What to Know About Shopping for and Collecting Art in Westchester

Dobbs Ferry’s Susannah K. Morgan, owner of SKM Art Advising, offers five best practices for both new and experienced art collectors.

It can be a challenging task to find the perfect masterpiece for your home. Whether you’re working with a blank canvas, or the artwork will be the icing on the cake, here are tips from a local expert on collecting and purchasing art in Westchester.

1. Start with a focus

Before you buy, put together a plan for what you want to collect. You may focus on work by women artists or soft abstracts or high-energy geometric pieces. Think about how you want to feel in your home and how you use your space. If you entertain frequently, look for a high-impact piece that sets the tone. If you seek cozy comfort, consider work with muted colors or textiles.

2. Look before you buy

Go to several galleries and shows to make notes on what catches your eye. Think about why a particular piece captured your interest, then ask yourself if the piece aligns with the focus of your collection.

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3. Know your budget and ask questions

If you’re new to art collecting, don’t be afraid to ask questions and always buy the best-quality artwork within your budget. If you’re more seasoned, stay current on market-price fluctuations by following the careers of artists in your collection. Pro tip: Have any work worth $1,000+ appraised every five years and adjust your insurance accordingly.

4. Work with an art advisor

An advisor helps build a collection by spending time with you to understand what you’re seeking and offering advice on pricing and value. They can help make sure your collection is cared for long-term by ensuring your pieces are framed with archival standards and by providing care-and-maintenance documentation. Also, they curate optimal wall placement for your pieces so that they are seen at their absolute best.

5. Leave room for discovery and have fun

This may be the most important. When presenting options for clients, I always include a couple of wild-card options to push the boundaries and open up the collector to a medium or style they previously thought didn’t work for them. Our tastes and style are constantly evolving; being open to new things will build a collection that evolves with you.

 

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