Starting an art collection can seem like an expensive, daunting task. Many people believe that only educated connoisseurs can identify valuable works of art. There are a few basic considerations to make before you begin starting an art collection.

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1. Abstract or Realistic
Most art lovers identify more with one or the other regarding abstract and realistic paintings. Check out some art online to become familiar with your own tastes. Once you have recognized where your preferences lie, you will be able to seek out art much more efficiently and confidently.

2. Identify Regional Artists
Many people new to starting an art collection find it appealing to locate artists within (or near) their own community. This sometimes also allows for cheaper art since there may not be a delivery fee. I have also seen artists offer their works at a slightly lower rate when selling at events in their home town.

3. Set a Budget
When starting an art collection, it is important to determine your budget. Where one person is alright paying $15,000 for a work, someone else may only feel comfortable with $100. It is also important to keep in mind that the wealthy don’t always spend a lot on art. It’s not always what you have but what you are comfortable with. Think about your budget and how valuable pieces will be in your personal art collection.

4. Check the Internet for Shows
There is so much more you can learn about your own personal tastes when visiting an art show in person. When starting an art collection it is certainly important to browse the internet for research. It is a much better use of your time, however, to see art in person. Even if you visit an art show and don’t buy anything, it is likely that you were able to better understand your tastes. Check for shows near you (most will occur outdoors, during the warmer months) and visit them frequently.

5. Be Wary of Purchasing Sight-Unseen
When starting your own art collection, many people choose to buy their first samples online since they can often find what they want for cheap. That method of buying art for cheap can be risky. Especially when purchasing oil paintings or other works with texture. Without seeing a work up close it is difficult to determine exactly how it will look hung in your home. If possible, always visit a work of art in person before purchasing it.

As always, research collectibles websites to find information and tips on old and new pieces of art.

6. Get Personal
Many art collectors find they appreciate an artist’s work much more when they know that person. This doesn’t mean you need to invite them over for dinner, but do a little research and generate correspondence. Look them up online; see where they grew up, went to school, if they are married or have kids, if they spent time overseas or have never left their home state. If possible, email, write or talk in person with the artist about their inspirations for a particular piece of work and ask them how they got started as an artist. If you are thinking of starting an art collection remember that in a way, you are buying the artist as much as you are buying the work.

Now you have the basics to work on starting an art collection.