It’s never too late or too early to start your art collection. We asked Strauss & Co art specialist, Emma Bedford for the inside scoop; her advice on making art investment an exciting and trouble-free experience.
The market for contemporary art is huge today, how do we know if we are purchasing an investment or not?
Firstly, we recommend that you purchase work that you enjoy and plan to keep. “Flipping” art for profit is not a good strategy, either for the buyer, the artist or the market. Having advised that, you should do your homework: focus on acquiring good quality art from a reputable source, with a good provenance, exhibition history, literature and positive critical reception.
What advice to you have for first-time buyers?
Do your research, visit galleries and museums, consult with the experts. Read books, journals, websites. Gather information.
What type of art is currently trending?
South African art is proving its worth with increasing global interest. The turnover on Strauss & Co’s March auction in Cape Town exceeded R50 000 000. There is a significant shift both locally and internationally towards contemporary art.
Focus on acquiring good quality art from a reputable source.
How do we know if the initial price point is fair?
Estimates supplied by Strauss & Co are market-related and based on what comparable works have sold for previously at auction. The final hammer price constitutes the final price the public is prepared to pay for a work of art, thus confirming its value.
What is important to remember when starting an art collection long term?
Decide on your area of focus i.e modernist or contemporary, preferred media, pictorial or abstraction. Build your own vision. Buy the best you can afford. Concentrate on fewer key pieces rather than a scatter-gun approach.
Purchasing art for dummies – Emma’s top 3 tips:
1) Do your research and consult with the experts.
2) Buy what you like as you have to live with it.
3) Check the condition or ask for a detailed condition report.
Emma Bedford is highly regarded both locally and internationally, having played an unequalled role as Senior Curator and Head of Art Collections at Iziko South African National Gallery and as Director of Goodman Gallery Cape.
She is an acknowledged expert in modern and contemporary art with particular reference to South African art, has extensive experience in curating exhibitions and managing collections and has authored and edited numerous publications.