collection as it relates to your environment, even hanging works of art that interest you for a 2-3 week trial.
Guaranteed Value Statement
The Maniscalco Gallery is pioneering a new concept in collecting art. As a way of standing behind our work and protecting and enhancing the value of their work to our collectors we are guaranteeing the value of each work of art sold at the Maniscalco Gallery:
Within one year of purchasing a work of art at the Maniscalco Gallery you have the option to trade up, applying the original cost you paid toward the acquisition of another work of art that is at least twice the price of the original work of art you purchased.
Now it is possible to upgrade or change out your collection at a later date without risking the devaluation of your current collection!