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How does one buy the right piece of art?

Dated: 11-10-2006
Source: Times of India



Have you been avoiding purchasing art even though you love it, appreciate it and are moved by it? The reason, perhaps, could be because you don’t know how to identify the correct piece of art. But buying art is not as tough as one thinks it is. There are certain rules to be followed after which you could end up with the correct piece of art.

The first rule is to do your homework. Read a little about art before going out and buying some, talk to people who you know are experienced buyers and who can be trusted. Further, constantly looking at art and appreciating it only makes you more well versed. Practice makes perfect, remember? This way, you will understand the difference between the good and the bad. Here’s a secret tip: Cliches that exist in plenty of art. The usage of thrilling technique as the basis for artistic merit. But an image must exist beyond technique. There is no true originality in the world, in both a work of art and in viewing.

Trust your own taste. There are a variety of styles and a multitude of subjects. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
  • Does the work of art speak to you?
  • Are you moved? Does it make you happy? Sad?
  • Do you want to wake up each morning to the art?
  • Does the work uplift you or does it serve its purpose (for example, as a piece of decoration)?

Next, never buy art for the sake of investment. This is the most important rule. While some staunchly believe that it’s not good for your soul to think of money when buying art. Of course, if the piece of work you’ve bought appreciates, then you know you’ve made the right decision. But remember: 99 percent of all art does not appreciate. In fact, most reduce in value the minute you walk out of the gallery. Dealers claim that they take 30-50 percent. The art market wavers as any other market. A dealer who sold you something will not not take it back five years later. There is new work by the artist to sell and no one wants to deal with older works unless the artist has appreciated in value.

           

On the other hand, while you should not think investment, you must think value. In today’s world, it’s easy to be ripped off.

           

Which is why you must buy art from reputable dealers and gallerists. The question is: How do you know who to trust? That you will know by the caliber of the artist they represent or if they are selling ‘Limited Edition Prints’! They are nothing but overpriced, signed posters. Avoid those who speak of ‘investment’!



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