An A-Z of Collecting

Are you thinking of buying an artwork for the first time or just beginning to build a collection? Artscoops has put together an essential guide of dos and don’ts to help you on your way.

If you’ve spotted a painting for sale and are tempted to make an offer, but a lack of confidence is causing you to hesitate, you’re not alone. The art world can feel like an intimidating place to anyone who’s dipping their toe in it for the first time. However, the good news is that buying as a beginner doesn’t have to be overwhelming - with the right knowledge and plenty of enthusiasm, collecting art can be a rewarding and fun experience. Use our hints and tips below to get started on what may well turn out to be a wonderful, lifelong hobby. 


… set a budget. In the early days, it can help to introduce a ballpark figure for purchases, perhaps what you’d spend on a hobby or leisure activity over time, for example. As your circumstances change, you can increase or decrease an allocated sum.

… familiarise yourself with art and artists before making purchases. Think about what you find you’re attracted to in terms of themes, styles, genre and mediums. That said, leave some room for spontaneity! And on that note… 

… buy what you love. Like so many clichés, these wise words have stood the test of time. Doing your homework before parting with your money is important, but art is also about personal taste. If a painting or sculpture stirs up the right emotions when viewing, it’s probably right for you.

…  research thoroughly and enjoy doing so as part of the process. Read up on artists – their CVs, exhibitions, residencies – and genres. Visit art fairs and galleries. You’ll gain valuable knowledge, have fun and also get clearer ideas about what appeals to you. 

… use digital tools and platforms. Online sales platforms such as Artscoops, Artsy, Artnet, and many more… mean you have a rich and diverse selection of art at your fingertips to choose from in the comfort of your home. Following artists on social media is another great way of familiarising yourself with artists and their work.

… support up and coming artists. There are many reasons for doing so, which range from giving new talent great opportunities and exposure to finding art at more affordable price points. You could also be sealing the start of a fulfilling, long-lasting relationship between artist and collector. 


… rule out buying limited edition prints and photography. These can be a great option for collecting when starting out on a budget, and have become hugely popular in recent years. Drawings and etchings are another alternative to more traditional art forms that can sometimes sit at lower price points. 

… forget to consider the space and décor you have in mind for hanging or placing your purchase. Ask yourself whether it will fit in with other features of your living or workspace if this is something that’s important to you. Think about colour schemes, sizes of walls and other collectibles already in place.

… don’t overlook the importance of documentation. Make sure you keep all the paperwork for your artwork safe and together, such as sales receipts, certificates of authenticity and confirmation of provenance, condition and purchase history. 

… don’t skip on insurance. Check whether any current policies you have will cover your art or whether you need additional coverage. Be mindful that as your collection grows and increases in value, your insurance will need to reflect these changes.

… neglect your purchase once it’s hanging on your wall or taking pride of place in a room. Make sure you know how to look after it and prevent damage from risk factors. Direct sunlight, humidity and extreme room temperatures can all cause problems, while good framing is definitely a worthy investment.

… over-worry or overthink things. Discovering which artists and artworks appeal to you should be exciting and a pleasure! You’ll notice how, as your collection evolves, it increasingly reflects your personal story and personality, encompassing your hopes, fears and everything in between. 

Enjoy the journey! 

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