Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Auctions Can Enhance Your Collection

Art collectors all over the world absolutely love the major auction houses because they are the places to go if you want to get your hands on the pieces that can prove to be the staples of your collection.

It is rare that they auction forgeries, having a major series of checks in place to prevent this, and thus you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying the genuine article. You can also get your hands on pieces that may otherwise be unavailable in your lifetime.

Some of the auction houses out there are world renowned and known by the majority of art collectors and non-collectors alike, but there are one or two gems that tend to swoop under the radar of the general public. However, below is a list of some of the most prominent for you to consult with and look into in order to enhance your collection.

Christie's - Christie's is one of the most famous art auction houses in the world and has been established since 1766, thus giving it that air of tradition that other, more modern houses would kill for. The auctions take place all over the world, with venues such as Amsterdam, New York¸ London and Paris

Sotheby's - Sotheby's is the other prestigious art auction house in the world, and is even perhaps better known than Christie's. Amsterdam, New York, Gleneagles in Scotland, Melbourne and Singapore are all sites for the various auctions that occur all year round. It offers a complete art collectors service and that now includes online bidding.

Bonhams and Butterfields - This is the third largest art auction house in the world today and prides itself on being one of the most modern. It is based in the USA and is known for its appraisal service as well as the fine art that passes through its auction rooms. There is also a range of antiques one offer at any given time, which attracts collectors from all over the country and its fair share of foreign clients!

Dorotheum - Although this is considered to be one of the smaller art auction houses in the world, it still hosts over six hundred auctions every year and holds a massive variety of pieces. Based in Europe, Dorotheum boasts a payroll of over seventy art experts so you can be assured that everything auctioned is genuine and of a high quality. You can find the auction houses in Austria and the Czech Republic.

Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg - With auctions in Geneva, Zurich and New York, the de Pury galleries are beginning to make a major impression on the art world. With specialisms in American and contemporary art, there is a wide variety of pieces to choose from. However, de Pury also offers the option of private sales of Impressionist and modern pieces. If your collection is based around such genres and styles then this is the place to go.

Of course, the art auction houses listed above tend to be the more expensive because they are the most prominent and more prestigious, but you are assured of purchasing quality if you do add to your collection through them.

They all have comprehensive websites that can be consulted if you do want a better idea of what the individual houses can do for you, and there are also other options. A simple Internet search with the keyword "art auction house" will yield hundreds of results. It is then up to you to choose the best one for you!

If you like the painting above called "ESP"you can see it at

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Detecting Forgeries in Art

It is the one thing that every art collector fears and the one thing that every conman out there looks to in order to make money. Producing art forgeries is big business and makes fraudsters an awful lot of money every single year, purely and simply because many art collectors do not know how to identify a forgery and distinguish it from the real thing.

There are several guidelines that can help any collector in their quest to ensure that their entire collector is genuine and worth every penny that he or she paid to accumulate it in the first place. The points below will introduce you to the art of detecting forgeries and equip you with enough knowledge to identify a forgery at ten paces!

1. If you like a certain piece of art then the first thing that you should do is research the artist. He or she should have at least one gallery listing and a biography attached to it. You can also try any reviews that have been written covering his or her work. They should give you a good idea of the style of the artist, as well as hopefully covering the piece of art that you have in mind.

2. If the art is by a famous artist then check all aspects of the piece until you are satisfied that it is real. If there is the slightest doubt in your mind about its authenticity then leave it well alone. Never ever take a piece by a famous artist home until you have performed at least one check on it. The first thing that you should check is the signature. Make sure that it is in the same place as on the original.

This can be done by finding a picture of the original and comparing it. The style of the signature should also be examined. Although the signature may vary from piece to piece, fraudsters do specialise in copying the signature these days because they have identified it as a major failing on past forgeries. Also check the nature and genre of the painting as well as materials and the texture. These are all elements that will be well documented and easily identifiable on fakes.

3. Always run the title and artist of any famous pieces of art through the FBI's stolen art database to make sure that it has not been stolen. If it is on the list then you must report it immediately.

4. It may be worth investing in the services of a specialist appraiser to ensure that you are looking at the genuine article and not a fake. Any appraiser worth his or her salt will be able to tell you conclusively whether it is a genuine work of art or a fake within a few minutes. Any appraiser that you do choose should have an excellent reputation and the highest degree of knowledge. You can find those that are members of official bodies like the Art Appraisers of America. This is perhaps your best option because it spares you the hassle of checking out their backgrounds yourself.

5. If it looks old then be suspicious. This may sound like a cliché of sorts in the art world, but it is easy to age a painting if you know how. Look at the back of the canvas as well as the front because some forgers will neglect the back of the canvas after aging the front. A good point to bear in mind is that old genuine paintings ay not be worth anything so have it valued as well as appraised.

6. Make the distinction between a forgery and a copy with all works of art. Copies of certain artists are actually worth a fair amount. For example, famous artists in the making in the past have copied Da Vinci and Monet and those copies are extremely valuable today.

Copies do not purport to be the original whereas forgeries do. The key here is the signature. If it is missing then it is most likely a copy and not a forgery!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Monday, February 23, 2009

Top 10 Tips that Every Art Collector Should Know!

Art collecting is an extremely popular hobby today because more and more people are beginning to appreciate the finer things in life, as well as the talents that others want to share with the world! Art collecting is also perceived as an investment because the instability of economies around the world makes investing in various markets extremely risky. There are literally millions of dollars in the art industry as a result.

There are millions of art collectors around the world today, but there are ten top tips that each and every one of them should adhere to, regardless of experience. Beginners and experts alike should pay attention to these tips because they can help an individual infinitely enhance their collection, as well as ensuring that they have fantastic artwork lining their walls in the years to come!

1. Do not buy art if you do not like it! The whole point of art is that it enhances your life in some way. You should be proud to display it on the walls of your home or office, and not so ashamed that you have to hide it away. Buying art purely and simply because it is an investment in denying another individual with different tastes the opportunity to own a piece of artwork that he or she loves, so ensure that you only own art that you actually feel something for!

2. Before investing in any piece, whether it is another to add to your collection or your first piece of artwork, make sure that you do your research. Take a look around the local art galleries and visit as many as you possibly can before settling on one piece. The staff at most galleries will be happy to talk about art in general or individual pieces with you, and every single person that you talk to will teach you something new!

3. When visiting the galleries, be sure to ask whether they have a mailing list. Many of them will have either an email list or a snail mail list, or both, because they actively court business. Adding your name to those lists will ensure that you get to hear about special events that they have as well as openings, which again will help to enhance your art education.

4. Join some of the museums in your local area. Although museums do not offer art for sale, they often release magazine publications at least four times a year. The magazines will give you hints and tips on valuing your art as well as promoting local galleries and publishing interesting articles about collecting art.

5. Search the stands of your local newsagents or art magazines and subscribe. Again, they will publish articles on collecting art and also advertise lectures around the country that may be of interest to the art collector.

6. Do not forget to visit any non-profit art centres that happen to be in your town or city, as well as any art fairs that come within driving distance. There will often be art offered for sale as well as artists and experts that you can talk to that will happily help guide you through art collecting. This will give you access to information that is not available anywhere else!

7. Look up fellow art collectors. They may have joined local galleries and museums or attend the same lectures. Exchanging ideas and information can be a satisfying experience and help you to enhance your own collection.

8. Go to your local library and check out several books on art collecting. Any books on the subject will give you valuable information, hints and tips that can ensure that your collection will be infinitely better than if you went into collecting blind with little knowledge about art.

9. Find out when art critics publish columns in local and national newspapers and make sure that you read them. Although the critics' columns only reflect their personal opinions, you will soon find a critic that you tend to agree with and can actually use his or her research to find new resources, exhibitions and galleries to tap into.

10. Use the Internet. There is a wealth of information out there just waiting to be accessed, and that information can really help you to build your knowledge base and collection. The Internet will also give you access to the galleries outside of your local area so you have a better market to browse!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Art Lover and the Art Collector

Are you an art collector or an art lover? You might say, well, what’s the difference? We can probably say with some certainty that most art collectors are art lovers. But we can also say that not all art lovers are art collectors.

Would the difference be that art lovers may enjoy seeing great art and taking trips to museums as a priority part of their private lives but they don’t buy art? But surprisingly, whether or not one buys art or not is not the distinction.

Many art lovers buy certain pieces of art but would not really be considered a collector just as someone may have a few interesting stamps around but that doesn’t make him or her a serious stamp collector.

So it might pay off if we differentiate between what makes an art collector different from an art lover. This is not to say that one is superior to the other. Anyone who takes pleasure in the joy that great art conveys knows that we are all together in our admiration of this part of culture. But if you have avocations of becoming an art collector because you want to "take it to the next level", the natural first step is to know what makes one art lover a fan of art and another a true collector.

· A collector specializes on the focus of his or her collection and knows the body of work that is available. Whereas an art lover typically loves many genres and artists, a collector tends to specialize and educate himself or herself in that catalog because it is pertinent to the activity of collecting.

· A collector’s love of art is expressed in investing in art pieces that give him or her great joy as a way of preserving that magic for the future on a personal level. There is that moment of sublime joy that any art lover has when he or she spends time with great art. A collector takes that to the next level by wanting to possess that piece and others by that artist or in that genre to personalize that experience and preserve it so that joy can be repeated in the home for many years to come.

· A collector is aware of the documentation of an artwork. When you are looking at a piece of original artwork, a collector must know for certain that it is original. The documentation of a piece of fine art works like a "pedigree" of a show dog. It is part of the authentication of the artwork which gives it the right to bring the kind of prices only originals can command.

· A collector becomes immersed in the biography of the artist. Art collecting is a passion as well as a hobby and an avocation. By collecting you get to know the artwork, the artist and what his or her background. By learning about the artist’s biography, you pick up on meanings in the work that others might not see.

· A collector has an investment in the "provenance" of an artwork. That means where this piece of art has been. As a collector, you need to know who has owned this artwork it’s price history. As the new owner of this fine art work you must know where it has been before you owned it.
What stands out is that you don’t have to have a degree in art history or appreciation to be a collector.

You don’t have to be a member of the superrich or even mix with those who have snooty art tastes. If you have a deep love of fine art and your passion for this part of your life takes you to the next level that we have discussed here today, you qualify as an art collector.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

P.S. The art above is called "Jupiter Rising" by Randy Patton

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Real Fun of Art Collecting

The popular image of an art collector of a high powered financial mover and shaker using the art world as just one of many venues through which a fortune can be amassed. But the majority of art collectors are passionate about the avocation because of other reasons besides the financial side of their "investment" in fine art.
The truth is the art market is extremely volatile and hard to navigate if your only reason for buying great art is to turn it around for a great profit. So if you are changing from an art lover to becoming a true collector, there are many good reasons to dive head first into the world of art collecting that are above and beyond the simple financial transitions that happen in the life of a collector.

A little known fact is that the life of an art collector is full of adventure and, for lack of a better word, fun that makes the hobby or pastime art collecting fascinating, challenging and enjoyable. Some of the reasons art collection is such an exciting venture include…

* Art itself is exciting. Great art can sweep you away
into the world of the artist’s imagination and touch
you in ways no other form of communication can.
You can have an entire adventure standing quietly
before a stationary canvas as your soul takes off with
the message the artist sends to you through his artwork
as you can see with Raven's Bloodline by Randy Patton.

* The art world is exotic and full of eccentric individuals. Because the art world is full of creative people, you will socialize with colorful and exotic personalities. You’re friends may be great artists, dealers and others who make the art world tick.

* Meeting artists of works you admire is the ultimate "fan" experience. You will have to learn to "be cool" as great artists and other art world personalities become part of your normal social circle. Your experience will be more than just getting an autograph as you socialize as an equal with the most creative elements of society.

* Art is a mirror of society. Artists confront the great issues of our time in their work. The conversations in late night cafĂ©’s and bars with artists struggling with great social and philosophical issues will be tremendously stimulating.

* The culture of the art world is full of scandal and intrigue. The gossip of who is seeing who and how the loves and loyalties of artists, dealers and big collectors affect big art events will be fascinating to observe close up and even become a part of over time.

When you make that transition from observer and "fan" of great art, to art collecting, your status changes from audience to citizen of this big, artistic community that is so full of life, fun and activity. You will become caught up in the whirlwind world of exhibits, shows, gallery events, private viewings and out of the way social gatherings where the real thought that makes the art world alive and constantly changing takes place.

You actually become part of contemporary art history as a collector because it is you that artists seek to impress and who they look to for guidance and new ideas. By "rubbing elbows" with artists, dealers and the many other "denizens" of this exciting world, you become a first person witness to the actual creation of new art, art which you can then go on to collect.

These opportunities are unique to art collecting and will provide you with fun and excitement that will more than overshadow any financial investment issues that are part of your art collecting experience. You will never look back when you step over that threshold and become an art collector – for the fun of it.

Until next time...Cynthia Goranson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rules for Safe Art Collecting

We don’t usually to view art collecting as a particularly risky pastime. Unlike skydiving or parasailing, the danger of injury in art collecting is relatively small. So should we have some basic rules of safety for art collecting as well?

Yes, we must have some guidelines because there are two great risks we face if our venture into art collection goes badly. The first risk is financial. Certainly much of the time you invest in art collecting goes into studying great art and learning about the genre. But buying that piece of fine art to own and display with pride as part of your collection is the final step of the process. So the money you invest in your collection is at risk if your investments are not good ones.

The second risk in art collecting is the risk to your love of art. If you have a bad art deal affect your love of your avocation in art collecting, it can not only damage what is one of the great passions of your life, it could even hurt your love of the art world. So it behooves us to lay down some simple guidelines to assure your calling in art collecting is long and fulfilling.

· Examine your motivations. There are good and bad reasons for getting into art collecting. If you are interested in the hobby because of the financial reward or because you will gain stature socially for your art collection, these are not good reasons. Both financial and social reward and recognition are fickle goals to be sure. But if your motivation for art collecting is to deepen your love and enjoyment of fine art, that principle will guide your purchases and assure that in the end, you will have a collection of great personal joy to you and your family.

· The 90/10 rule. 90% of art collecting is spent outside of the act of buying and handling your new selections for your collection. 90% of your time should be involved in learning and preparation while 10% of the time should be actively involved in purchasing and managing your fine art. Follow this guideline and your purchases will be wise ones indeed.

· Your gut knows all. Simply stated, if your instincts tell you a purchase is a bad one – run! Your gut has an ability to detect problems that you may not be able to vocalize. By following your gut, it will keep you out of trouble.

· Avoid the price extremes. Beware of the art works that are at the top price levels for the genre. The odds are they are not going to compliment your collection as much as drain your bank account. Similarly, avoid art work that is "a bargain". There may be flaws in the artwork that justify the seller’s haste in wanting to unload it.

· Know who you do business with. Get to know your dealers and those who guide your purchase decisions. By only doing business with reputable and trusted sources, you avoid "art collection scams" that can be a disaster for your love of art collecting.
If you let these simple guidelines become your "commandments" of art collecting, you will avoid the majority of problems people who are new to art collecting fall into. But don’t respect these rules just when you are getting started in art collecting.

Let these rules become your guiding principles even when you are a seasoned collector with many stories of great art collection victories to tell. In that way, you will guarantee you enjoy your passion in art collection for a long time to come and even pass your love of this part of culture to your children and those who later on are just getting started and need your sage advice for a "safe" experience in art collecting.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Achieve the Art Collection of your Dreams Using the Internet

The Internet has largely been a positive
and wonderful thing since it became a
worldwide force at the beginning of the 1990s.

It has opened up a whole new world
of opportunity for everyone to tap into. Art
has never been easier and more accessible to
individuals from every country in the world,
and neither has the pursuit of anything that you want!

You can buy almost anything on the Internet and that includes fine art and antiques. It's wholly possible to build an entire collection of art via shopping on the Internet and have them shipped straight to your front door.

There are various ways to go about this but it is worth the effort.If you decide that you want something specific the first thing to do is perform a keyword search then you will be directed to any number of gallery websites. Just a quick browse through them can narrow a search down and then the final decision should rest on a number of things.

Firstly, when you locate the piece that you think you want to buy you should look at the reputation of the gallery itself. Via a quick search on the Internet, you should be able to locate the gallery in any clubs or associations that they have a membership in. You should also be able to find local listings to make sure that it is legitimate. Most art galleries should also be registered as a company so you could also check that out, as well as any reviews or mentions that it has in the press.

Many artists are offering their work in a Giclee or fine art reproduction to make the pieces more
affordable to the art buyer. This is an excellent way to get your collection started. Buying an original when you are starting out can be cost prohibatitive. Another way to get started is with posters of the artists work. I much prefer the giclees because the are of much higher quality.

There are some potential pitfalls when buying art on the Internet and we will be discussing more about this in future posts. In the meantime you can see the art work of one of my favorite online artists Randy Patton at The painting above is one of his and is called "Hello Gorgeous!"

Until Next Time...

Cynthia Goranson