How do I start my own art collection without breaking the bank?

Art collecting is sometimes associated with tight groups of the super-rich willing to spend millions of dollars at Christie’s or Sotheby’s auction rooms in New York or London to obtain the coveted piece of art. Furthermore, modern works of art sold at exorbitant amounts frequently make the front pages of newspapers and magazines, confirming this widely held belief among the art public. You do not, however, need to be a billionaire or a global famous to begin amassing an art collection.

Herbert and Dorothy Vogel are prime examples of frugal art collectors who amassed a sizable art collection on a shoestring budget. This ordinary New York couple built a spectacular art collection of almost 5,000 items, which was regarded as one of the most important post-1960s art collections in the United States. Their unconventional purchasing strategy set them apart from more “traditional” art collectors. If you want to be an art collector like them without breaking the bank, here are some tips that you can follow.

Purchase the Art You Enjoy

Before you begin collecting artworks, you must first establish your primary motivations for doing so. Identifying one’s primary aims for acquiring art might help to shape the rest of one’s art collecting journey. It’s critical to choose if you want to acquire art to reflect your own style and aesthetics, or whether you prefer to invest in art that will appreciate in value over time.

While buying investment pieces is a good idea for many financially driven art collectors, it may be dangerous because no one can anticipate whether the value of an artwork will rise or fall over time. Furthermore, if a guaranteed return on art investment is your major motivation for beginning an art collection, you should seek for works by well-known painters. And this effort necessitates a sizable initial investment.

An expert art counselor recommends purchasing art that you enjoy and appreciate its beauty. Because you will be looking at these items every day, choose artworks that offer you joy and inspiration. Setting a budget for art purchases, on the other hand, does not imply you have to settle with works you don’t like just because the price is within your budget. On the other hand, if the price is below what you feel a “good art” should sell for, you should not discount the worth of the item.

Meet art school graduates for ideas

After you’ve established your art-purchasing budget, you’ll need to know where to go to locate intriguing yet inexpensive artwork. Annual graduating exhibits featuring the work of up-and-coming newbie artists are held at all of the major art schools. These events provide you the opportunity to meet the future generation of artists and express your support for their work and career advancement. You may also acquire intriguing new art at cheap rates before galleries start representing these artists, and the value of some of these works might explode within a few years.

You should not, however, rush into purchasing the first item that strikes your eye. Instead, take your time and savor the work of art you admire. Then try to track down and meet the artist who created that stunning work of art. You will have a better understanding of the artist’s concept and message by getting to know them. You will establish a trustworthy relationship and become a devoted customer in this manner. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is one of the most prominent and competitive graduation exhibits in the world, having spawned several successful careers in the past. You may get amazing paintings at low costs here, but you’ll have to move quickly and make wise selections.

Keep an eye on trends by visiting art fairs

You may start an art collection by acquiring numerous artworks at art fairs, in addition to the graduation exhibits. Aside from the well-known Art Basel events and the Armory Show in New York, which draw A-list collectors, smaller satellite art fairs have sprung up around the time of the main art fairs, providing art lovers with more inexpensive alternatives. As a result, seek for art fairs that are hosted by public, non-profit groups that offer large artist editions starting at $50 and higher. This way, you may purchase a beloved artist’s work without breaking the bank, while also learning how to navigate the competitive art collecting market.

Exploring alternative art marketplaces is another wonderful approach to become an art collector on a budget. With a limited budget, you can’t expect to walk out of a prestigious auction house with a multi-million dollar Damien Hirst piece, and why should you? A variety of fascinating and reasonably priced art may be found at a variety of new and contemporary art fairs. African art is becoming increasingly popular among art collectors, according to several art experts, and you may get a good piece of art for entry or mid-level rates. However, you should always trust your gut and acquire work that appeals to you rather than mindlessly following market trends.

Start small

Many individuals believe that when they acquire their first framed artwork, they have become serious art collectors. Art items, such as limited-edition paintings and pictures by well-known artists, tiny sculptures, and design objects, available at moderate rates, are a great place to start building an art collection. These well created artifacts may add to the value and diversity of your collection. Even autographed posters might have a monetary worth nowadays. For example, a signed poster purchased for $10 at Gilbert & George’s White Cube show in 2015 has risen tenfold in value in just five years.

Social media can even help

Millennials have long understood the potential of social media. When it comes to buying art, the generation that is approaching its peak spending years has opted to forgo traditional art galleries and auctions. Instead, they’ve chosen Instagram since it’s a more accessible image-based social media platform with a wide range of quality but moderately priced works by new artists. You may learn all about the art you’re interested in by following a post on Instagram, contacting the artist via direct messaging, and paying for it with PayPal or other low-cost payment applications.


Collecting art may be scary and time-consuming. Before you begin growing your art collection on a shoestring budget, you must first examine your motivations and understand where and how to acquire quality and fascinating works of art. It is critical to get something you appreciate so that you may enjoy your adventure from the start. Later, after you’ve gained more expertise in art collecting and have the financial means to do so, you may concentrate on investing in art to take it to the next level.


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