How To Buy Contemporary Art

While art buyers and contemporary art collectors are often stereotyped as being rich, affluent or oligarchs, anyone, regardless of expertise or budget can build a substantial and successful art collection. Whether it is for investment purposes, personal taste or to match interior design, collecting contemporary art can fun and fascinating and not as difficult to buy as you might think.

The golden rule of buying contemporary art

Before you begin building your art collection, it is essential to remember the golden rule of purchasing art. That is, simply, buy what you love.

It is crucial to remember that investing in art for profit is incredibly risky, and there is no guarantee that pieces of art will hold or increase their value. With this in mind, don’t get swept away with investment potential. Only buy contemporary art that you will be proud to own and display.

Before you buy

  • What appeals to you?

You can get ready to buy art by first determining what type of art appeals to you. Is there a specific media, message or style that you love? It may be that you want to support a particular artist or perhaps champion a certain demographic.

  • Do your homework

If you want to invest in art, then it can help to read up on what’s involved with art investments and whether it is right for you. There are lots of guides available which can help you build an art collection such as Saatchi’s Invest In Art guide.

  • Create a budget

…and stick to it. It can be easy to get swept up in the moment of an auction or during the fun of an exhibition. However, it is essential to align with your budget. Don’t spend more than you can afford.

Where to buy contemporary art

  • Online

For first-time art buyers, buying online is usually the less-daunting option. There is no pressure to buy when you browse art online. Furthermore, all of the prices are clearly displayed.

  • Art fairs

Art fairs are a great way to champion local artists and is a fantastic way to find affordable, high-quality art.

  • Direct from artists

If you buy direct from artists, you and the artist can save from hefty commissions that many galleries command.

Buying contemporary art: Dos and Don’ts

Do…Consider Prints – Limited edition prints can be more affordable than original pieces. Furthermore, prints can be rolled up to ship which can save money.

Don’t… Buy a print that is over 150 copies – Typically limited-edition prints should be less than fifty. It is best not to buy a print that is more than the 150th print because the plates deteriorate quickly and the quality after 150 will not be as good.

Do…Consider postcard art – Small pieces of art are often cheaper than larger pieces so it can be a great way to build your collection on a budget.

Don’t…Buy substandard – If an artist borrows heavily or copies other artist’s and their style, it is not worth investing in inferior versions.

Do…Ask for a detailed receipt – Provenance is key when it comes to an art collection. When buying, ask for a detailed receipt complete with as much anecdotal information as possible.

Don’t…forget to look for skill – Artwork that has interest, intrigue, skill and craftsmanship is unlikely to lose its value and will be well worth the money.