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There is a secret I want to share with you about buying art and I will get it out of the way right now. The secret to buying art is, when possible, go directly to the artist and get to know them. Buy art directly. Timothy McKenna writes in his article ("The Art of Investing in Art" available at cultureinside.com) about how an individual collector should proceed in the "superheated" art and collectibles market. He says that there is big money to be made in it. It seems to me to be an insiders market where most of us feel like outsiders. It would feel risky to me. The starting-out collector seems like a mouse in a house with a lot of big cats roaming about. In the traditional art economy, Mr. McKenna's advice has probity and seems sensible, but it is not. I have a different opinion . But first we first have to separate two categories that do not belong together. Most experts conjoin the art collectibles market and the purchase of work by practicing artists. I have no argument with their take on collectibles, the collectibles market and how to start buying that kind of art. My interest and expertise is advising on the purchase of artwork currently being produced, what I call living art. Buy the work of artists who are making art now directly from them. I believe that buying art should be a personal transaction



I encourage you to start relationships. Discover and learn about art by conversing with artists and art communities. Your interest in their work is a perfect introduction. Participating in such a dialog does not objectify art or artists. Make an acquaintance , friend, join a community. Most artists work as members of a group, and by asking we can learn what group that is. The most interesting collectors that I met were people who took an interest in art and artists. They joined a group of artists as friends that bought art. New York collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel are an example . He was a postal clerk and she was a librarian. They became friends with artist Sol LeWitt and bought their first artwork from him. Most of their purchases were not made through galleries but bought directly from artists. They made friends with many artists who later became famous. They were able to buy art because of the relationships they had with artists. Artists were so pleased by the Vogel's interest that they lionized them. McKenna makes broad statements. "Know what you buy and buy what you know" is one of his first categories. How can one find the information out? It is very difficult to ferret out information even for a seasoned observer. That is where the dichotomy between collectibles and living art occurs. In my view, buying a work from an artist participates in their art. Katherine Markel Fine Arts of New York , has a section on buying works of fine arts. Her website, gives a good overview, which I recommend. The first point is to find out what you like. The web offers unparalleled resources for discovering art and artists. Explore via the web. Search out what you are interested.Google the artists. With the web you can narrow your search to what really interests you.



When you find someone or gallery that interests you, then make contact. I disagree with Markel, McKenna, and others on the necessity of galleries. They cite trust, safety, taste, ability to return, and other issues. Why is a gallery more trustworthy than an artist? If there is an artist who has a contract with a gallery, then you must buy from that gallery . Galleries are an important segment of the art world, but they are still the middleman in this business. Commercial galleries often take a big cut, 50% to 70%, just for showing the artist's work.. Non-profit spaces, co-ops, and other non commercial galleries charge less. You will probably pay a significantly lower price by going directly to the artist. By communicating with the artist you will get to know their passion, motivation and purpose. Even if an artist you are interested in is with a gallery I would recommend engaging them personally. Group exhibitions are often a way to see an artists work in contrast to others, based around a theme, both in galleries or on the web. I also emphasize the word, interest. Your contacting an artist does not have to be on the promise to purchase. If the artist feels otherwise, then find another artist



Mr McKenna brings up the work of Franco Mondini-Ruiz as example of an affordable price in the commercial art market. Mondini-Ruiz is a unique exception. His work is an example that belies McKenna's generalizing it. Mondini-Ruiz when offered a place in the Whitney Bienniel, one of the most important shows in American Art, chose to stand outside making art for sale ,10 cents to 100 dollars. He believes in making art affordable. Each one of the 400 small paintings in his current show is a gem. His practice is so rare in the commercial art market that it makes McKenna;s statement all the more striking. Many artists believe, myself included, that it is important to make some art that can be bought by anybody. Mondini-Ruiz is one of the few commercially and critically successful artists that is doing that. I am sure there are others, and I hope it is a growing trend, but I will not hold my breath. Money, exclusivity and fashion drive the commercial market. It is all about the buzz. I do not listen,and I recommend that you do not either. Trust your instinct for beauty and meaning, but also trust your right to a good deal.



You must be careful as McKenna and Markel warn, particularly in prints by famous artists. There are paintings that are made by computer that look original, paintings made wholesale by factories in China, copycats, forgeries, and a host of other scams. That is another reason to buy from the artist and to get to know them in time before you buy. Unless there is a big payday, scammers do not have the time for chit-chat. Take your time, chat it up and be alert.



There are many wonderful unaffiliated artists. Galleries and sales are not indicators of talent. The old cliche, which I repeat, Van Gogh never sold a painting. Many artists on this site, Saatchi, and other portals charge reasonable fees. My colleague from Columbia Teachers College, Dr. Christine Staikidis, worked with a group of Mayan artists whose art supports several villages in Guatemala. I include a link to the website which is run on their behalf. The paintings are in the range of 100$ to 5000$. There are many very interesting paintings in the 100-400$ range. Indigenous peoples are now able to compete on the world stage, as equals, and it is a welcome development . It could be considered "outsider" or folk art by some, but in my view, these artists are painting their culture. They are not outside of anything.



In contrast to Mckenna and his example of Ruiz-Mondini, I would bring up Dr. Barnaby Ruhe. Dr Ruhe is a professor at New York University and paints portraits and abstractions in a unique dynamic, modern style. His prices are reasonable. A portrait is way to see how the artist sees you.



If you are wondering what are all these doctors doing as artists I will explain, because it has been an important development in the study of the arts. In recent years, artists became interested in studying the practice of art, using modern tools of research, developed in the academic fields of art and art education to identify and study, not through art history or aesthetics, but as active practitioners, to learn about art from the "inside". I personally felt an estrangement from the world of art that Markel and McKenna write about. I sought to understand the creation, exhibition and business of art and am pursuing my degree and research in those areas. I think we are making progress

In summation, Buy art directly from artists, you will probably pay less and participate in a community that is much more rewarding than a traditional commercial transaction



Mckenna, T. The Art of Investing in Art , 2007 at Cultureinside.com\

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Very informative! I did some research work on art collectors here. Most of the collectors I spoke to told me they depend on art curators, consultants & gallery owners for selecting art work to purchase. Very few collectors buy art work directly from artists. The curators, consultants & gallery owners usually promote people who give them maximum amount of money as fee. So true art has no value. People who are willing to share only a small percentage of money from the sale will not be promoted & so cannot sell. The artists have no other go but to share a large amount. Artists are exploited to the maximum extent possible. This can be avoided if collectors do some research work to know all about art & artists & buy directly from artists who really do some good work. A personal rapport between artist & collector to know & understand what the piece of art which is for sale is all about will really help both the artist as well as collector.
Thanks for sharing this informative article with us
Krishna
The artists themselves set the price. Even in art shows in galleries, usually curators & gallery owners ask the artists to set the prices. Yes, the artists take into account the commissions they have to pay the curators or gallery owners & quote a high price. This can be avoided if the artists themselves sell the work. On my on line art gallery, I set low prices as I don't have to pay commissions to others. In this way both the artist as well as collector benefits. All the things I said are related to India. I don't know what happens in other countries. Of course experts set the prices in secondary sales such as auctions. But they too go wrong sometimes as we saw in several auctions conducted in several parts of the world. It all depends on the collectors. If the collector is rich, he will pay any price to get the art work he sets his eyes on.
Krishna
Dear Pierre
From my experience
Unlike Galleries, which want to charge the highest price they can, and often have insider prices for friends and wealthy buyers, an artist- collector exchange is often more of the gift economy (as opposed to capitalistic exchange). In the gift economy, There is an exchange of communication to define price or value. The price that an artist charges the collector in this exchange is often the lowest possible price. An artist can say, I sell my prints for$2000 period, no bargaining allowed. I often find such an artist has been corrupted by the market. In that case a collector has to decide on whether that value is acceptable. It is not an aesthetic exchange in my opinion.
Some artists willl or cannot sell outside their gallery. As an artist I want my work to be in peoples homes or yards.
I want to share my work. I want fair value but recognize that poor or middle class collectors can not pay the same price as wealthy ones. thanks for the question Pierre
Pierre Tavlitzki said:
art?page=1&commentId=2816864%3AComment%3A1919&x=1#2816864Comment1919"">
Something puzzles me.

In a direct contact between artist and collector, on which basis do they define a fair price of the artwork for sale ?
Yes to some of what you wrote Dr. Krishna. I disagree on one point. In commercial galleries it is not artists that set prices. I am talking about the New York Art World that I know. There are often differences of course between so-called "top-tier" and 'secondary tier" galleries. Here it is not artists that set the prices. Galleries sell the exclusivity and life-style that buying art implies. But yes you recognize that in selling your own work on your own you choose the lowest prices, not the highest. In less exclusive galleries and framing shops, co-ops, these principles apply
frank

Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa said:
The artists themselves set the price. Even in art shows in galleries, usually curators & gallery owners ask the artists to set the prices. Yes, the artists take into account the commissions they have to pay the curators or gallery owners & quote a high price. This can be avoided if the artists themselves sell the work. On my on line art gallery, I set low prices as I don't have to pay commissions to others. In this way both the artist as well as collector benefits. All the things I said are related to India. I don't know what happens in other countries. Of course experts set the prices in secondary sales such as auctions. But they too go wrong sometimes as we saw in several auctions conducted in several parts of the world. It all depends on the collectors. If the collector is rich, he will pay any price to get the art work he sets his eyes on.
Krishna
Thanks Dr. Krishna for your praise. This was research. I observed this suh rosa market for many years and never thought much about it. Some people want to be in the exclusive top-tier network, and they must behave in a certain way to be a part of that world. It is like the story of the Emperor that has no clothes. In the art world that I inhabit
those rules do not apply
Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa said:
Very informative! I did some research work on art collectors here. Most of the collectors I spoke to told me they depend on art curators, consultants & gallery owners for selecting art work to purchase. Very few collectors buy art work directly from artists. The curators, consultants & gallery owners usually promote people who give them maximum amount of money as fee. So true art has no value. People who are willing to share only a small percentage of money from the sale will not be promoted & so cannot sell. The artists have no other go but to share a large amount. Artists are exploited to the maximum extent possible. This can be avoided if collectors do some research work to know all about art & artists & buy directly from artists who really do some good work. A personal rapport between artist & collector to know & understand what the piece of art which is for sale is all about will really help both the artist as well as collector.
Thanks for sharing this informative article with us
Krishna
Thank Pierre. I do feel very strongly about this. I started my Doctorate because I did not understand the mechanics of the art world and economics of art. I felt like a failure because I never had the commercial success of some of my colleagues. I believe that art is worth fighting for and to take back the ownership of art and aesthetics - Frank

Pierre Tavlitzki said:
Thank you for your reply, Frank.

Your model of gift economy as opposed to art market is a powerful one.
I wished to appreciate what sort of motor can lower the prices.
Your answer is simple and convincing. You wish to share your art.

Opinions from other artists will also be much welcomed.

All the best.

Pierre
Thanks for your reply, Frank. But I set the prices for my work because art gallery owners here ask me to do so despite telling them I don't know how to do it! I take into consideration the amount of work I put in, size & rarity of the work, visual appearance, theme, materials I use & amount of money I spend to bring it before the world.
My type of work is not available in the market to study & understand how to set prices for such works. I tried to consult some experts but they too were puzzled & couldn't help me much. I would be very happy if I get professional help like in your part of the world. Perhaps it differs from country to country & gallery to gallery.
Krishna

Frank Shifreen said:
Yes to some of what you wrote Dr. Krishna. I disagree on one point. In commercial galleries it is not artists that set prices. I am talking about the New York Art World that I know. There are often differences of course between so-called "top-tier" and 'secondary tier" galleries. Here it is not artists that set the prices. Galleries sell the exclusivity and life-style that buying art implies. But yes you recognize that in selling your own work on your own you choose the lowest prices, not the highest. In less exclusive galleries and framing shops, co-ops, these principles apply
frank Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa said:
The artists themselves set the price. Even in art shows in galleries, usually curators & gallery owners ask the artists to set the prices. Yes, the artists take into account the commissions they have to pay the curators or gallery owners & quote a high price. This can be avoided if the artists themselves sell the work. On my on line art gallery, I set low prices as I don't have to pay commissions to others. In this way both the artist as well as collector benefits. All the things I said are related to India. I don't know what happens in other countries. Of course experts set the prices in secondary sales such as auctions. But they too go wrong sometimes as we saw in several auctions conducted in several parts of the world. It all depends on the collectors. If the collector is rich, he will pay any price to get the art work he sets his eyes on.
Krishna
Dear Pierre
That is one of the important points of my little essay. The artist and collector negotiate the price. It requires an agreement to settle on a price. The galleries artificially try to maintain a price using principles of scarcity and the lure of the expert. It is a kind of scam. How are prices determined in the commercial art market? it is a collectibles market. Most living artists are not a part of that market.
As I said the price in the negotiation is often the lowest price, not the highest. Artist and collectors do not have to participate in the market as it has been constructed
Warmly Frank
Pierre Tavlitzki said:
Something puzzles me.

In a direct contact between artist and collector, on which basis do they define a fair price of the artwork for sale ?

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