Tips for Collecting Art for Profit and Pleasure (6 Part Series) Part 4: Get to Know the Art Market

The great collectors know the market and the market knows them. They are connected to the grapevine and are among the first to know when a select work is available. They are active in finding quality pieces to add to their collection, so they let it be known that they want to be kept informed.

Cultivate relationships with good distributors

Did you know that not all newly available art is on display in galleries, either
Brick and mortar or online? Very often the best items are offered and sold at
favored customers without any advertising or exposure. The most wanted pieces
they often exchange hands in private.

Find out who the good distributors are and cultivate a relationship with them. Leave them
know what you like, what your preferences are and what kind of budget you have.
Distributors naturally like to cultivate loyalty, so they tend to book preferential
treat your best customers.

Let the dealer know that you are a good candidate for this special treatment. Be
responsive when the dealer contacts you. If you trust the dealer and he or she offers you
a work of art that meets your specifications and your budget, accept it with
minimal negotiation. Avoid haggling just to get a lower price.
Dealers find this annoying. Of course, if you have a valid reason for requesting a
lower price, then tell the dealer.

Do your part to be a good customer and the favor will come your way.


Now, what about buying at auctions? Auctions can be a lot of fun and you can pay
less than retail prices, but to make truly worthwhile purchases, you must make
your homework. Be particular about the auctions you sponsor. Many auctions offer
inferior or worse, problematic parts that are not worth bidding on.

You should be especially careful with charity auctions; people who donate to such
events often do so for social or fiscal reasons. In other words, charity auctions can be
a dumping ground for inferior art. If you were a distributor, would you make a very large donation?
Marketable art that can easily fetch a good price at a charity auction? you d
you are probably more willing to part with art that is unpopular, flawed, minor, and so

A red flag is the price. If something seems like an incredible bargain, too good
to be true, it probably is. Good quality collectible art will have many suitors, so
will tend to chase the price up.

The auctions most likely to produce valuable finds are those featuring art owned by
prestigious entities such as museums and other institutions, respected artists,
collectors and galleries. These bodies sometimes do a kind of “spring cleaning” to
Focus on your main interests or collections. In the process, they may actually let go
of some great art, simply because it doesn’t fit in with their long-term plans.

Once you’ve spotted something that interests you, the same art acquisition rules apply.
apply. Find out as much as you can about the part and check its condition before
auction begins. If it meets your criteria, you can proceed to make an offer.

Online shopping

With the advent of the Internet, today anyone can be an armchair collector. For
convenience and choice, the internet is hard to beat. With just a few keystrokes, you
you can view art in the comfort of your home and find out everything you need about a
Known artist and his artwork. Try this, for example:

Of course, the Internet has its dangers, just like the ‘real’ world. if you are thinking about
When purchasing art over the Internet, check to see if the online dealer:

  • is credited by the artist(s)
  • specializes in a certain genre or artist (this reflects experience)
  • runs a proper and professional website, with all the necessary information
  • provide contact details (test by calling or emailing)
  • is transparent about costs
  • ensures all parts are covered by insurance
  • has a return/refund policy
  • has a secure online transaction system

As for conventional distributors, it is possible to establish a “favored customer”

relationship with an Internet distributor. Send in your sensors and tell the dealer

what do you like.