How to Start Your Art Collection Pt. 2

Today’s post is part two of our How to Start Your Art Collection series. To read about why we started our own collection (and why you should too!) click here. The thing about art is that, like music or even reading the classics, it can be overwhelming to find what you dig. The options are endless, which I think can intimidate people before they even begin. So here are some practical tips for finding pieces that are just your style.

How to Start Your Art Collection Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

Visit a Gallery. Visit an art fair.

For a smaller space, like a gallery, it might be easy to just visit, wander, and see what you’re drawn to. Likewise, the way art fairs are organized usually makes doing too much background research a chore. So put on some sunscreen, grab a coffee,and wander!

I completely fan-girled when I ran across Lisa Price‘s tent at the Country Living Fair in Columbus one year. It was so cool to meet the lady who’s imagination had dreamed up the block print textiles I loved.

How to Start Your Art Collection Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

Mondrian room at the MoMA, another of Husband’s favorites

Visit a Museum.

Visiting a museum like the MoMA, any of the Smithsonians or even the Guggenheim is overwhelming without a game plan. I’d suggest doing a little research before you get there. Go to the website and see what exhibits they’re promoting. Usually, the exhibits they’re promoting on their homepage will only be on view for a short time, and they’re always heavily curated. This means they were put together with a specific theme in mind (time, place, artist), and it will be easy to find history and reading material to inform what you’re looking at. If any of the promoted exhibits catch your eye, go there first.

That’s how Husband became a fan of the work of Jasper Johns after visiting the Art Institute of Chicago when he was in town for a conference. He hadn’t been to many museums but they had a special exhibit of Jasper Johns’ work. He said he was initially drawn to the collage-like elements (because I use that in a lot of my own work), but what really got him was how expressive monochromatic works could be.

Think of the Context.

Many artists had relationships with musicians. Think about the music you listen to. Did you know The Velvet Underground was Andy Warhol’s house band?  Husband got interested in Wassily Kandinsky after learning that he was a friend of the composer Arnol Schoenberg. They were both expressionists; they were just working in different mediums.

Think about the books you read. Are you drawn to a certain time period or style of writing? Google it. There may be a corresponding artistic style or period.

How to Start Your Art Collection Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

some of Monet’s Water Lilies at the MoMA

On the other hand, sometimes the books you read introduce you to artists you’ll love. Last week, I mentioned the book Linnea in Monet‘s Garden. I credit the gifting of that book as the reason I ended up in an art class in college. In a way, wanting to learn more about Impressionism led me down my life path. In the same way, The Incredible Book Eating Boy is how I learned about the work of Oliver Jeffers. Book worms make great art collectors! (Just wait until you see our latest piece!)

How to Start Your Art Collection Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

Bemeleman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City is covered in illustrations that Ludwig Bemelmans did himself when his family lived there early in the 20th century.

Think about your favorite place. We really love vacationing in Charleston, South Carolina and, as it turns out, there’s some great art that comes from there! Southern artists are often different from those you’ll find in New York. On a recent trip to the Met, I fell for the art of Florine Strettheimer who captured a lot of the issues of her day with her imaginative paintings of the city.

How to Start Your Art Collection Pt. 2 | Hannah & Husband

a detail from Florine Strettheimer’s Cathedral of Wall Street


What style of art are you drawn to?

How did you find your favorite artist?

Click here to read part 3 in the series “How to Start Your Art Collection: Acquiring Your Art”


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