Fine Art - a primer
2010-14 Tom Baillieul
FOR BUYING FINE ART
a piece “speaks” to you
like the idea of surrounding yourself with beauty or with thought
provoking works of the imagination
defines us as a species; it makes life fuller and richer
FOR NOT BUYING FINE ART
an investment (95% of all art won’t appreciate significantly
need something to go over the couch or to match the upholstery
a status symbol or to impress your peers - buying what’s
“in” or trendy
the broadest sense, it’s the tangible product
of an artist, or someone wanting to be considered an artist. It also
demonstrate a high level of technical proficiency. Such a definition
lot of territory and leads to the inevitable question: “What
art may be decorative or thought provoking,
realistic or abstract, brilliantly colored or subdued. Good
art speaks to your soul.
Good art is durable and
lasting, created by
an artist who has achieved a high level of technical skill and critical
(may only be local), and who produces consistent, high quality works.
art is the product of an artist who’s art continually grows
complexity, virtuosity, and imagination.
with any exciting new endeavor, take time to become knowledgeable.
After all, baseball or football are more enjoyable if you understand
the rules of the game and who the players are. Go to galleries and
museums; look at the many different types and styles of art. Take an
art appreciation course; begin assembling a library of art books.
a commitment to have art become a part of your life – you
won’t regret it.
there are specific styles or schools of art that appeal to you, go for
more in-depth understanding. Learn about the artists, the techniques
and materials used (you may be amazed).
small - buy photographs, lithographs and other limited edition prints,
especially by local artists; drawings and watercolors are also a good
place to start as they tend to be less expensive.
on mailing lists for arts organizations and start attending openings
and shows; it can make for a fun evening and you'll begin to develop an
eye for what you like.
relationships with gallery owners and the artists themselves; the joy
of owning an art work is enhanced by knowing something about the
creative talent and inspiration behind it.
buy what you really like; not what someone else says you should like.
RESOURCES TO GET YOU STARTED
Wendy's 1000 masterpieces by
Sister Wendy Beckett,1st American ed., New York : DK Pub., 1999.
Wendy, the complete collection” / a BBC
Video production (2002).
across the ages,
Ori Z. Soltes, 2006, The Teaching Company DVD lecture series.
Power of Art,
by Simon Schama; book (2006) and DVD series (2007)
Then Collect” by Michelle Falkenstein,
ARTnews, January 2007, Vol. 106, Number 1. p. 102-105.
Private Life of a Masterpiece”, 2005, BBC 2
Entertain Video, the complete seasons 1 – 5, 7 DVDs.
on individual artists and art history in
self-study DVDs from the Great Courses company [aka the Teaching
through your local library or on-line .
– LOOK FOR LASTING “VALUE”
to know the artist - cultivate a relationship. Also, seek to build
personal ties to various galleries that hang art that appeals to you.
through a gallery may add to the price, but the gallery owner will have
done a lot of the legwork for you. Galleries will stand behind the
quality of a piece and are also a good source of information on display
“sales jobs” where you’re pressured to
buy something by the hot artist of the month. Listen to your
to juried shows - a highly knowledgeable person, the juror, has already
determined that these artworks are a cut above the rest. These shows
can also be a good place to get a bargain.
“comfort art” - art that fades into the background
over time. In this category are:
pieces designed to shock, but which lose their shock value after one or
paintings bought because they match upholstery or carpets
paintings/statuary that are “pretty” or
“cute”, but shallow
your time. Impulse purchases are potentially disappointing. The
“right” piece of art is one you keep going back to
- one that sticks in your mind, even if you don’t know why.
a piece you’ve been contemplating for a while gets sold to
someone else, don’t despair. Chances are you’ll be
attracted to other works by the same artist and, if you develop a
personal relationship, she/he may be willing to create a special piece
just for you.
the time to become knowledgeable - art is not mysterious;
it’s part of what makes us human.
how to care properly for an artwork, e.g., never place a drawing,
print, or painting in a spot that gets direct sunlight. ALL 2-D artwork
will fade or discolor under the effects of ultra-violet light. Some
ceramics and plastics may also be affected [see the fact sheet on
caring for your art for more information].