We can learn a lot from Herb & Dorothy…
Christina Rees, director of Road Agent, recently published 2 articles entitled State of the Union parts 1 and 2 on glasstire. In a nutshell, the first article was a personal account of how the economy has affected her gallery, some thoughts about how everyone else is doing and what Dallas’ elite collectors should do about it. Part 2 is an in-depth exploration of what running a gallery is like and the types of collectors that are out there, and what they should be doing to support galleries.
At the end of the second article a person commented on Herb and Dorothy Vogel. Herb and Dorothy started collecting from today’s leading contemporary artists before they were famous. This was also before a lot of them had representation and before many of today’s superpower galleries had even opened their doors. They bought small and they bought often. They continued to support these artists throughout their careers, whether by attending every opening in Chelsea or buying small works from the galleries. They had an eye for minimalism, but still maintained a diverse collection. The point is that they did this on the combined salary of a librarian and a postal worker.
The moral of the story is that collecting art is not just for the social elite. I have seen so many people who have little resources be more fashionable than those who can afford any designer label. Being on the pulse is not about dollars, it’s about sense. The same is true of art. If you love it, go and and take some in. Check out your local galleries. Right now I am looking at 8 framed drawings by a well known artist that are $300-$350 framed. In the other room there are original prints starting at $30, if $300 sounds too rich.
I have sold so many people their first piece of art, the reaction is the purist joy I have ever seen (as it relates to commerce). You will never make another purchase like it. There is this ultimate satisfaction that comes with supporting the arts. You directly impact the life of an artist. It is encouraging when an artist sells work. It motivates them to make better work, those sales keep their gallery’s doors open. In turn the gallery continues to develop the artist’s career, museums take note, they are awarded grants and residencies. Before you know it, that piece you bought for $300 five years ago is now going for $1500 or more. Speculative investment is not the reason to buy, you should buy what you love. The point is that original art and prints will never be worth less than what you pay for them, unlike that wall decoration for $300 for at Z Gallerie.