Some basic advice for new art collectors/new collections.

The first thing is, to educate yourself about the area or areas you want to collect in, and not just read one book, but do it in-depth, become a scholar. Otherwise, expect to get burned if you do it alone and with limited education about what you are interested in. It is when a “collector” gets lazy or when they find that they think they know enough that they will get caught by a shyster. Ego gets in the way much more than you think it does, “because I have studied enough already!” There is really never “enough”, because the fakers and fraudsters are aways trying to stay one step ahead of the art historians and especially the uneducated public.  The one thing that you must be exceptionally careful about and understand is that this industry has more conmen/conwomen in it than there are honest people! I hate to say it, but it is true, and you must get it – so only work with people who have stellar reputations and/or have been recommended to you by people you truly know and trust. Be careful every time you buy!

At the beginning you really should use a consultant to work with OTHER than the dealer themselves – dealers have a distinct interest – their own, no matter how friendly and helpful they are. Here is a small example of this, I had a friend refer his father-in-law to me because he wanted to start collecting art and had thought he found a little gold mine in a shop north of the Twin Cities. My friend convinced him to consult with me, and he did. Of the 6 “Fine Art Prints”, 2 x Picasso, 2 x Chagall and 2 x Warhol, all moderate sized, 3 were fake and he did not want to spend the money on the Warhols to have them authenticated appropriately, to which I told him I would have to err on the side of them being forgeries based on the fact that I had two Warhol experts both say they thought they were fakes! Only 1 Picasso was real! I saved him over $14,000.00 USD because he knew enough to know he needed help because he was new to collecting! A good consultant will be happy to teach you and help you head off on your own way. This in turn will allow you to create trust in them so that in the future, if you are not sure, you will always have them to contact and work with again – for which they will be very happy to have the repeat business and trust. Good luck.

3 thoughts on “Some basic advice for new art collectors/new collections.

  1. Alaine Apap Bologna says:

    Hi Greg, I thought I’d ‘Google’ you.
    I couldn’t agree with you more! I lately had to console an ex-client about his acquisition of a total fake-he paid something like € 4,000 for a “Maltese” dish chased on an Asian piece of…. He thought he knew it all, and never bothered to listen to what I was telling him.(Had it been “right” it would have been worth in the region of @ 12,000)
    Look forward to reading you about Asian Art
    Alaine Apap Bologna

    • Alaine Apap Bologna,

      Thanks for your agreement, story and support! It is sad that for some reasons a lot of people think they can just jump into the art industry, when it simply is not that easy. I wish I could wake more people up and have them ask me for help BEFORE they start buying. Yes, indeed to would be good for my business, but, this happens ALL the time out there. And, for some reasons people will listen to a dealer who only has their own self-interests, instead of asking an expert who only has the buyers interests in mind. Not only can I help to save people a lot of money making mistakes, but, I can help to teach them while they hire me to help them, so they can go off on their own once they are ready to make these kinds of decisions on their own. I hope you are well. Sincerely, Greg.

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