‘The Art of Buying Art' – Alan Bamberger

A review by Charlotte Pridding



The Art of Buying Art is an excellent publication that offers professional guidance for collecting, buying and researching art written by leading Arts Consultant and Advisor, Alan Bamberger. If you’ve always dreamed of beginning your very own collection, Bamberger's publication offers a fascinating introduction into the commercial arts market and the best practice for buying and selling art, worldwide.

Bamberger offers a detailed and easy to read guide into “defining, selecting, researching and buying” original works of art, as well as a captivating glimpse into recent developments in the arts market, including the growing demand for modern technology, social media and online communications that profoundly influence buyers and the nature of buying art.

Bamberger’s theories will equip you with the knowledge to begin your exciting journey as an art collector through four fundamental concepts – “define, select, research and buy.” The first few chapters offer a step by step guide into the most effective strategies for defining and selecting works of art that interest you at a personal and emotional level.

The most important message communicated throughout the book is as such: remember to collect art that inspires and captivates you instead of simply buying art based upon the artist’s popularity or monetary value. For Bamburger, it’s never fun buying something that you weren’t really interested in from the beginning. Bamberger offers engaging case studies from his past experiences as an art dealer that offer brilliant tips for developing a meaningful art collection that is personal, enjoyable and worthwhile in the long run.

The remaining chapters recommend some excellent resources for researching works of art with useful references and URL links for further reading. Once you’ve settled on the work of art that you’re interested in buying, it’s time to think about closing the sale, however there are a few things to keep in mind.

When it comes to buying art, there are a number of important documents that you, the buyer, should take note of. These include a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), a Letter of Provenance (LOP) and any appraisals that may accompany the final sale. In addition, Bamberger offers a detailed comparison of a COA and a LOP that can assist you with identifying the credibility of the seller and the source of the original art piece.

While a COA is a signed document that provides written evidence of the artist as the original creator of the work, a LOP records the ownership and resale history of the art in question.
What is particularly important is researching who you’re buying from and the seller’s authority or credibility within the arts sector, and Bamberger delivers some useful tips and tricks for identifying the credibility of the seller or the originality of the art.

Bamberger’s text is an excellent starting point for any new art collector that defines using simple terminology the dynamics of the commercial arts market. If you are new to the world of art collecting, look no further, as The Art of Buying Art features a useful selection of resources and professional advice, where you’ll develop a basic understanding for the nature of buying art in the 21st century.

If you have the day off today, make yourself a hot cup of tea, take a seat on the living room couch and treat yourself to reading the The Art of Buying Art. I guarantee, this is a fascinating text for anyone who has the lifelong ambition to jet-start their personal and inspiring collection of art from scratch.

'The Value of Art' – Michael Findlay

A review by Charlotte Pridding

Michael Findlay’s The Value of Art eloquently defines three major influences that motivate the modern day art collector to acquire new works of art. Findlay is a reputable art dealer with experience working in New York City who delivers a well researched and engaging exploration into the “intuitive, social and financial” factors that influence a person’s decision to collect art.

The book offers a coherent, direct and engaging summary relating to some of the most influential styles and trends from traditionalist, modernist and contemporary art movements, as each chapter begins to unfold the history of art. To begin with, Findlay gives an introduction into the intuitive side of art collecting.  

What does this mean? I’m sure most of us have collectables and assets that we simply adore, although our friends don’t necessarily like them as much as we do. For instance, I love spending my spare time shopping for old independent, art house films hidden on the bottom shelf of a DVD store. I can’t get enough of them! In contrast, my partner loves to watch professional wrestling, something that I’m not interested in in the slightest.

Now if we take a look at art for instance, a similar idea applies to the interests of collectors and buyers. I was glued to this part of Findlay’s book and his explanation of the nature of personal taste, where collectors and art lovers alike are interested in different subject matter, styles and mediums. For example, one art collector loves Andy Warhol’s screen sprints and the other collector has a personal interest in Picasso. They're both great artists but their work appeals to different audiences.

What also captivated me is Findlay’s recollection of visiting an art museum and taking a few minutes to sit in front of the painting without distractions and discovering the emotional or personal connection that he shared with the work. This made me think- it’s easy to become distracted by large amounts of museum text pasted to the wall at the gallery and catalogues in the gallery gift store. Have you really taken the time to separate yourself from all of the distractions and emotionally connect to one art piece that captivates your attention as soon as you’ve entered the space? This question is at the heart of Findlay’s perspective.

Throughout the remaining chapters, Findlay explores the social value of art, where collectors and art enthusiasts have the opportunity to connect with the arts world via dinner parties, guided floor talks, studio tours and gallery openings. I’m sure most of us have had the urge to attend the latest and greatest arts exhibitions or events for social interaction with leading professionals, gallery attendants and artists. In addition, Findlay explores the importance of social interaction when it comes to buying, selling and promoting art that traces back to the neolithic ages.

Last but not least, Findlay examines the monetary value of art that varies depending upon the current market trends, provenance, size, condition and the artist’s professional work history. So here we have it, here’s the three vital aspects associated with the value of art. You seriously cannot go wrong with the book, as Findlay offers a thorough, expressive and intricate examination into the complexities of valuing art with reference to the dealer’s previous experiences in the sector.

If you’re searching for a useful and highly inspiring resource to fast track your art collecting ventures, search for Findlay’s Value of Art. You’ll learn more than you could ever imagine!