collector considerations

© 2018 Bailey Scieszka, image courtesy the artist.

© 2018 Bailey Scieszka, image courtesy the artist.

“The shock of the new.” 

It is easy to forget that Impressionist and modern masters—Cézanne, Manet, van Gogh, and Picasso, for example—were dismissed or derided early in their careers. Their audiences were small. There was not overnight acceptance. In fact, most of these artists were not even known in the United States until the International Exhibition of Modern Art, known as the 1913 Armory Show (New York), which then traveled to Chicago and Boston. Decades later, Pollock, de Kooning, Warhol and Lichtenstein challenged conventional tastes, reshaping contemporary art and accelerating acceptance. Contemporary art evolves, often quickly, sometimes radically. Tastes do too. There is still the "shock of the new," seeing new and sometimes confounding paintings, photography, sculpture or new technologies like video or installation art.

There is no substitute for the personal encounter. Gallery, art fair and museum visits are vital, tangible in-person excursions. Now, many first art experiences come from the Internet and social media. All art encounters should be provocative, generating questions like:

  • "Why is this art?"
  • "What does it mean?"
  • “How was it made?”
  • "What motivated the artist?"
  • “What is the value of the work in both cultural and economic terms?”
  • “How do I react to it, emotionally and intellectually?”

We provide our clients with a broad and meaningful art experience to address these questions and ensure they make informed acquisition decisions.

We begin our advisory process with discussions about our clients' objectives, aspirations, aesthetic preferences and financial considerations. We balance our clients’ interests and objectives with our abilities to meet them. As such, we evaluate our clients, just as they evaluate us. To be effective, there must be trust, understanding and chemistry in a client-advisor relationship.

Collecting Strategies

There are two popular collecting strategies:

  • A "broad" or "encyclopedic" approach that consists of developing a collection of works from a large number of artists. 
  • An "in-depth" approach, which focuses on a select number of artists, whose work is collected in significant depth over an extended period of time. 

Americans, particularly, often take a more "encyclopedic" approach to building collections, acquiring one or two pieces by a broad range of artists. An "in-depth" strategy is often associated with a European tradition, where emphasis is put on developing a strong, core collection, with an aesthetic or intellectual foundation. Ultimately, the most critical attribute in building any collection is the collector's passion for the ideas reflected in the art and the process of building a collection of aesthetic and economic value.