Developing an Art Collection

River Gallery provides a source for, and assists its clients in collecting quality fine art, sculpture and craft. We encourage our clients to enjoy what they collect.

Meaningful collections may eventually be willed to family members, bequeathed to museums or sold through auction. A collection can consist of a diversified body of paintings, sculpture or craft, or it can be developed as a thematic collection.

Examples of thematic collections include:

  •  Work from a particular era in U.S. or another country's history
  •  The work of one particular artist throughout his/her career
  •  Work in one particular medium or one particular subject
  •  Only traditional or only contemporary works
  •  Art that tells stories ("narrative" work)
  •  The work of a particular group of artists or school

Some questions to ask when considering an artist's work for your collection might be:

  •  Is the artist well-trained and does the work exemplify accomplished technique?
  •  Will this artist's credentials be recognized outside of the immediate geographic area?

Obtaining biographical information on artists that you are interested in collecting is important. Information sources may include galleries, museums, libraries and fine art publications.

Visit galleries and museums to familiarize yourself with art that is available and that you may want to collect. Research in the Fine Arts Department of the public library, over the Internet, or through relevant publications, will provide additional information on what is available and what interests you.

Suggested Fine Arts Publications:

American Art Review, American Craft, Art in America, ArtNews, Glass Magazine

Suggestions for Collectors:

  •  Visit galleries and museums (learn what you like and where you are comfortable)
  •  Learn about artwork and art processes- Go to exhibit openings (meet artists, dealers and other collectors)
  •  Sign up to receive calls/mailings
  •  Research the artist's credentials
  •  Identify the artist's best work- Know about the art process
  •  Consider the environment in which you will display the work
  •  Get to know your dealer
  •  Buy what you like (do not buy art as an "investment")
  •  Record every acquisition (request a Certificate of Purchase on major purchases)
  •  If you do not see what you are looking for, ASK

As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes. -Marshall McLuhan, philosopher (1911-80)