You don’t have to be loaded to start an art collection. And you certainly don’t need to feel intimidated. The trick is knowing where to look and what you’re after.
To give us the inside word on starting an art collection, I recently caught up with Eugenia Wilson, Australian Director of LUMAS, a concept gallery that aims to make the art market more accessible. Founded in Berlin, LUMAS offers a diverse portfolio of works from 200 established artists and emerging talents via their website and 40 LUMAS galleries across the world in cities such as London, New York, Paris – and now Melbourne. So, if anyone is going to have a stack of practical tips for starting an art collection, Eugenia is!
What are your top tips for starting an art collection?
With so many different styles of art out there, it’s important to firstly establish what you like and what moves you. Start by visiting art galleries without the intention of buying, to get a sense of your tastes and preferences. Then stay true to your tastes – this means acknowledging that you like certain types of art, whether or not you are supposed to or what seems to be a current trend. Your personal tastes will be the one thing that makes your collection unique and interesting.
However enthusiastic you may be about a certain artwork, ensuring that you set and stick to a budget will keep you on track. Typically novice collectors will start with something small and build the collection from there.
What types of work should you start with?
The type of art that you should start with really depends on what you find personally appealing. Most of the time people are attracted to a particular type of art and their home reflects that.
Works on paper, such as the photography and limited edition prints available at LUMAS are a great place to start as these are more affordable than canvas. Limited edition prints are also less risky and smaller editions create rarity.
What should you look for when choosing a piece to purchase?
First of all, you need to decide where and how you would use it. If you are looking to find a piece for a particular area in your home, I would measure the space available, as well as take note of the colours in the room and the natural sunlight. You can then decide what mounting, finish and framing you may want for this piece.
We often offer our customers to bring images of their homes, so that we can assist them with suggestions and recommendations. We find that this makes it a lot easier to make a decision too.
However, if you are like me, you will probably buy the piece you madly fall in love with at first sight and then work out how and where it could fit in your home!
What mistakes do people often make when they start an art collection?
I find that people often take this very seriously and over-complicate the process. You should fall in love with the piece, so that it makes you happy each time you see it in your home. Over-researching can make this process much less enjoyable than it should be and more often than not it confuses people about what to get.
Who are some names to watch?
Some of my favourite LUMAS artists are:
- Werner Pawlok, an amazingly talented German artist who exhibited alongside Andy Warhol
- Efren Isaza, an amazing Columbian fashion photographer and artist
- Lukas Dvorak, a Chech artist and photographer
- Aida Pascal Benito, a young Spanish photographer
And of course, the Vogue and the classics collections – it is hard to go past beautiful vintage photographs of old-era film stars and fashion models.
You can find out more about LUMAS here or visit their Melbourne Gallery at 597 Church Street, Richmond, VIC.