How to Start Your Art Collection

The thought of being an art collector may not have been a consideration in the past. Perhaps you enjoy artwork, maybe you purchased a new house or apartment and want to decorate with something original, or may have even read something online about art being inspirational. No matter how you arrived at this state, you are considering becoming an art collector. Whether this is the first time you bought anything artistic or the first time you bought art of real value, you want to be sure to approach this new endeavor armed with knowledge to do so successfully.

There are several key pieces of advice to take with you when you begin your journey of collecting art. In a world where there are few hard and fast rules, having a general guide will give you some confidence when rubbing elbows with those who have collected for years and present a decided advantage. Consider these your framework for entry into the “art world”:

Follow Your Eye (and Heart)

You are buying a piece (or pieces) of artwork which you want to own and display, either at your home or business. First and foremost, you need to enjoy the art. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider researching genres, mediums, and artists online that you feel connected to. You need to want to look at it! Have a location in mind of where you are going to place any piece you purchase; you want to protect your investment from premature aging due to inhospitable conditions, so think about light, humidity, and temperature of the place intend on putting your new art.

Visiting several museums and galleries will help you decipher a theme or style that you are drawn to. Don’t try to find out what’s currently popular if it does not appeal to you. You will start to discover a common thread of what attracts you, and skilled gallerists will be able to share other similar pieces to you, helping you to cultivate your own tastes.


You need to know your budget. Yes, you will find pieces that are way outside of what you intend to spend. Keep looking; you will surely find something that speaks to your heart and your wallet. Keep in mind quality over quantity. Buy a few smaller pieces of high quality rather than many (or large) pieces which have no lasting value.

If you are on a strict budget, immerse yourself in the search for art that fits your eye and your budget. Research online, search for pieces, and even bargain with sellers on the price. One place to research is for comparison shopping.

Keep in mind, you might be competing against experienced (and wealthier) investors, so if you really love a piece, you may not always get it as cheaply as you would like.

Be sure to visit art and charity auctions when the opportunity arises. This can be a place to find good deals on established artists’ work. Also, by sticking to reputable galleries you trust, you build a relationship and gain mutual respect. This can lead to exclusive viewing opportunities and (sometimes) discounts on artwork.

Art Experts

There is no need to travel this road alone. By listening to conversations at galleries and museums, joining art groups like a young collectors’ club, you have more opportunities to learn from experienced collectors.

If you are buying an expensive piece initially or just unsure of yourself, consider hiring a professional art advisor. He or she can walk you through your first purchase, show you some scenarios, give some advice, and allow your first major experience to be a good one. Sybaris Collection offers art advisory services to give new collectors a great start to building their collections.

Gallerists can be a great resource. Not only do they understand art, they talk with collectors and artists themselves. They are a wealth of information and love to share their stories with new art enthusiasts. Let them show you details to look for, shows and fairs to attend, and are driven to create a business relationship with you, a potential regular customer.

Online Resources

There is a ton of art and art information online. Use your time at home to browse online art galleries, read about art, and connect on social media with other art enthusiasts. Even big-name brick-and-mortar art sellers like Christie’s and Sotheby’s have online stores, and it costs nothing to look around at what’s for sale and recently sold. With the growth of the online art market, you can cultivate your skills, tastes, and buying relationship with online retailers.

At Sybaris Collection, we strive to provide collectors with a glimpse of unique and inspiring artwork discovered around the world, by both emerging and established artists. Let us help you cultivate your taste and find treasures that speak to you, no matter your style, genre or medium. When looking for an exclusive selection, we offer a private Join the ARTclub for those with distinguishing taste.

Never Fear      

Art collecting is an enjoyable and challenging activity which will grow with experience and skill. By networking with other collectors, gallerists, sellers, and even professional art advisors, you will learn how to build a collection you can be proud to share with others.

One last note: Be sure to document your purchase. You may need a paper trail for appraisals or selling later.