How to Start Collecting Art

Beautiful Florence painting by Michael Flohr with the Ponte Vecchio and cityscape
“Beautiful Florence” by Michael Flohr, limited edition giclee on canvas

Great news! Curating your own art collection does not require a professional education as an art expert. Collecting fine art is possible for anyone interested in enhancing the beauty of their interior (or exterior) spaces. Whether you are interested in working on a collection to display in your home or office, or you are looking for outdoor sculptural works to elevate your property’s curb appeal, art has something to offer everyone.okm

Some may find the art world intimidating, but following a few simple steps can make how to start an art collection a much smoother process. Any day is a great day to discover new art; let’s get started!

A Great Day to Discover giclee print of Fabio Napoleoni’s cute animal characters on a boat on the ocean with stylized waves
 “A Great Day to Discover” by Fabio Napoleoni, giclee on paper

1. Set Your Goals

There are a few key questions to consider when starting your art collection. What do you want to accomplish? Is creating a beautiful, cohesive, or eclectic display of pieces the ultimate goal?

It is also essential to determine where the art collection will be displayed — home, office, or another space.

Once the basic questions of collecting fine art are determined, a scope of artwork needs to be set. Will the pieces be a certain single medium or a combination of media? Should there be paintings, fine art prints, sculptures, or photography included in the collection? Any specific artists that should be included in the collection should also be noted.

The sizes of the pieces desired will also need to be determined. Will the collection encompass a wall, a room, or an entire home or office?

Once these preliminary planning questions (size, scope, media, featured artists) have been answered, the collecting can move to the next step in curating — researching the artists and their art.

2. Conduct Research

Now it’s time to find out a bit more about collecting fine art and fine art prints. Perhaps you want to focus some of the collection on landscape paintings or abstract topics, you can delve into a subject by reading and searching for pieces online or in books. Visiting local galleries, meeting local artists, or attending gallery openings is another great way to learn more about your favorite subjects and media.

Are there local art fairs or other art events in your area? If so, this is a wonderful way to learn more about artists and pieces. Ask questions, read biographies and attend exhibitions. Gain valuable knowledge by increasing your network of art-minded friends by attending events and seeking resources locally and online.

3. Set A Budget

Setting a budget for your collection will help you to see the long-term goals you have for your collection. Decorating with art can be done without overspending! At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we offer convenient financing options for your art purchases thanks to our commitment with Wells Fargo, making it easier than ever to start acquiring your favorite artists’ pieces.

Remember that quality over quantity should be foremost in your fine art collecting approach and budget considerations. Take time to add pieces to your collection and ensure you are able to add value to your collection step-by-step.

4. Buy Your First Piece

Once the budget has been set and an idea of what artwork will be the right addition to the collection has been finalized, it’s time to choose your first piece!

Online galleries make fine art collecting from the comfort of home convenient. You can expect to find clearly-listed prices or info on how to request quotes, easy access to a wide variety of artworks, and, in the case of our online gallery at Marcus Ashley Gallery, the opportunity to meet with an art consultant virtually to help you with your orders. Online purchases let you browse through all of your favorite artwork, take your time choosing the right pieces, buy your favorite original art, and have it delivered to your doorstep.

Colorful bronze Frogman sculpture with a gold frog perched on blue wildflowers with a blue pattina and ladybug accents
“Forget Me Not” by Frogman (Tim Cotterill), bronze 11.75 ”x 7.75”x3” sculpture

5. Expand Over Time

Once you have started collecting fine art, the itch may be hard to stop! Research the next piece you are interested in adding to your collection or meet with one of our virtual art consultants to help you select your next treasure.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with our art professionals today, or connect with us in person at one of our upcoming events in South Lake Tahoe.

The Benefits of Fine Art Consulting for Collectors

An art consultant has a unique job in the art world, and it’s much more varied and nuanced than people might think. Not only does this job require years of education and experience, but it also requires the consultant to make personal, long-standing connections with both their clients, the artists, and industry professionals. 

Art buying, preserving, and collecting is infinitely easier when you consider art consulting services. Consultants have knowledge that encompasses both the personal, intangible nature of artwork as well as the technicalities of collecting, including conservation and insurance policies. 

At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we’re more than familiar with the nuances of art collecting and consulting, and we are happy to walk you through the benefits of hiring an art consultant for your collection. 

Here are four essential services that fine art consulting can bring to your personal or professional collection.

1: Sourcing Rare or Niche Artwork

An art consultant can offer you the resources, relationships, and industry connections to help source artwork that an average collector will almost certainly not have.

When you’re interested in collecting rare artwork from an elusive or deceased artist, the journey doesn’t have to feel as arduous as an Indiana Jones adventure. You simply need to contact the people with the right contacts who can find the right leads. 

2: Insurance and Valuation Knowledge

Group of people at a gallery working together on client projects

Fine artwork is valuable according to both the collectors with a personal connection to it and insurance companies. Having an insurance policy for your collection is critical for both your finances and your collection’s integrity.

Accidents happen. Just as in the case with your home, your vehicle, or any other valuables you may have, you need to protect your art collection against the unexpected. Any art consulting service should offer in-depth knowledge of art insurance policies and should be able to help point you in the right direction to the correct policies for your unique collection.

Furthermore, your artwork should come with a Certificate of Replacement Value not just for insurance purposes, but for planning for your future. Fine art consulting can help you accurately evaluate your artwork for purposes such as estate planning or inventory management, for example.

3: Conservation Knowledge

A major part of keeping a collection is preserving your artwork. If you plan on displaying your artwork for a personal or public collection, you need to protect it as best as you possibly can. Displaying artwork safely is not often intuitive, and it’s not just as simple as purchasing an expensive frame. Materials can experience chemical reactions or require a certain air quality or light exposure in order to last as long as they can.

Working with an expert helps give you the historical and technical knowledge to know how to preserve rare and/or fragile pieces of artwork. An art consultant can also provide referrals and recommendations to technical specialists if you want to have additional support for preserving your collection.

4: Defining Your Brand Image and/or Personal Style

Over time, an art consultant will familiarize themselves with your preferred art style and what captures your imagination. If you develop a long-standing connection, they will be able to discover captivating artwork that you may never have thought to discover yourself. 

It’s also a good choice to opt for fine art consulting services for both practical and ideological reasons. If you’re looking to further your art collection and build your estate with art that inspires generations and supports hardworking creatives, an art consultant is an invaluable resource to you. 

Furthermore, if you’re collecting artwork to decorate an office or other commercial or retail space, you will need to choose the art carefully that complements your brand’s interior aesthetic and company messaging. Art consulting can help you source artwork that will tell your brand’s story.

No matter why you’re building your art collection, having someone by your side who specializes in the work is advantageous. If you’d like to contact a consultant to learn more about gallery services, then we encourage you to reach out to our team at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

Marcus Ashley’s Guide to Buying Original Art Online

Whether you’ve envisioned an ideal piece of original artwork for your living space or you’re not even sure how to start looking for one, there’s a lot you need to know about buying original art online. The world of art collecting is vast and fraught with pitfalls, but with this guide, it doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Our knowledgeable art consultants have decades of experience finding and displaying original artwork for homes and collections around the world. 

This Marcus Ashley Gallery guide is here for you as a resource, providing guidance as a learning tool and great checklist to ensure you have all of the essential information for buying art online.

1: Determine Your Artwork’s Authenticity

If you’ve been on the internet for any period of time, you should know that just because something claims to be true doesn’t mean it really is (or that it’s legally obligated to be). It serves that the primary concern most collectors have when buying original art online is determining its authenticity.

The internet is far more regulated nowadays than it once was. There are ways to ensure your artwork is an authentic original without having to see it in person. Here’s how:

  • Require a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) AND a Certificate of Replacement Value. A CoA will verify the legitimacy of the artwork. In some states, these are required by law. A Certificate of Replacement Value will ensure its worth for insurance purposes, further legitimizing the artwork. 
  • Require an artist signature. If your artwork is unsigned, an appraiser cannot begin to validate it. Without a verifiable signature, it could be as worthless as a poster.
  • Look for free returns. A dealer who can guarantee authenticity should also guarantee free returns in case of dissatisfaction. 
  • If possible, consider a private showing. If you want to learn how to buy and where to buy original art online, you are likely not close enough to the artwork for this to be an option. Just know that a private home viewing is a likely possibility if you live close enough to the seller in question.
    • Note that if you are not local, our art consultants can meet with you virtually via a video call. We will look over artwork together on this call, offer our insights on what we would recommend, and also help you select your custom framing.

2: Hire an Art Consultant

This may seem like a daunting amount of research for a beginning collector, especially if you have limited prior knowledge or experience buying original art online.

That’s where an art consultant comes in. A consultant will have the expertise and knowledge you need to make educated decisions regarding sourcing artwork, procuring it, acquiring insurance policies, and more. Perhaps most importantly, they will have the historical and technical knowledge regarding fine artwork that will allow you to verify the worth and authenticity of artwork beyond its intrinsic value. 

Any experienced collector will proclaim the importance of a skilled, experienced art consultant. If you’re in doubt when learning how to buy and where to buy original art online, trust the professionals whose job it is to make these decisions.

3: Perform the Necessary Due Diligence, and Be Skeptical of Low Prices

Scams exist. Forgeries exist. It’s an unfortunate truth in the art world, and it’s existed for centuries. In the world of online art collecting, these problems multiply. While the fault of selling fake originals ultimately comes down to the seller, buyers do have a certain legal and personal responsibility to protect themselves. Don’t neglect to perform due diligence and consult experts when learning how to buy art online. 

Furthermore, fine art is valuable, and not just for its aesthetic appearance. You’re paying for the skill and expertise of the artist, the often dozens of hours of labor they put into the work, and their own creative mind, which is irreplaceable and invaluable. Hence, if the price of original art online is too good to be true, it probably is, unless you find a seller who is totally unaware of the value of their piece. Always have a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to low online prices. 

4: Find a Seller and/or Gallery with a Longstanding Reputation

Image of a gallery wall at Marcus Ashley Gallery in South Lake Tahoe

As with making any purchase online, a key technique for buying original art online is to look at the reputation and experience of the seller via third-party accounts. Look for unbiased reviewers on sites like Yelp or their Google page. 

Your best bet is purchasing art from a gallery that has been trusted by professionals and collectors for decades, such as Marcus Ashley Gallery. With a long-standing reputation as a trusted destination for fine art, you can trust our online gallery for premier service and consultation.

Buying original art online is simple with the help of the knowledgeable staff at our gallery. Contact us with any questions. We’re here to help!