IS THERE A ‘RIGHT’ WAY TO BUY ART?
Is there a ‘right’ way to buy art? Clients will often pose this question, wondering if there’s a secret recipe or proper method for starting a collection. From my own perspective as a collector of contemporary Indian art and a gallerist, I truly don’t believe there is a ‘right’ way to collect art. Buying art is an individual and personal process, much like the process of making art itself.
Some clients like to buy a bunch of paintings in one go, particularly when they have just bought their dream home and have a lot of blank walls. Other clients prefer to buy one painting at a time, building up their collection piece by piece. And then there are others still (and I consider myself in this category) who may not be actively looking to buy art, but when they see something they love, they will go ahead and buy it with the belief that if it finds a space or is it place? in your heart, it will find a space in your home. Whichever way of collecting art works for you, feel confident in that.
However, over the years as an art advisor, I have identified some general guidelines that consistently result in high post-purchase satisfaction. Whether you are considering your first purchase or your fiftieth, I wanted to share these tips with you today:
- Trust your gut, and buy what you love. The painting you buy will likely be with you for a while, and it may be something that you see in your home every day. So, choose art that speaks to you and stay true to your taste. Either you connect with a painting, or you don’t—if you are taking too long to make a decision, it might be best to let it go.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! An experienced gallerist should be able to answer all your questions on an artist, including their credentials, history, creative process, the story behind their art and the condition of the painting. I always want to know more about the artist’s life and inspiration — what techniques did they use? Why did they choose this subject? Learning is an important aspect of the art buying process, and this knowledge enhances the joy of living with art.
- Become more involved in the Indian art scene by attending local art exhibitions, museums, art festivals, artist talks or even art classes. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about modern, contemporary and traditional Indian art in the San Francisco Bay Area, which we have outlined in our Resources page. Continuing your art education will not only enrich your appreciation of your paintings but deepen your sense of your own tastes and preferences.
- If in doubt, explore the possibility of hanging the artwork in your home for a few days to see how it feels and help prevent ‘buyer’s remorse’ later. At Laasya Art, we actively encourage our clients to ‘live with the art’ before finalizing their decision to buy.
- I sometimes see clients looking for a painting that will perfectly match their upholstery, carpet and constraints of their space, but they are not quite in love with it. However, I feel that a painting purchase has to be approached from the heart, not as decorative box to check. Look for something you love first, and then if it works with your aesthetics, space and budget, go for it. If not, let it go. There is a painting out there that will be perfect for both you and your home.
- I always encourage clients to buy originals versus prints, unless the prints are produced by Indian modernist masters like MF Husain and SH Raza. I personally believe that original works of art, whether by an emerging or established Indian artist, have a certain depth and quality to them that is lacking in prints. Very simply, they feel more ‘alive.’
I hope that you will find these tips helpful, whether you are a serious collector or planning your very first art purchase. Of course, if you still have questions regarding buying Indian art or don’t know where to begin, please do not hesitate to reach out — we offer complimentary art advisory services here at Laasya Art. One of our central goals is guiding clients through the abundance of options available in contemporary and traditional Indian art today as well as the entire art buying process, including framing and installation.
At the end of the day, have fun and remember that art’s main purpose is to bring us joy!
— Sonia Nayyar Patwardhan