Auctions can be a fantastic entry point for novice or aspiring art collectors. The public is welcome to visit the auction salerooms anytime, and new bidders are always being accepted. With the proliferation of well-designed digital auction platforms, placing bids online is more convenient than ever. Information on provenance, exhibition history, condition, and pricing are just some of the many factors that make art auctions attractive for buyers. However, expertise in the secondary market is also required while acquiring artwork. This article puts together some tips for auction rookies to make them look like savvy buyers.
Do Your Research Before Making a Purchase?
It’s easy just to click the “bid now” button or raise your paddle when you find something you want, but a well-informed buy will likely provide you more satisfaction in the long run. Everybody advises you to “purchase with your heart and not your brain,” but this is a bad idea. Though having a strong emotional reaction to a work of art is essential, so is knowing what you’re looking at, how the artist got here, and why it costs what it does. The occurrence of regret appears to be linked to the neglect of any single step in this procedure.
Carefully Read All Documentation, and Don’t Be Shy About Requesting Clarification.
Almost all of the artworks you’ll find at art auctions are secondary market offerings, which means they were previously owned by someone else. Having a notable collector or museum as a past owner increases the value of an item. Knowing that another person shares your excitement and love for work can be comforting, but it also means that the work has a history. Although reputable auction houses perform their due diligence in researching and vetting artwork before it is auctioned, you should still check the pieces yourself. For example, if a piece has been damaged, it won’t appear in a photograph.
It’s Fine to Be Yourself.
A room full of seasoned bidders moving quickly can be scary, but don’t let that stop you from bidding. One misconception you should dispel is the assumption that scratching your head or raising your hand higher than your shoulder automatically registers a bid with an auctioneer. A prospective bidder should not worry about facing this anxiety to place an offer. The auctioneer will ask, “Is that a bid, Madam?” if there is any doubt as to whether or not you are placing a bid.
Take Advantage of Gallery Visits.
While visiting museums and galleries can help you become an expert on a certain body of work, perusing the displays at auction houses is a terrific way to brush up on your expertise before placing a bid, whether online or in person. This is actually much simpler to accomplish than you may imagine. Not only are there auctions for contemporary art in the fall and spring, but people can attend previews at any time of the year without an appointment. Come in, view the works, speak with a specialist, and begin to acquire a feel for the market at these hours.
Furthermore, every object at an art auction has a published estimate, but museums and galleries do not prominently display prices on the wall.
Get in Touch With a Real Art Professional.
In the beginning stages of your collection, you may want to consider speaking with an art advisor or art brokerage if you haven’t already. The greatest art consultants and brokers are well-versed in the market and committed to assisting novice and seasoned collectors in making smart purchases and sales.