Collecting art is more than just buying a piece here and there to hang above your sofa. Serious art collectors put together great collections because they approach buying art with a plan. A true art collection is not just a bunch of randomly selected painting, but a curated set of pieces that go together like a well matched suit. Learning to be an art collector takes skill, knowledge, and an eye for how the pieces fit.
Adam Sender is a true art collector and an excellent example to follow when beginning a collection. Sender started collecting art in the 1990’s and has amassed a collection of over a 1,000 pieces values in excess of $100 million. As the owner of his own hedge-fund, Sender seeks out art that appeals to him by artists who have had a long career. His collection has a number of pieces by noted modern women artists, a niche he seems to specialize in. Parts of his collection have been displayed at several museums and numerous galleries.
The lessons that can be learned from a collector like Sender include buying what you like, whether that is art or any type of collection. The collector has to feel a personal connection to and fulfillment from his art. Sender said that the works he seeks are intellectually stimulating as well as being beautiful, and each piece needs to be something the collector is passionate about.
The second lesson is to thoroughly research both the art world, the artist, and the piece you are considering buying. The art market is as fickle as any market known to humankind, and what is desired and sought after today, may very well fall out of favor overnight. Knowing which artist has staying power, what a piece represents and how that story can be told is integral to putting a collection together. However, purchasing art, according to Sender, should be a long-term investment.
Finally, there are literally thousands of the stereotypical “starving artists” whose works fill galleries, and art market stalls. Selectivity is a key ingredient in assembling a collection. Where a collector tends to specialize in a certain genre, artist, style, or period is entirely up to the collector. However, once your collection have begun to gain mass in your selected area be very careful about how you add to your collection. Remember, each piece should be a part of the whole and add flavor to the collection much as spices do to a chef’s recipe.
Few can hope to have an art collection that numbers in the thousands and is financially valued as Sender’s. But everyone can start a small collection simply for the enjoyment of the art and the thrill of making a coherent collection that taken as a whole makes a profound statement about its curator.