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My Art Colelction - Art Collection / Art Collecting Fundamentails Tutorial

Art Collecting Fundamentals


Jamie David

    |   Art Collection Management Software for Mac, Windows, and iOS

Preface - Welcome to the Club

For many of us art is essential to our quality of life. As for me, I've been attracted to art for as long as I can remember. Color catches my eye first, then form, and at that point I take in the different ways artists see things. Read More...

Chapter 1 - Collectors and Collections

There was a time when collecting art was solely the province of princes and kings and lords of the church—only the aristocracy need apply. Mid-19th century America changed all that. Among the merely super rich, collecting art came into vogue. Collecting was not based on need but on desire. These collectors were not so crude as to collect art for money, but status and the guilty pleasure of mingling with "bohemians" were surely involved. As a result, museums mushroomed in growth in the 1870's, enriched with the treasures of the wealthy collectors of the time. Read More...

Chapter 2 - The First Steps to Collecting

The first and most important step to take on the road to building your collection is to find out what you like. This may seem like an easy matter for attraction is visceral, you like it or you don't, you feel it in your gut. However, there is more to it than that. To become discriminating in your tastes you must experience what is out there, expose your eye to the myriad ways people see the world and express their creativity. That way you hone in on what really reaches your core. Read More...

Chapter 3 - The Vocabulary of Art

Knowledge of the language of art is essential for a collector. It is part of becoming conversant and establishing credibility. As you learn the terminology, a quick sketch of the history of art and a primer on graphics will emerge— both effective tools in building your understanding and appreciation. Read More...

Chapter 4 - Sculpture

Sculpture dates back to prehistoric times and may even pre-date cave painting. Thousands of years ago, ancient man created carvings of female fertility figures in stone and ivory. Like the paintings on cave walls the figures were very stylized and look to our eyes, primitive and yet modern. Read More...

Chapter 5 - Where to Acquire Art

You've visited the vast store of riches museums have to offer, wandered through numerous art galleries, perhaps taken an art history course or two and you've gotten a handle on the type of work that speaks to you. You're ready to take the plunge. Now the question is: where do you buy? Let's examine your options.

Chapter 6 - Things to Beware of

The title of this section is not meant to frighten you. If you break down the word "beware" it simply means to be aware and implies caution. Yes, there are pitfalls out there and you don't want to make costly mistakes, but if you've done your homework, your browsing, and know what you like and can afford, go forth with confidence. Read More...

Chapter 7 - The Price of Art

This is every collector's big concern: How can you be certain you are paying a fair price for a piece of art? The pricing of art can be as subjective as taste. Artists may ask themselves, what amount will make it worthwhile for me to part with this piece? The art gallery may ask, what must the art cost to make it deserving of wall space? It is up to you to determine for yourself if a piece is worth the asking price. This isn't easy because there is no established, agreed-upon price for every painting, print or sculpture. Read More...

Chapter 8 - Documentation

When a southern California woman purchased a paint-splattered canvas for $5 in a thrift shop over ten years ago, her friend who was an art teacher told her it looked like a Jackson Pollock. It seems Jackson Pollock had a brother who lived in the area and he may have given away some of the artist's work. Read More...

Chapter 9 - Commissioning a Work of Art

To commission a work of art means to contract an artist to create something unique just for you. Perhaps you've fallen in love with an artist's style but none of the available pieces are the right size. Maybe you want a specific subject depicted or have particular colors in mind. It could be that you envision a mural on a wall of your new home. By commissioning a work of art, you get, or should get, exactly what you want, right? Yes, but within reason. Remember, you are not the artist. Read More...

Chapter 10 - Art as Investment

The single most important thing to remember when discussing the subject of investment in art is that no one can ever promise an increase in value. There is no crystal ball to foresee what the value of any work will be in the future. Read More...

Chapter 11 - The Display and Care of Your Collection

Congratulations! You've gotten your feet wet and purchased a real piece of fine art. It cost a significant amount of your hard earned money. To display and protect the art it has to be framed. There's a frame shop in the mall close to your house. Why not go there? It'll be convenient.

Wait. It's not quite that simple (of course).

Chapter 12 - Parting With Your Collection

Let's say your tastes have changed and you want to shift the direction of your collection. You have limited room in your home. You've bought for investment and the art market is favorable. Maybe you simply need the money. For whatever reason, you've decided it's time to part with your collection. How do you go about it? Read More...

Chapter 13 - The Adventure Begins

The collector's journey is marked by serendipitous delights. You may proceed with confidence, knowing you have what it takes to build your collection. The most important thing to take away from this treatise is—let your taste be your guide. Be assured that as you educate yourself through observation and study, your taste will grow and evolve. Read More...


Many thanks to my husband Ralph for his support, technical and otherwise.

And thank you to Patrick Robinson, Director of Hana Coast Gallery, for generously sharing his knowledge.


Canaday, John, Mainstreams of Modern Art, Simon and Schuster, 1959

Cohen, Rebecca S., They Knew What They Liked, Austin Chronicle, 1997

David, Joshua, Is This a Real Jackson Pollock?, Wired, July 2003

Green, Samuel M., American Art - A Historical Survey, The Ronald Press Company, 1966

Evans, Marion Boddy, Painting, About, Inc. (website) , 2003

Frank, Jeanne, Discovering Art, Thunder's Mouth Press, 1997

Norton Simon Biography, Norton Simon Museum Website, 2003

Robinson, Patrick, The Art of Buying Fine Art, Hana Coast Gallery Website, 2003

Saarinen, Aline B., The Proud Possessors, Random House, 1958