Some find themselves a lifetime admirer of arts and culture. They passively attend museums and galleries as if checking off a list when traveling. Others seek out culture in the mundane.
As I stepped into the Fragonard Room at The Frick Collection in New York, my eyes scanned the walls and I felt a rush. Following Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “The Progress of Love,” I knew in that instant that I would never tire of wondering what lay around the next corner of a museum. Unconsciously, I began imagining my own idealized art collection. I had begun my love affair with art.
As when starting a proper love affair, embarking upon your personal art collection can feel like a leap of faith. First, you must determine whether you will collect for pleasure, for profit, or both. So, how can you adorn your walls with pleasing, thoughtful or emotion-provoking images to view and show, while also building an investment portfolio?
A recipe for a healthy art collection requires both passion and knowledge. Similar to the budding of new love, there is a beautiful synergy created when a collector is passionate about a genre of art or feels emotion when viewing their pieces.
You can hear excitement in the voice of emotional collectors as they talk about the first time they discovered their favorite piece. You can see their joy in deciding to pursue the piece, the rush they feel upon taking possession, and the pains they take to find the perfect place to display their prize in their home.
The easiest, most satisfying decision a collector can make is to acquire a piece that both appeals to them aesthetically and appears to offer good investment returns. As your collection grows, so will your confidence as a collector and your enjoyment as an admirer of artistic beauty.
Similar to any passionate relationship, your collection will evolve over time. As your tastes and interests evolve, you may find yourself appreciating the same pieces and genres in a new light.
As lovers even after years continue to discover new wonders in each other, when gazing upon pieces you have cherished for years, you begin to value new elements. You will discover brushstrokes and areas of the canvas that you previously overlooked to reveal details that bring you closer to the artist’s soul and their labor of love.
As your romance blossoms with art and culture, you can look forward to encountering and appreciating new artists and art media. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself seeking pleasure in genres that you had thus far overlooked. Furthermore, the art market changes over time, awarding higher price appreciation and public acclaim to different artists and media at different times.
As with any relationship, outside turbulence can disturb otherwise tranquil waters. Regardless of what the market or experts suggest, you are the final arbiter of your collection. If you pursue your passions and desires as you curate your collection, it will maintain life and vitality that serves as an ever-flowing fountain of joy for you and others.
Beginning your art collection is like embarking on a love affair. Consider your preferences and reasons for beginning, then decide what kinds of short- or long -term relationships you want with your “emotional” and “investment” pieces, and which pieces to adorn your walls for a lifetime of commitment to beauty.
Some love affairs burn bright for an hour, while others incite a lifetime of pleasure. Every time you add a piece to your collection it adds both to the history of the piece and to your own story. Whether great or small, short or long, your love affair with art will evolve with each piece as your favorite book entices you with chapter after chapter.