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How to Buy Fine Art with Art Curator Julie Keyes

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Art curator Julie Keyes shares her insights on the art of the cultural purchase

Humans are unique animals because we choose our own plumage. In today’s society, a great deal of that plumage is featured on the walls of homes, offices, yachts and so on as impressive works of art. What we display on our walls offers great insight into who we are as people. The art you choose identifies you, as does your clothing, your music and the colors you gravitate toward to decorate your home. When you see classic art masters’ artwork adorning walls, you can deduce that the person is drawn to classic beauty, but those who collect works from modern artist, such as Andy Warhol or other pop artists, may be more trendy or edgy.

There is a great deal more to choosing art than simply just liking what you see. What to buy and where to buy it are just a few questions that crop up when looking for your next favorite work of art. When buying art, the goal is twofold. The first goal is to choose a piece of art that will increase in value over the years; the second is to choose a piece of art that you will not tire of.

There are various other important considerations when choosing a new piece of art. One of these considerations: Where will the art be placed? Will it go with the room’s motif? If you rearrange, repaint or change décor, will you have to move your new artwork? Do you have other spaces that the piece will work in? Consider color palates, themes and where your new artwork will work best for you. Accurately map out the space, keeping in mind ceiling heights, the furniture in the space and other art pieces already there. These all should be deliberated before bringing home a new piece of art.

Another important facet to purchasing new artwork is whom are you purchasing it from. You must have a trusting relationship with your art dealer, the artist, the gallery owner, the interior designer or whoever is selling you the artwork. The world of art is about beauty and the artist, the gallerist and the consultant are courageous people who chose to work in the field of beauty. They are the supposed experts in their field. If you trust them, it is prudent to listen to what they have to say. At the same time, always keep your vision in your mind, as you are the expert of your own tastes, but their knowledge can be of great value when choosing an investment piece of art to add to your collection.

Once you have chosen a piece that you love, slow down the sales process. Here are two secrets from an art dealer: Often, if you ask, the artist, gallery owner or interior designer will be able to offer you a discount of around 10 percent. Don’t be shy; this is a well-known opportunity in the art world. Also, the gallery, artist or consultant often will ship the piece to your home, office, etc. prior to purchase so you can see what the piece will look like before you sign on the dotted line. This works to your advantage as you truly will be able to gauge how the piece will work in the space you envisioned it.

Purchasing art is an investment in your own taste and style. It’s an opportunity to build your own version of who you are and to define what you love. Take the opportunity seriously and evaluate your preferences and enjoy the process. You aren’t simply picking up a photo from your local department store, you’re choosing an item that will define a part of who you are and help create an impressive space wherever you choose to place it.

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