Starting and Securing Your Own Art Collection

Vermeer: The Concert (detail)

I am pleased to welcome Glenn Baldwin as guest blog writer. He has spent over two decades in the home security field helping people of all walks of life protect not only their homes, but their valuables, as well. Today, he weighs in on ways to start your own art collection and securing it as well. (Pictured above: Johannes Vermeer, The Concert (detail) — Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — until stolen on March 18, 1990)

 Starting and Securing Your Own Art Collection

Owning art has long been a symbol of status, wealth and style, in addition to the great pleasure one can get from being a patron and supporter of the arts. Fortunately, nowadays you don’t need to be incredibly rich to own a beautiful and impressive art collection. In fact, you can get started fairly easily without breaking the bank. You’ll find some useful tips below that will help you do just that.

What Do you Like?

The first thing you need to do before you run out and start buying artwork is to get in touch with your artistic side. If you’re a novice art collector, it’s a good idea to talk to artists, visit museums/art galleries and conduct some research beforehand to learn about the different types of art.

What do you find yourself drawn to? Do you spend more time enjoying the abstract works of Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollack, Kandinsky, Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler or, are you more drawn to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism with the vivid colors and light of Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Gauguin? Are you more interested in religious themes or still lifes? Do certain kinds of paintings make you happy? Finding out what you like is one of the most basic steps, but it requires both exposure and time.

Create Your Art Collecting Budget

Everyone’s budget is different, especially when it comes to art collecting. For that reason, every art collector should set a budget before they start investing a considerable amount of time and money. This way, you can avoid overspending and acquire a significant collection over time.

Some collectors possess many works of art, whereas others limit their possessions to quality over quantity. Having a budget will also help you determine what type of collector you are. Do you want a collection for investment, for your personal pleasure, to be a patron of the arts or do you want to amass a large amount or works to donate to a museum or large institution later? Knowing your intention and what you like can help make your purchasing decisions fall in-line with your budget.

Finding the Art

Figuring out the budget is only half the battle, next you need to find the venues where you can purchase art for your collection.

If you are looking for “high-end” art, Auction Houses are the place to go. Some of the most expensive works of art in the world are purchased at auction houses — Sotheby’s and Christie’s in particular, but there are others — Phillips de Pury, Bonham, Swann Auction Galleries, etc., on the scene.

HYPERALLERGIC, a website which describes itself as “forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today,” has a great guide to auction houses in this article:

If you want to collect contemporary art from emerging artists, there are various cities around the country that host open studio tours at specific times during the year. You can meet the artists in their studios and feel pride in collecting an emerging artist’s work. In NYC, there are an abundant amount of open studio tours where artists open their studios to collectors, gallery owners and the general public. In Asheville, NC, studios by the Riverfront are open most of the year. Take time, do research on the Internet and find out where the major art hubs are. Santa Fe, New Mexico is one of the hottest spots for contemporary art today.

There are also plenty of reputable websites where you can experience and purchase art:

New York Artists Online ( – New York Artists Online is an online gallery and a major resource for artists, art educators and cultural enthusiasts. They have been around since 1999. They are a top ranking website for New York Artists and they are now welcoming worldwide artists as members.

Saatchionline ( – Each week, Saatchionline profiles an emerging artist who is already garnering attention for their work. This is a chance to discover some of the most exciting artists and to identify strong new talent.

Artspan Contemporary Art ( – Launched in 1999, Artspan is home to 4,000 artist websites which cover a wide range of disciplines and genres.

Eyestorm ( – is a site that features contemporary art pieces from both up-and-coming and well-known artists in a variety of genres.

In addition to above sites, there are also other places you could try. Many university campuses with reputable art programs have galleries for their students. Street art fairs are a good place to check. Art fairs are held everywhere in the United Sates and you could learn about ones happening in your vicinity just by doing a search online. Many aging artists donate their works to organizations and institutions, which then have auctions for the art donated. You can even find art at a yard sale.

Art on Social Media Sites and Platforms

Social media marketing by artists is booming. Thousands of artists are posting their artwork on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter have specialized art groups. Do a search for the kind of art work you want, and chances are you will find a group of artists (anywhere from 500 to over 10,000 members) posting images of their work daily. Pinterest is one of the newest social media platforms. It’s totally visual and filled with artwork collectors can purchase.

Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (detail)

Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (detail) — in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum until stolen on March 18, 1990

Secure your Artwork Collection

Like every good collection, it is important to take the necessary steps to safeguard it. Why? Let’s talk about an event that occurred in Boston on March of 1990 – an event where two men (disguised as police officers) – entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and made off with $300 million in stolen art. Among those pieces stolen were the “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt and “The Concert” by Vermeer.

You may not think your collection can rival that of the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum or the Van Gogh Museum, where numerous pieces have been stolen as well. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t secure it. If you don’t have a monitored alarm system installed, you should strongly consider investing in one. Artists insure their artwork — it’s a necessity that collectors secure their art collections as well.

Monitored systems, like the kind you can find all over the web on sites like, are connected to a command station at all hours. This means that trained professionals keep an eye on your home 24/7 – even when you’re not there. In addition to helping protect your home against a number of other threats, monitored protection can give you the peace of mind that someone is always looking after your most prized possessions.

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