Arts & Culture: Buy What You Like!
The first thing to realize is that whatever you decide to buy is something you will probably own for a very long time - so buy what you like. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to worry about what other people/friends will think about the art you are considering. You are the one who will be living with the works, not them, and their taste in art may be completely different from yours. They might like Abstract, Non-objective or Pop art, while you might like Academic, Impressionist or Photo-Realist art. There is no right or wrong, just differences in taste.
Occasionally someone will visit our gallery and is unsure of their opinion on a work. The next thing we know they return to the gallery, for another look, and bring a group of friends - you know what, they never buy the painting. Each 'friend' has 'another' opinion - why they do or do not like it; what they think about the subject; the size; the colors; etc. All these differing opinions do not help -- they only cause additional confusion and uncertainty. What you need to remember is that art is a personal experience and every work will have a different impact on each viewer. Again, no opinion or experience is the right or wrong one; however, as I said earlier, you are the one who is buying, and going to live with, the art, not your friends -- so buy what YOU like.
Of course, the first, and most important, task is to determine what you like. As mentioned in Part I of this series, visit the galleries and museums in your local area and see as much as you can. Talk with the dealers and, if possible, museum officials to see what books are available on the art that appeals to you. Surf the Internet and do not forget your local library --- many have wonderful collections of art books.
At this point in your journey, try not to concern yourself with the price level of the art --- just see which artists or styles move (speak to) you; this will help narrow your focus. Once you have found what you like, the hard part begins. Now you need to learn about the different artists in a particular period and what their works normally sell for. Your journey has just begun - make is an enjoyable one!
Howard L. Rehs
Rehs Galleries, Inc., New York City
Read the whole series
Buying Art the Basics Part 1
Buying Art the Basics Part 3
Buying Art the Basics Part 4
Buying Art the Basics Part 5