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Expert advice: Art school

Brushing up on art-collecting techniques.  

Whether you attribute Greek philosopher Plato or Irish novelist Margaret Hungerford to the famous proverb, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” the sentiment is still as artful. You might think your framed velvet Elvis hanging in your garage is the pièce de résistance, while others may break down in tears when viewing Vermeer’s “Young Woman with a Water Pitcher,” at the MET in NYC. Either way, people start collecting art when a painting, photograph or sculpture draws them in, and the way they collect art can become an art form in itself. Ben Whiteside of Red Piano Art Gallery offers these five strokes of genius for curating your own fine art collection.

1. Discover your favorite artists. Your response to any artwork is emotional. When you see a painting or bronze that you like, that piece is reaching out and speaking directly to you. You will remember the experience and the artist.

2. Find their gallery or dealer. As you discover the artist you like, how do you go about adding those artists to your fine-art collection? Typically, you find the gallery or dealer that represents the artist. Professional artists have full-time art dealers who represent their artwork. Most have several dealers who cover the country from coast to coast.

3. Collect a variety of their pieces. You have found an artist who appeals to you, found a dealer whom you trust and added one of their pieces to your collection. The goal is to have at least one piece representing the different subject matter this artist is best known for.

4. Take your time. Most collectors did not start to build a fine-art collection. Initially; they simply wanted some nice artwork for their new home. As they discovered the subject matter that appealed to them and the artists that they enjoy, the net result over time is a fine-art collection that represents their own taste and a financial asset as well.

5. Know its value. As collectors add to their collections over the years, especially with works by some of America’s best-known painters and sculptors, the art typically will enjoy some level of appreciation. More than likely, the individual pieces will not be less expensive to acquire in the future and more than likely will cost more. To this end, a professional appraisal is a good idea every three to five years.

Jane DeDecker – Waiting For Grandpa
Jonathan Green – Uncle Harry’s Farm Bus
Michael B. Karas – Sunbreak
Stephen Scott Young – The Blues
Jane DeDecker – Family Tree