Collector's Guide to the New Year

With 2015 upon us, I can't help but think about the optimism a new year brings.  We reminisce about what we did the previous year, focusing on the highs and learning from the lows.  As you're setting your 2015 goals, don't overlook your art collection.  The best time to buy a paining is always when you come across a work that moves you, regardless of the time of year or what people say about the art market.  Quality is more important than timing, because great paintings will always be in demand.  However, before we start planning our trips to gallery shows, auctions, and museum exhibitions, the first of the year is a great time to review your collection, and set goals for what you would like your collection to look like when 2016 rolls around.  Here are a few things to consider when analyzing your collection at the first of the year:
  1. Update Your Collection Inventory.  Do you have a thorough inventory list of your collection that includes the artist, titles, medium, dimensions, price paid, and where you purchased it?  A thorough inventory can be helpful in planning new acquisitions, estate planning, upgrading your collection through trades and/or selling works that are in high demand.  A detailed schedule of works is necessary to have your collection insured, and it will be very helpful when getting works appraised.
  2. Review Your Insurance Policy.  The chances of something happening are rare; however, the first of the year is a great time to review your insurance coverage for your collections.  Are all the appraised values up to date?  Have you added all your new acquisitions to your insured schedule of works?  Is your current coverage the right coverage for your collection, and finally, are you getting the best rates?  Appraisals will be required for high valued works, and insurance companies typically require detailed inventory lists.
  3. Identify Potential Additions.  Whether collecting historical works or contemporary artists, identify artists you would like to target and add to your collection, or types of works whether they're miniatures, works on paper or sculptures.  Because historical works are rare and some artists are difficult to acquire because of their demand, it's helpful to know what you're targeting so you're prepared to seize any opportunities that present themselves at gallery shows, auctions or museum shows.
  4. Trade or Re-sell Works.  As you review your collection, are there any works of art that you can live without?  We all know wall space is a premium, and over the years, our tastes change and our budgets change, so why not take a painting that isn't hanging on the wall and try and sell or trade it?  Trading or re-selling works can be great ways to maximize the value of your collection.  Who knows, maybe the painting or bronze you sell makes you a profit and you can roll that money into another work of art that you like more.
  5. Lean On the Galleries.  Take advantage of galleries and dealers you trust and have a relationship with.  Let them know what you're seeking and what paintings you would be willing to trade or sell.  Gallery owners and dealers can help you evaluate the fair market value of any works you want to sell or trade, and they're typically the first to know when rare works by desirable artists hit the market.  If they know you're looking for a specific artist, there's a good chance you'll be one of the first people they call when one's available or coming to the market.
  6. Subscribe or Renew Magazine Subscriptions.   There are a lot of terrific magazines that focus on Western art, and by subscribing to them, you'll always be up to date on what's going on.  Also, you may be introduced to a new artist that really moves you.  Some of my favorites include Western Art Collector, Western Art and Architecture, Art of the West, Southwest Art and Fine Art Connoisseur.
  7. Mark Your Calendars.  Major shows have established dates, so it's easy to make travel arrangements in advance.  Museum shows, auctions, and major gallery shows typically occur the same times each year, so by being aware of when those events occur, it will help in targeting certain artists or historical works.  I will give you a breakdown of the 2015 museum shows, auctions and notable shows in my next post.
These are just a few things to be thinking about as we navigate through the upcoming year.  It's going to be an amazing year in the Western art world, and I can't wait to take the ride with everyone!

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