I recently came across a blog post about art collecting on the Invaluable blog, which you can find here. Celine Rabago makes good points about collecting art, and the most important is this: collect what you love. This is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Don’t buy art because it looks good with your couch, or you think it might be worth more someday. Buy art because it speaks to you.
The mother of a man who has some of my work hanging in his café owns one of my paintings. It’s a painting of an old woman raking leaves in front of a barn. Her dogs are lounging nearby. Every time I see this woman she makes a point of telling me how much she enjoys the painting and how she sees something new in it every time she looks at it. She has it hanging in a prominent place in her dining room where she can look at it when she has her meals. She is a collector who knows what she loves.
I’ve had a few collectors purchase art because they are interested in studying my painting technique. While they admire the painting and are happy to have it hanging on their wall, they are also interested in acquiring knowledge about how it was created and they want to examine it closely at will. I’ve purchased paintings for this reason too, specifically two demonstrations that were done by well-known artists I took workshops with. The paintings remind me of my experiences and are also souvenirs of a sort. I value them because I watched the process of creation from beginning to end.
Sometimes a collector will purchase a painting because it reminds them of an event or a place they have visited and have fond memories of. A number of my lighthouse paintings and at least one painting I did in Paris of L’Opera were purchased by collectors who were attracted to the scene because it brought back memories of a vacation.
When I first began selling art on the internet a collector purchased more than twenty portraits from me within six months. I discovered that this man enjoyed collecting for the sake of collecting. He had acquired so many pieces of original art that he had begun to hang them at the college where he worked. Had collecting become an obsession with him? Who knows? One man’s passion is another’s obsession and I would never fault anyone for purchasing original art from genuine artists when there is so much crap from China being passed off as ‘original’.
So while there are numerous reasons to collect art, the best reason is always because you love it and you want to see it and enjoy it every single day.