How to Start Your Art Collection

How to Start Your Art Collection

Paint. Print. Sculpt. Sworders will be holding four timed online art sales in 2023. Our rebranded auctions aim to provide affordable modern and contemporary art for both established collectors and new starters. 

12 December 2022

Auctions can seem daunting. Some people grow up visiting them, but until I started my career, I had never stepped foot in a saleroom. At a gallery, you can see a picture on the wall, buy it and take it home – the familiarity of retail. With an auction, the process is rather different, looking in a catalogue, viewing a few days before the sale and then competing against others to buy the work. However, once I became familiar with them, I fell in love with the theatre of auction. Now, with timed online sales, there is another exciting way to bid.

The sales are online for ten days giving the buyer time to peruse the work at their leisure.When you have found something you like, you can leave a bid; if you are outbid, then you are informed and can increase this offer. At 6pm on a Sunday, the fun begins. Post Sunday lunch, with a glass of wine, who needs the Antiques Roadshow when you can sit in front of the laptop and watch the completion of the sale? With lots closing for sale every 15 seconds and frantic last-minute bidding, it can be great entertainment.

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) Self-Portrait, 1973

Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Self-Portrait, 1973 - £1,500-2,000

Now you know how you can buy - but what should you choose?

Buy what you like. If you are thinking about collecting art, but are not sure where to begin, the simple rule is to pick something you love. Ultimately, you’re going to have to live with it in your home, hopefully for many years, so look for something that calls out to you, grabs your attention and makes you feel something.

An easy option is to find something that fits in with your current interior design. If you have recently renovated or decorated, the right picture or sculpture could complement and complete the look. Eclectic taste works too, so there is no reason why you can’t hang a piece of bright and impactful pop art in a Georgian home, or a mid-century oil next to a contemporary sculpture.

The Connor Brothers (b.1968) 'I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation'

The Connor Brothers (b.1968) 'I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation' - £700-1,000

It may be that an oil or work on paper are what you desire, but buying prints rather than originals can be a great way to own something by a big name at a budget-friendly price. Original pieces by artists such as Pablo Picasso, L S Lowry, David Hockney and Francis Bacon can sell for millions, but one of their signed editions could be a way for you to showcase their recognisable styles on your wall.

If you are looking beyond one or two pieces with the aim of building a collection, then it can be difficult to decide where to focus your attention. Follow your instincts and trust your taste. Visit museums and galleries, talk to fellow enthusiasts and keep an eye online or on social media for emerging artists. As your artistic education increases, so will your interest in buying certain works, and soon enough your personal style will shine through in your new collection.

Ahmed Parvez (Pakistani, 1926-1979) Untitled (Metaphorical Landscape)

Ahmed Parvez (Pakistani, 1926-1979), Untitled (Metaphorical Landscape) - £600-800

We all change our minds sometimes, life would be boring otherwise, so don’t worry if you fall out of love with a piece. Perhaps you could move it to a different place in the home or keep it stored for a while and see if you miss it. If you decide it really isn’t for you, just contact Sworders – we are always happy to meet our new vendors!

To find out more about our 27 January - 5 February Paint. Print. Sculpt. Sale, please contact Amy Scanlon 




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