June 24, 2021

Six Steps to Build a Successful Art Collection

Establish your taste 

This is the first and most important step in building your art collection. Your personal taste is unique to you and will invariably change and evolve over time, moving into new and possibly unexpected territories. The diversity of the art market may be intimidating at first so research will be key in helping you find what works for you. The process of familiarising yourself with new artists, mediums and movements might take time, but your tastes will soon start to take form. 

‘Only buy art you love’

At Artwide, we completely agree with these wise words of British artist Peter Liversidge, and it’s true, why wouldn’t you buy art that you love? As you continue to establish your tastes, be bold in your decision-making, and remember, there’s nothing wrong with challenging contemporary trends of collecting. The more you love the artworks you buy, the more your collection will represent you.

Create a strategy

Create a collecting strategy that works for you and set long-term goals that can be reached over time. The key cornerstones of your strategy should take into account the speed at which you will collect, your budget, and the direction you intend your collection to take. 

Collection strategies are rarely the same, as every collector has their own motivations and goals, so it’s important to find a strategy that’s right for you. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Peggy Guggenheim decided to buy a painting a day during her year in Paris. During this year, Guggenheim spent roughly £40,000, amassing the bulk of what is now the permanent collection at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice. Thirty-six years later in 1979, Guggenheim’s collection was valued at $40 million, a one-hundred-thousand percent increase in its original value. 

Stay active 

Establishing a collection is a gradual process that can often take many years, so it’s important to stay active. The art market functions at a high pace and is continuously evolving, so it’s key to keep an eye out for new artists and works that have re-emerged on the market. 

Presenting your collection 

Presentation is essential for bringing your collection together, and if curated thoughtfully, will enhance the function and role of your works. Galleries and collectors will often employ curators to bring a body of work together, displaying them from a fresh vantage. Curation should raise questions, either directly or indirectly, and present art in the way that best exhibits the work. The curation and presentation of your collection should be sensitive to the individual requirements of your art as well as their collective needs. 

It’s important to remember that the presentation of your collection will affect the way your art is viewed and understood by others, so be sure to think about how your works interact with the space and each other.

Zhou Chong, a restaurant owner, entrepreneur and emerging collector in the Chinese art scene has amassed an important collection of over 150 works of art. In an interview in 2015, the Shanghainese collector stated that ‘there is nowhere else I would want to put my collection other than my restaurant’. Zhou’s belief in public access to his collection was largely responsible for his launch of “Art Project CZ” which hosts events and exhibitions across a range of unconventional locations. 

Caring for your collection

The care of your collection is important for maintaining both the quality and value of your art. When purchasing an artwork, it’s essential that you understand how to care for and preserve the work. 

Framing, lighting, temperature and humidity, and exposure to environmental elements are just a few factors to be aware of. 

And lastly… Remember, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ way of collecting art, so take your time to figure out what works best for you.

Written by
Miles Knapp
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