Collecting art is a very personal endeavor. It is also the jewelry of a well-designed room. In interior design it is important to create spaces that feel authentic, unique and reflect the space and occupants that live there. As part of our design philosophy at SR/A, we work to create spaces with our multifamily housing clients that includes art that connects to the building, the people living there and the community where the building is situated. Today’s blog post gives you, dear reader, some critical tips, and advice about how to develop your own art collection to give your rooms that added pop and je ne sais quoi one feels in a beautifully designed space.
The world of art can be intimidating for newcomers. Faced with seemingly endless options—from famous artists to local galleries to art school—it can be difficult to know where to start. The most important thing for beginner collectors is to purchase what they like. Start by visiting galleries and flea markets, or even taking an art class. As you become more familiar with the kinds of art you like, you can start to focus your collection. Another important thing to remember is that art is meant to be enjoyed. The best way to start an art collection is to buy pieces that you love and will want to live with for years to come.
SR/A designed project: Coda at Bryant Street featuring a gallery wall and sculptural room divider with vintage hats
Why Start an Art Collection? As you start to build your art collection, you might want to focus on a specific artist, time period, or style of art. If you’re interested in a certain artist, you can start by collecting their prints or posters. As you become more familiar with their work, you can start to focus your collection on a specific type of artwork, like paintings or sculptures. If you’re interested in a certain time period, you can start by collecting art from that era. Perhaps the 1960s is an era you find appealing for the aesthetic and culture of that time; you can start by collecting pop art or hippie-style paintings from that time. As you become more familiar with the art from that era, you can start to focus your collection on a specific type of artwork, like psychedelic posters or op-art. If you’re interested in a specific style of art, you can start by collecting art that fits that category. For example, if you’re interested in abstract art, you can start by collecting works by Kandinsky or Rothko. As you become more familiar with the style, you can start to focus your collection on a specific type of artwork, like color field paintings or hard-edge paintings. As you hone in what specifics about the art, the period, artist, or style you find attractive you begin to develop a cohesive collection that will truly resonate with you!
SR/A designed project: Avec on H street leasing room featuring large-scale abstract art
Where to Find Art? The best place to find art is at galleries, art fairs, and auction houses. You can also find art online, but it’s important to be careful when buying art sight unseen. If you’re interested in a specific artist, you can start by visiting their website or searching for their work on art auction websites. If you’re interested in a specific time period, you can start by searching for that era on art history websites. For example, if you’re interested in the 1960s, you can search for “1960s art” or “pop art.” If you’re interested in a specific style of art, you can start by searching for that style on art history websites. For example, if you’re interested in abstract art, you can search for “abstract art” or “Cubism.” Also, a good way to start your art collection is to look locally. From small towns to big cities, there are often arts fairs or local galleries and pop-ups that will feature art from local artists. In addition to being able to find something that is made right in your own community, shopping for art from a local artist is often more affordable than buying art from a nationally or internationally known artist. Plus, you never know, you may end up buying a piece of art from an up-and-coming local artist who goes on to be the next Picasso.
SR/A designed project: Modera Sedici lounge featuring portrait paintings
Caring for your Art Collection: Once you start your art collection, it’s important to take care of your pieces. Here are a few tips on how to care for your art: – Display your art in a place where it won’t be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. – frame your art with acid-free materials to prevent damage. – keep your art in a dust-free environment, and clean it regularly with a soft, dry cloth. – If you have any questions about how to care for your art, consult a professional art conservator.
Conclusion: This blog post has laid out many important steps you can employ to begin your own art collection. It is important to remember regardless of whatever the style of art, wherever you found the art and however you display the art, if it gives you joy that is a successful step in the creation of your own art collection. If you follow the advice in this blog post and think about the wise words of William Morris, ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful’ you will never go wrong with the art you bring into your home.
If you are feeling inspired to learn more about art, artists and collecting check out the links below for additional information:
The Art of Buying Art: How to evaluate and buy art like a professional collector by Alan Bamberger
Collecting Art for Love, Money and More by Ethan Wagner and Thea Westreich
If you are in the DC area there are many local galleries to visit, including the Smithsonian museums which are free!
National Gallery of Art https://www.nga.gov/
Phillips Collection https://www.phillipscollection.org/
Want to enjoy art from the comfort of your home? Check out this online art gallery:
You can also expand your knowledge by playing art games online:
Sabine Roy is President and CEO at SR/A.