Art Talk
Let's talk about art


There are many reasons why we buy art. As veteran art dealers, we have encountered most of them. The following anecdotes are very typical and illustrate the overwhelmingly strongest motivation to buy art. We recently had a customer who bought a print called "A Pastoral Visit". It was an early 20th century scene of a pastor at the dining table of a family he had visited. The customer was drawn to it, she said, because as a child she had the same experience as that depicted in the work, where the pastor would visit after church. Her mother would serve him first and would feed him the best cuts and the biggest portions while she and her siblings would look on in consternation, wondering if there was going to be any left over for them! As she told the story, it was as if she were taken back in time. 
Indeed, many of us buy art for nostalgic reasons. The picture takes us back in time or reminds us of experiences we have lived.
Many customers buy pictures of family and children because the images mirror their own family structure or reflect their own values of family. Many of us have bought pictures of basketball players for a friend or relative whose passion is basketball; or a print of a ballet dancer for that precious little daughter who is taking ballet lessons. On a lighthearted note, we can't tell you how many times we have seen women light up at Annie Lee's famous "Blue Monday" print, proclaiming, "that's me!"
The biggest reason we are drawn to a work of art and make the decision to purchase it is because it makes a connection with our own life.
That in part explains why so much of the art on the market are realistic images that refer to literal experience.
There is a big demand for them and the artists who create them help us to make those connections. 

At the other end of the spectrum are those artists who have turned to some form or other of abstraction, attempting to express or interpret certain ideas, qualities, feelings or mood. Often they work in highly personal styles, emphasizing self expression and individual identity. This has created amazing diversity but sometimes quite a job for the viewer to "get it". Generally, the more technically skilled and creative the artist is, the better he or she will be able to communicate those abstract notions to a wider audience.
This simplified description applies to much of what is today termed "Modern Art".
While some may dismiss it, this school of art has been embraced by the art establishment and many mainstream artists such as Jackson Pollock, Frank Stella and Romare Bearden, to name just a few, have become acknowledged modern masters utilizing this mode of artistic expression.
Our involvement in this type of art can be just as intense as that with realistic art. It can be cerebral, thought provoking, interesting, visually appealing, sensually pleasing, or any number of intangibles that elevate us and enhance our well-being.

In between these two extreme points are a number of styles, traditions and schools of thought about art. And there are as many reasons for buying art. 

An increasing number of us are exploring ways of integrating art into our home and office decor. When we buy art to decorate, decisions are generally guided more by the eye. Our connection with the subject matter is less important than considerations of color, texture and size. Today's art market offers a growing selection of art that could be considered purely decorative. This type of art tends to correspond with prevailing trends in decor and changes with the trends. When we buy art to decorate we get a chance to be artists of a sort, to use our own unique artistic sense to choose artwork and to creatively place it within our homes or offices. 

There are fewer of us who fall into the category of "collectors". Broadly speaking, collectors are people who are building up a long term holding of works of art. Some collectors will accumulate the work of one or several individual artists whose careers they are following, while others collect many artists' work. Most collectors are very much concerned with value and some collect with profit in mind. While there is the perception that art collecting is something only the wealthy do, many of us who have struggled to buy original art with some consistency for pleasure and enlightenment can lay some legitimate claims to being collectors. 

The bottom line is that whether we buy art to mirror our lives, to express our identity, to enhance our quality of life, to decorate our homes, or for the pride and profit of collecting art, most of us buy art because we like art. And when faced with the question from customers about which artists or what artwork to buy, our response has consistently been, "Buy what you like". It is one of the most subjective things you will do. You alone know what motivation is strongest in you and you are the one who will have a personal relationship with the artwork. Let your investment be in pure and simple enjoyment!.