How to Collect Art

For some, the idea of buying art and building a collection can seem intimidating.  But it shouldn’t be. Read on as you learn how one enthusiastic collector built her collection and how one special painting ended up being aired on the PBS program the Antiques Roadshow.

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First let me ask you; do you think you can be a collector of art? Of course you can! Do you know what foods you like to eat and which ones you don’t like? Do you know what kind of movies you want to see? What about your clothes; do you like certain styles and colors to wear, while others you wouldn’t be caught dead in?

 
If you know the answer to those questions then you already possess the top requirement of how to collect art and that’s being true to your taste. If you’re not sure what your taste is, then it’s not difficult to learn what your taste in art is. For starters you can visit various galleries, art fairs, antique malls, look at artist websites and check out good art books and periodicals at the library. Take note of what art works appeal to you most. Likely a pattern will develop and soon you will begin to understand your taste in art. It could be eclectic or narrower such as in a particular style or genre. You start by purchasing art you like and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break the bank. You can start small. There’s a lot of very good art at reasonable prices. You can even start a savings fund just for art purchases.

 
However, buying art to simply fill a void on an empty wall or to compliment ones decor isn’t the same as being a collector although a collection of art can still fill those roles. Like most things that are collected they tend to have a theme of sorts and consideration is given in how a potential work of art fits into the overall theme. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have variety. You may also have different rooms in your home dedicated to art around a different theme. So buying isn’t just random, but purposeful. Even if a work doesn’t fit your theme, but you still love it anyway, go ahead and buy it. There’s no art police who will come and arrest you.
Through my eBay sales of my own art I met a collector who I’ll call Janette for privacy reasons. I’ll use her example of how to collect art.

 
Regarding her collection of oil paintings she said: “I have collected forty plus vintage Texas oil paintings, by the old vintage artists. My house has no, absolutely no, wall space left. Paintings are hung gallery style, one on top of another. I love them. All are wonderful works, in my opinion. In my home office alone I have 22 paintings and other rooms have the Texas lupine in abundance as well. One daughter thinks that I have ‘too much’ art. However, it has not deterred my collecting. And the beauty of it all is that my collection is for my enjoyment. And I do enjoy it. Some days I look at one or another, and I think and appreciate it, separate from all the rest.’

 

Some have some interesting stories. I have an 8 X 10 painting of the Alamo in San Antonio Texas. When I saw it come up on eBay, I went aggressively for it. It was painted by a Doctor, possibly in Corpus Christi in 1930!  The Alamo in 1930!

 

I believe that as a collector, I gather paintings that have a message to me. I enjoy them. Their dollar value and worth is not the emphasis, for me. Their message, their beauty and often times their age, is of most interest for my collection.”

 

Janette also related another story about one special work in her collection.

 

Around 1937 her Grandmother wanted to give a lovely old friend of hers a Texas bluebonnet painting. The old woman was a world traveler, even in those early days. She had come to Texas to visit her Grandmother. The old woman saw beauty everywhere and was especially fond of the bluebonnets.

 

Janette’s Grandmother made a day long trip to San Antonio to search for a painting to give as a gift. Evidently her Grandmother had a very good “eye,” for she selected a painting by a rather unknown painter from San Antonio and at that time probably spent about $25 for it. She sent the painting to the old woman in Illinois. After the death of her Grandmother’s friend, the family returned the painting still in its original frame that had been gifted and it has been in Janette’s collection ever since.

When the popular PBS television program, The Antique Roadshow was in Corpus Christi, TX Janette’s daughter took it there to have it appraised. They knew it had value but were astounded when it was appraised for $10,000.00 – $18,000.00

 

The painting was by famed Texas painter Porfirio Salinas. Click image for a larger view.

Bluebonnet oil painting by Porfirio Salinas

Bluebonnet oil painting by Porfirio Salinas

 

That episode of the Antiques Roadshow was originally aired January 21, 2013. You can watch the full video or read the transcript of the appraisal from the show’s archive.
Janette collected art that she loves with a theme around vintage Texas artists and living artists whose works fit well into the collection. Some have histories with interesting anecdotes, so be sure to write those stories down and keep them with the works.

 

And what does Janette think about my own Texas art works? She said: “My regret is that I had not found YOU and your wonderful style and talent sooner. I love, love, love all of your paintings that I have seen. You are blessed. Perhaps, perhaps…if I can gather the coinage necessary….and find a blank spot on a wall…or move some around, perhaps someday I might have a Hagerman also.” Happy to say Janette has been bidding on my eBay works and I’m so honored!

 

If you feel the same as Janette about my work and you too would like to start a collection this way or add to an existing one you can access my eBay profile at http://ebay.com/usr/hagermanart

 

If I have something currently listed it will be shown there. Alternatively you can also become a follower on eBay. Simply click the green follow button next to my profile picture. I also do commission work in both my realistic and impressionist style.
So what do you do when you’re collection starts growing and you have limited space? This other article on How to Display Paintings Gallery Style show some of Janette’s collection and how even when wall space is limited, you can still have an abundance of art using this technique.

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2 thoughts on “How to Collect Art

  1. Janette

    Hi William,
    My heart is racing with excitement! Your article is beautifully well done.

    Janette encourages collecting of art. I shall follow her suggestion and continue to enjoy the work of the talented and blessed! And I think that I shall endeavor to move paintings, group paintings, making room for more , more and more……paintings! Surely soon, a HAGERMAN!

    I am honored by your article. I have sent it to others, with an observation that, as is the appreciated name of Porfirio Salinas, so is the name of William Hagerman!

    With respect for the beauty captured with oils on canvas, by the hands of a blessed Artist, we are able to be in the company of a great artist, of our time, right now. We can appreciate the artistic talent of a blessed man, William Hagerman. The value of his paintings now are affordable, however the future value may not be, for doubtless they will greatly increase in value. Investing now, enjoying through time and then who can even guess at what your value will be in the future. We collect to enjoy. Investing is another side to collecting. Combine the two and enjoy your HAGERMAN painting….now!

    Sincerely,
    “Janette”

    Reply
    1. whartist Post author

      Janette,
      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story and telling us about your art collection. I’m happy you were honored by the article and my hope is that others too will be inspired to try out collecting art as well and will experience the same enthusiasm and joy as you have for your collection of paintings.

      Reply

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