How to buy art for your home

“A little to the left — no wait, more to the right ...”

We asked Simon de Pury, art expert and mentor on Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” for his tips.
 
Look at listings
“The websites of the main auction houses give you the full programs of all the auctions going on. Then there is a magazine called Artforum in which most galleries advertise, and that gives you a pretty good overview in terms of contemporary art.”

Visit in person
“Go and see as many exhibitions as possible,” he adds. “Or go and visit all the auction previews just to have an overall view and see what there is. And when there are the art fairs, like the Armory Art Fair in New York, go.”

Think long-term
“Buy a work that does not only have initial strong appeal but will be great in the long run. I think the good thing is first to go out and not make any acquisitions — just make mental acquisitions. Work out what it is you personally love, and once you’ve done that, then it’s better to leap in the water and do your first purchases.”

Research prices
“Once you have identified what appeals to you personally, then you can do a bit of homework on pricing,” he says. “For instance, you can go on certain websites that give you the price obtained by any artwork at public auctions, so you can see what ballpark figures you may have to spend to buy what you love. There is a website called Artnet.com, and there you can type in any artist and see, for instance, the top hundred most expensive works ever sold by that artist, with images and details of when and where they were sold.”

Try haggling
“You can negotiate,” de Pury says, “and you can make an offer on a work, saying that that is what you’re prepared to pay.”

Search on the cheap
“You can go to the flea market [and] make great finds,” de Pury says. “It requires time but it’s a fun thing to do. I myself enjoy going to the flea market or to eBay. If you want to focus on the great masters and don’t want to pay the kind of prices you may have pay for them, you can collect editions, which are [for example] prints, lithographs or etchings. There is a very active market for those.”


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