Building an art collection

Art is a unique asset with many factors to consider when it comes to building your collection. The primary focus should be personal passion and academic, conceptual, or aesthetic appreciation, which is very different from any other investment. In addition to the enjoyment art can provide, it is important to consider whether the works you select will hold or increase in value throughout the years. 


Curator, not collector


A private collector should take a curatorial view of their collection, the way a museum might. Each piece can enhance the collection at large, regardless of genre or media. Expert advisors can help you build a personal museum quality collection in a thoughtful way.


How to build your collection


There are plenty of ways to start building your collection. Galleries are one of the more popular options: they have significant expertise on represented artists and are generally happy to answer your questions. This is most useful if you already have a shortlist of preferred artists. You might have a chance to preview upcoming exhibitions if you build a relationship with a gallery, allowing you first access to new artwork.  

If you’re not sure where to start, auction houses can provide a wealth of information on a variety of art through in-house experts and catalogues. The art is usually pre-owned, though, so you’ll need to properly review the condition of the work and its history. At an auction house, there’s no guarantee you’ll snag your favorite piece: someone else may outbid you at auction. And there’s no room for second thoughts once you’ve placed your bid, so do your due diligence before bidding.  

Art fairs bring together hundreds of galleries in one place, combining the advantages of buying from galleries and auction houses. If you’re not sure what kind of art to buy, an art fair will let you quickly assess the style and type of art you like. Just make certain the fair is curated to ensure that the quality of exhibitions is high.

If you are comfortable with the digital space, shopping for art online could be a good avenue. However, research is important here: you don’t want to be surprised when your art arrives looking nothing like the item pictured. You should do as much homework as possible to verify the piece is as advertised – condition, scale and provenance are some important factors to consider when you buy art, online or otherwise. Art is typically a final sale item. 


Make your collection pop


Don’t be afraid of experimenting. If you can be at the forefront of a new movement, you’re in good stead to collect the classics of the future. Monet and Andy Warhol both pushed traditional boundaries and were considered contemporary for their age. And while there’s no formula to spot these artists, keeping an open mind and a finger on the pulse will certainly help. 

As technology continues to develop, the line between art and tech is blurring more and more, which has given rise to the popularity of digital art. TeamLab, a Tokyo-based digital artist collaborative, is a successful case-in-point which has garnered an international reputation with its interactive digital artworks.1

This guide would be remiss to not mention art minted as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In recent auctions, some have sold for millions of dollars. But compared to traditional art, the NFT market is less established, which makes it faster-moving and riskier.2 It’s worth noting that NFTs are about more than just the artwork: when you purchase an NFT, you inherit a community of people who have done the same. 

However you choose to get involved, the art scene is constantly evolving. It’s a good idea to reassess trends and recalibrate often – and you might consider expert advice at various stages of your journey. 




When building an art collection, try to take a curatorial view that supports a vision of collecting pieces you like – find a common aesthetic or conceptual thread.

Galleries, auction houses, art fairs, and online platforms are all reasonable starting points for your first purchase, but make sure to do your due diligence regardless of venue.

Experiment and keep up with trends as best you can in order to identify artists whose work represents the ideas of the current moment most eloquently and will ultimately stand the test of time.