How to collect and buy vintage and antique art
Anyone can buy and collect art. No previous knowledge of the art business, experience collecting art or degrees in art history is necessary. All you need is a love and appreciation of fine art, a desire to collect, and a willingness to familiarize yourself with a few simple techniques that will allow you to assess and evaluate any work of art dating from any time period by any artist of any nationality. See what Antique Allure, in Southampton PA, has in stock that may fit your collecting needs!
There is no right or wrong art and there is no right or wrong way to buy or collect art. Anyone can collect whatever they feel like collecting or buy whatever they feel like buying. If you see a piece of art that you like, a painting, sculpture, print, etc., begin your decision making by asking and answering four basic questions:
- Who is the artist?
- How significant is the art?
- What is the art’s provenance, history, and documentation?
- Is the asking price fair?
Let’s break this down.
Who is the artist?
For the answer to this, you rely on two basic sources of information, spoken and written. The spoken part comes from the dealer selling the art. Printed information comes from a variety of places including websites, catalogues, reference books as well as signature on the piece. Read up on the artist you are interested in. It doesn’t matter if the artist is significant, if you like the piece that’s all that matters. The information you are trying to collect about the artist will determine its value.
How important is the art?
This question is answered by looking at as much art by the artist as possible, familiarizing yourself with the range of that art, and learning how to cross-compare the art you’re interested in with other art by the artist. Knowing the full range of an artist’s work helps you to better understand each individual piece in its proper context. Thoroughly inspect the art you’re interested in. In addition to the front, look at the back, sides, edges, signatures, any writing that’s on it, any labels or stickers, frames, construction, everything. Have the seller explain all of it.
Ask the seller whether the art is original or reproduced. This is important to know especially with limited edition prints. Many limited-edition works of art are little more than digital or photo-reproduced copies of originals that are printed not by the artist but by the digital printers or commercial publishing companies. Many signed and numbered prints fall into this category. Lastly, make sure the piece is in good condition.
What is the art’s provenance, history, and documentation?
Assemble all information about the specific piece of art that you’re thinking about buying. You do this because good documentation and provenance increase a work of art’s collectability, desirability, market value, and most importantly, conclusively proves it’s by the artist whose signature it bears.
Is the asking price fair?
If you are still interested in the art now comes the time to talk money. What you want to know is whether it’s priced fairly for today’s market value. It’s a question that must be evaluated because, like any other good or services, art can sometimes be overpriced. You will need to do a little research on your own at this point as well as asking the seller why it is priced as it is.
Buying art intelligently becomes second nature once you get good at it. Once you get the hang of it, your quest for knowledge turns into exciting detective work and so much of what you discover is always rewarding. All that’s required to buy art is a desire to own it and to buy like an experienced collector, even if you aren’t.