So You’re Thinking of Becoming an Art Collector – Here’s Where to Start

alpha'a, alpha'a, Manuela Seve and Renata Thomé

Manuela Seve and Renata Thomé of Alpha'a.


These days, anything you can do to improve your home is a top priority; after all, that wobbly table that always-sort-of-bothered you feels a lot more intolerable now that it’s your desk, and small luxuries like fresh flowers suddenly seem a lot more essential.

If you’re serious about upgrading your home, investing in real artwork (aka, not the same Klimt poster you’ve had since college) can be a great way to do that. The art world can be daunting, so we turned to Manuela Seve, co-founder of Alpha’A, a new online art platform to put together a guide on how to get started.

Step 1: Figure out what you like.

This may seem obvious, but before you start buying art, you need to decide what appeals to you. Visiting museums, art galleries and art fairs is the traditional way to do this, but until they re-open, online platforms like Alpha’a and Artsy are great resources to find works by hundreds of artists and start developing your taste. Seve recommends reading art news sites like The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Art in America and ArtForum, and to connect with galleries and artists on social media. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Step 2: Don’t associate price with quality.

One positive element to the current situation is that many galleries and art fairs are posting their prices online for the first time ever, resulting in greater transparency in the market. However, Seve cautions against looking at those prices as any type of guide for quality. Unlike say wine, for instance, where a more expensive bottle presumably means it is a better vintage, art is much more subjective, and prices can fluctuate more often. An artist whose work is not expensive today could blow up tomorrow, for instance – and vice versa. For that reason, it’s important to trust your instincts and buy what you love first and foremost.

Step 3: Do research into the artists you’re interested in.

To gain familiarity with an artist and their work, make sure you look at their CV and find out what solo shows they’ve put on in galleries, whether they’ve been in museum collections or in prominent private collections. That being said, don’t be afraid to take a chance on emerging artists whose work is perhaps not quite so successful yet, but that appeals to you; by supporting them early on, you can really help them with their career development.

Step 4: Start small – but verify.

Seve recommends beginning your collection with more affordable mediums, like works on paper, limited editions, photography etc. Make sure you buy certified works, as provenance plays an important part when it comes to art as an investment.

Step 5: Act now.

There’s never been a better time find out information about the art market and make informed decisions. Galleries are not only being more transparent with their pricing, they are also more inclined to answer questions online as they have more time to do so, and they are also likely to be more open to negotiating on pricing. So go forth, and start filling your home with art!

The Related Life is written and produced by Related Luxury Rentals. Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest events, news and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife.