Buying a new artwork is always a heady and exciting experience, from your first piece to your one hundred and first. However, no matter how experienced you are there’s always a lot to consider when making a purchase – especially when large sums of money are involved.

Whether you love browsing galleries or hunting down rare finds online, here are some of our top tips, things to look out for and considerations to bear in mind for every collector – from first-timers to experts.

When Buying Your First Piece

  • Know your own tastes – After you make the decision to start your art collection, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of beginning your search, the buzz around certain artists and the opinions of everyone else – experts or otherwise! Don’t get lured into making a purchase based solely on recommendations, price or trendiness. Take time to think about the sort of art you love, what makes you feel connected to a piece, and what you like to look at. A good collection starter should also be an investment if possible, but don’t let this lead you into buying something you don’t actually like. Visit galleries and look at collections online to get an idea of the sort of art that moves you or that you feel a connection to. This will all help you to get a better idea of what you’re looking for.
  • Make sure it’s a good fit – Many first-time buyers fall in love with a piece of art and buy it without thinking about how or where it will fit into their home! We’re all for love at first sight, but remember the practicalities… Will the piece physically fit where you want to display it? Will the colours and materials fit in with your interior décor?
  • Stick to your budget – Budgeting is always a good idea, whatever you’re buying, but it’s even more important when it comes to art. Especially if an emotional connection with a piece leaves you tempted to shell out more than you can afford. Sticking to a solid budget will stop you straying into dangerous territory!
  • Remember hidden costs – Budgeting is even more important when you take into account the other costs that come with buying art. Extra costs to consider include packing, shipping, insurance and installation – all things you should keep in mind when setting your budget.
  • Don’t rush it! – Most importantly, don’t rush into making a purchase. Don’t let yourself be talked into a quick sale, whether by a seller or anyone else giving you advice. If you’re not sure about a piece of art, think about why that is and whether you’ll really want to be looking at it in five or ten years’ time. Great collections take time and careful consideration, so take it slow and choose wisely!

When Buying in General

  • Choose content well – Talking of choosing wisely, many buyers – whether experienced or not – often don’t think about how the content of their collections will affect the mood and atmosphere of their home. All good art should be affecting, but it can be easy to be captivated by the power of art with darker themes without considering how it will feel to see the piece on a daily basis. Of course, this comes down entirely to your own unique tastes, but if a piece intrigues you, inspires you, excites you, captivates you and leaves you thinking about it and wanting to see it again, this is often a good sign.
  • Do your research – If you’ve fallen in love with a piece, it can be tempting to make the purchase without conducting the proper research – especially if you’re buying from a seller you already know. No matter who or where you’re buying from, always research the piece (and the seller, if they’re new to you). Ask your seller about the history and provenance of the piece and check its condition and authenticity. If you’re buying online, the gallery or seller should be able to provide you with condition reports and certificates of authenticity on request. Research the seller’s terms and conditions to make sure you don’t get caught out by any insurance or ownership issues.

When Buying from a New or Unknown Artist

  • Check out their background – If you’ve discovered a new artist you love, it’s always a good idea to look into their background. Check where they’ve exhibited before and what their work normally sells for, as this can give you a better idea of their potential for popularity and value growth.
  • Look for quality – When purchasing art from a new or little-known artist, it’s important to make sure the piece is made using quality materials. Poor materials will not age well and can lead to deterioration and depreciation.
  • Look for originality – Perhaps most importantly, make sure their style is their own. This can be part of your background research. Take a look at their other pieces and assess whether their style has fully developed or whether it might be worth waiting for later pieces. Make sure the creator isn’t simply imitating another artist or movement.

Go For It!

Once you’ve taken these things into consideration, it’s time to go ahead and start or add to your collection. If you’d like any recommendations or expert one-to-one advice on making a purchase, why not open a My Trinity account and start researching, organising and sharing your favourite works of art now.