FIND OUT WHAT YOU LOVE
Understand the area you would like to collect in and start looking at objects. Museums, specialized galleries and the auction houses are good places to train your eye. The ever-changing art market is a difficult place to navigate and a good basic knowledge will protect you from making fundamental mistakes. Start to compile a good reference library. Auction catalogues are an excellent source of information related to the objects and their value.
BE SERIOUS AND SELECTIVE IN YOUR CHOICES
Identify your budget and buy one great object versus 10 mediocre pieces. Be disciplined and restrained but never when the right object comes along. Overpaying for a rare and wonderful work is never a mistake.
CONDITION AND AUTHENTICITY
The field of 20th Century Decorative Art and Design is complicated. When presented with an object, one must start from a position that it could have been restored or it is fake. Only rigorous and meticulous research can “clear” the object of any doubt. Provenance is critical to its value. If an object is restored, broken or has replaced parts, be cautious and only if the object is rare, unique or considered a masterpiece consider the acquisition.
The value of an object is subjective to each individual but is characterized through the importance of the artist and the success of the design, the rarity of the object, its condition and its freshness to the market. As the art market, and particularly the area of Design, is linked to popular culture and taste, be aware of what you are buying: taste can change quickly and so will the value of an object. Short-lived trends are not part of serious collections.
ART AS INVESTMENT
We would not advise clients to buy works of art as an investment.
FIND A FEW PEOPLE WHO YOU CAN TRUST
Speak to experts who have a deep and comprehensive knowledge in the field. Always keep an independent view and compare and contrast all comments you receive. Then make up your mind about a purchase or a sale.
A connoisseur is a person with a deep knowledge and training in the arts and an expert judge in matters of taste. In the art world, his or her judgment is a crucial skill for the identification and attribution of great works and great collections often involve the help of a connoisseur’s view. A dialogue with knowledgeable people is critical to understanding what you are doing in a market or keeping your collecting on-track.
In the matter of buying or selling works of art, discretion is critical, especially relating to all financial transactions.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO EXPERIMENT
Periodic reappraisals of your tastes are always a good idea. What excites you today could easily bore you tomorrow. A quality collection is always evolving and never static.
PANNING FOR GOLD
What makes a great collector great is his or her ability to separate out specific works of art from the millions of pieces already in existence and assemble them in such a way as to increase or advance our understanding of that art in particular or of the evolution of art in general.