For the Frugal Collector

Often the biggest patrons of the arts will be those who have disposable income and time to spend. But you don’t have to be wealthy to be an avid collector. A great example of two frugal collectors are Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Living in New York in the 1960s, Herb was a postal worker and a Dorthy a librarian, but over the course of fifty years, they amassed an impressive modern art collection. So, there is hope for all of us. Here are some general tips for how to build an art collection on a frugal budget.

Always follow your own instincts

Art collecting has an ethos that historical context and name-brand artists carry the most value, and while these pieces gain the most attraction (and cost), you should always center your art purchases on your own taste and preferences.

If you see something you like, buy it right away. Sometimes opportunities can be lost if you don’t think quickly and use your own judgement.

However, while it is important to use instinct in the moment, note that you should prepare for gallery visits or fairs by educating yourself on current trends and the art market. It is helpful to make the discovery of art news and history habitual to your life — keep art books on your bookshelves, and read websites like ArtForum regularly.

Invest in Emerging Artists

One of the most obvious ways to start a collection frugally is to take a risk in investing in a lesser-known artist. Herb and Dorthy Vogel did this back in Soho in the 1960s with artists like Sol Lewitt and Richard Tuttlel, and decades later found these pieces to be worth millions.

A good way to find upcoming artists is by attending MFA graduate school exhibitions, where you can support artists early in their career, as well as purchase a piece before they gain notoriety.

Before attending an exhibition, do some research to get an idea of art schools in your area, current students, and the work being done. This is how gallerists often scout out fresh talent too, so you will be on the vanguard of art world, and save money!

Become Friends with Art Professionals

Of course, an easy way to collect art affordably is to become friends with artists. This provides you with a different door to the art world: in a close relationship, you have the opportunity to become more fully immersed in an art community, and perhaps receive art pieces as gifts from friends.

Also, it is practical to seek out a relationship with an art advisor, who can assist you in finding the right pieces for your taste and budget. Having a trusted art advisor that knows your preferences and can navigate the art market will truly help guide your experience.

Reach out to us if you are looking for more tips on how to start a collection on a smaller income. We are here to help!

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