Do you know how art experts and famous art collectors buy their art?
Talking about this, famous American art dealer and film producer Barbara Gladstone has once said, “Art is an intellectual pursuit. It is not a handbag, it is not a chair, and it is something else. So it is necessary to think, to ask questions and to understand.”
According to new generation contemporary Indian artist, Shantala Palat, art collection is a challenging and rigorous intellectual endeavour that requires passion and dedication. While every successful collector has his or her own method, there seem to be certain tried and tested strategies and attitudes that successful collectors have adopted. These are:
1. Firstly, art should be used to constantly challenge you. While it is important to know one’s own personal taste and preference, keeping an open mind to new artists and new ideas is also essential. Some collectors adhere to strict guidelines when building their collection, only buying works from specific artists or time periods. In this case, collectors may be sacrificing dynamism for consistency.
2. Secondly, contemporary art is unique because it is constantly being created and produced. A collector could research emerging artists. Unlike collecting the works of the Impressionists or Old Masters, contemporary art allows collectors to have a dialogue and relationship with the artist. These conversations can help the buyer understand the mind of the artist and can anticipate the future potentiality of the artist too.
3. Thirdly, avoid artists who borrow heavily (never say copy) from the styles of celebrated artists. We've already had Manjeet Bawa; a substandard Bawa will never gain much respect or value. Hence focus on quality, look for high standards of draughtsmanship and painting. Remember, high quality has its important place in terms of price and value.
4. Once you have found the painting you love, ask for a detailed description. Provenance is an important aspect of the art market. For this reason, it is worth collecting, in writing if possible, as much anecdotal information about the work: Whose portrait is it of? Where and when was this landscape painted? Where did the artist study? Where and which kind of exhibitions has the artist held etc?