A Fun and Clever Way to Build an Art Collection

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Delray Beach, FL– If you ever want to develop a really great art collection – on the cheap – here’s a clever strategy you can use. I picked it up from an elder statesman in our industry that lived for years in Mexico and then in Paris. As far as I know, he never spent more than a few thousand dollars on any individual work. He enjoyed his collection during his life, and when he died it was worth millions.

The strategy is this: Find a location where young artists abound. It could be somewhere in the States. Or it could be overseas. Sponsor an exhibition/contest for up-and-comers, not amateurs but artists whose work has gained some recognition among gallery owners and local critics. Award three cash prizes. (Just big enough to attract a good number of entries.) It’s a juried show, and you are the judge. The rules require a contract, and the contract gives you the right to buy any of the entries at a predetermined price – a price you are happy to pay.

If it works the first time, make it an annual show. Rinse and repeat for 20 years. It will provide you with a large and worthy collection. If you have an instinct for judging, it may be a valuable collection, too.

I’m doing this in Central America. The idea is to bolster my current collection of modern masters with “emerging” talent. Suzanne Snider, my partner in Ford Fine Art, has been leading the charge. We began by sponsoring art events in the capitals of each country and got to know the players. Now we are commencing with the contests.

She recently wrote to me from Managua, Nicaragua, where Johann, our local partner, had just put on our first show:

Mark – The exhibition at the Cultural Center looks fantastic. Johann did an exceptional job… The works are significant and arranged perfectly. 

Tonight we met the new Ambassador of Spain. It was packed. At least 150 people. All the artists were there except one who is considered an activist and had to leave the country. Lots of press and lots of compliments and good feedback.

I am cutting the budget by staying in Johann’s family home… I have the upstairs master suite, the roosters crowing and the birds singing this morning. Thinking about a nice bath in the jacuzzi.  

This is fun stuff. I’m jealous of my partner. But I’ll attend our next show. If you fancy yourself a speculator and you are interested in collecting art, this strategy could put the odds in your favor.

Here are some images from the show: