Think of art collectors and J. Paul Getty may spring to mind. Having made a fortune through oil, Getty made a life with art. His undying passion for art founded a museum, a research and conservation institute, and published several books. While these achievements may be out of reach for most of us, Getty's vision for collecting is remarkably relevant. Here is his advice for all art lovers, regardless of budget.
Passion is key
All fine art collections, be they owned by people of whatever means start and end with a passion for art. This is the core of Getty’s message, and our’s too. All the rest – collection themes, framing, valuing and so forth – will evolve in time. Passion must be your foundation.
Make a start, any start
As always, making a start can be the hardest part. When it comes to collecting art, the dilemma is often deciding on your collection’s direction while also trusting your instinct. Getty’s advice? Just go for it. Art can be resold and interests can evolve. Invest in thorough research to take the jitters out of your first step.
Keep it curated, but welcome digression
Getty kept his collection honed. He collected by the “five-category rule”, focusing on Greek and Roman sculpture, Renaissance paintings, Savonnerie carpets, sixteenth-century Persian carpets, and eighteenth-century French furniture and tapestries.
This is not however, to say that he ignored all other art forms. Getty once for example, accidentally bought an anonymous watercolour of old London at an auction. An attempt to loosen his shirt collar it seems, was mistaken for a bid. Errant bidding aside, his point remains: build upon your interests in art, without limiting yourself too much.
If you are travelling to Los Angeles, make sure to visit Paul Getty’s legacy, The Getty Center. Above is Angela with Rene Magritte's 'La Folie Des Grandeurs' at the J Paul Getty Museum, California. Perched before spectacular views, this utopian complex houses a collection that includes Monet, Van Gogh and many more. It is a testament to one man’s obsession with art.