So you’re at the point in your life when movie posters and generic “Live, Laugh, Love” prints from HomeGoods on your walls aren’t quite cutting it anymore. But even once you’ve decided you’re ready to start building a real art collection, the process can be a bit intimidating. Where do you even start? We enlisted Suzanne DeBruyne, owner of DeBruyne Fine Art in downtown Naples, to share her five best tips for new art collectors.
What advice would you offer an art enthusiast who’s just beginning to build their collection?
I always recommend two guidelines for any new collector: Buy what you love, and purchase only from a dealer you trust. A good gallery will be more interested in learning more about your style and your interests, answering questions and helping you build a collection versus just selling you a painting.
On finding what style you like:
Visit lots of galleries and museums. You will find yourself consistently drawn to certain styles and subject matter. Some people, like me, have eclectic taste and will mix traditional, modern, impressionists and hard-edge artists in their collection. Adding art to your home should be led by the heart; therefore, there are no formal rules.
On determining a budget:
My advice is always to buy the best art you can afford. Your art will be around a lot longer than your furniture or drapes. A small original by an artist you love will bring a lot more pleasure than filling your walls with inexpensive prints that have no lasting value. Half the fun of having an art collection is the collecting process. Not only are you building your collection but you are adding to your collection of pleasurable memories in that process.
How does a buyer know whether a price is fair?
That one can be tough. Again, working with a reputable gallery is best. For example, we only work with mid-career professional artists with established price points. If you see an artist you like in our gallery and come across the same artist in a gallery in California, the prices will be consistent. That doesn’t mean that emerging artists don’t have value; it’s just more difficult to determine.
On protecting your artwork:
Always store art in heated and air-conditioned space. If the art is covered by glass, it is likely a work on paper. Those pieces should not be hung in direct light or in humid areas like kitchens or bathrooms. Oils and temperas are easier to place. You want to always avoid extreme temperatures.
DeBruyne Fine Art
275 Broad Ave. S., Naples