Art collecting is seen as an exclusive fiefdom for millionaires, and if we look back, we will see that for a good part of its history it has been like that: a luxury only within the reach of monarchs and proxies. However, over the last two centuries, the art world has undergone a significant evolution, knowing how to leave the courts to exhibit itself publicly in galleries, art fairs and museums.
New figures have taken the lead, such as the art dealer, the private collector, the gallery owner… Information and artistic production have multiplied, and having an original work at home is no longer a privilege reserved for a few. The world of art has become more democratic. So, if it’s no longer a question of power or wealth, what are the requirements to start collecting art?
Training, information and observation: take advantage of everything around you
You don’t have to have a fine arts or history degree under your arm to start collecting art, as there are numerous options with which you can acquire the necessary knowledge; what is needed is interest and time. The amount of resources available on the Internet – in galleries, specialized blogs, magazines or online art auction sites – will help you start to understand the world of art and its dynamics.
You can start by visiting the websites of Spain’s most important museums and collections, such as the Reina Sofía Museum, the Prado Museum, the Guggenheim Museum… and researching their works.
Before starting your collection, get to know the main formats, techniques, currents and schools, get to know their representatives, their history, their works… It is essential that you are able to distinguish the different painting styles and that you become familiar with their philosophical approaches, as all this information will be essential for you to be able to direct your experience as an art collector.
Apply what you have learned on the web by browsing museums, galleries or online art auctions and attending conferences, exhibitions and fairs. As an art collector, you’ll need to keep up with the latest artistic developments, so there will be events you can’t miss, such as the ARCOMadrid Contemporary Art Fair or the internationally coveted Art Basel.
These are just some of the most popular events, although you will find a wide range of exhibitions and galleries by searching on the Internet; choose the ones that interest you most and fill in all the gaps in your agenda, so you can keep up to date with the latest trends and meet interesting people who will help to enrich your career as an art collector.
Little by little, you will educate your eyes, learn to value the works and learn to know what you like and what you don’t.
Passion and Commitment Art buyer or art collector?
Obviously, to do all this you have to like art and the art world. Being an art collector is not an outfit you can dress up in one moment and then leave in the closet until the next occasion. Art collecting is a way of life, and as such it requires perseverance and dedication.
Keeping up to date with the evolution of artists, collections and trends is not possible if you only visit one exhibition fair a year. It has to become part of your daily life, taking shape in the publications you read, in your forms of leisure, in your conversations and in your social relationships. And such a commitment can only be maintained through a passion for art.
Starting an art collection is a vital experience of continuous learning, a journey full of experiences, discoveries and people who end up creating a representation of the collector himself, of a part or facet of himself. In this way, art collecting is a personal attitude born from the collector himself and his way of committing himself to art: to understand it and live it.