There’s no denying the power of a really great, inspired piece of art. Whether you spot it in a gallery, or already have it hanging up on your wall at home, you know a good piece of art when you see it—and even more than that, you know when your gut is saying, “I have to have that.”
For many, curating a private art collection for their homes is a goal, but where do you start? We spoke with Marta Staudinger, an art consultant who serves clients in the DMV area, to get her insider tips on how to curate the perfect art collection. She is also the director of DC-based art gallery and art consultancy agency Latela, Below, see her expert advice on your budding art collection.
Look at your space and budget
First thing’s first: Collecting art isn’t a cheap endeavor. Before looking at pieces you may be interested in buying, Staudinger suggests first evaluating your budget and also how much space you have in your home. “Start with the practical understanding of, ‘Where do I have space for art? Where is it going to go?’ and then decide what your budget is,” she says. Staudinger also says that speaking with an art consultant to ask about your options within those parameters will give you more bang for your buck.
Know what inspires you
The point of having art in your home is to make yourself happy. The art you look at should speak to you; it should make you feel good every time you look at it. “Really allowing yourself the creative exercise of thinking, ‘What draws me?’ and having that conversation is actually really fun,” Staudinger says, “Because then, people get excited about what they actually find out about themselves.” Trust that the creative process will help you discover what colors you want displayed in your art collection, as well as which mediums you like most.
Don’t apologize for the art you like
Staudinger says don’t worry too much about the definition of ‘good art.’ When asked what qualifies as good art, Staudinger replies, “That’s the magic question. The art world is comprised of so many different tiers, so many different people saying different works are good. Take that out of the equation, because what someone lives with should be something that makes them feel good. There’s a nice balance of that intuitive feeling that a viewer should allow themselves to feel confident about, mixed with the quality of the piece.”
Whether you’re working with an art consultant, or are speaking with the artist directly, never be afraid to ask questions. According to Staudinger, you can tell a lot about the quality of the artwork, as well as the skill set of the artist, by asking questions. “You can ask them, ‘What’s your experience? Where have you exhibited before? What theories are you working on next?’” Staudinger says. “They’re all very easy questions to ask; you allow the artist to explain the depth of their process. If they can do that, that’s always a great sign.”
She also says visiting the artist’s studio will give you information you may not know otherwise. “If you go to an artist’s studio and you only see two or three paintings and you don’t see any studios and it feels very void, then it doesn’t seem that they’re very dedicated to continuing to discover and perfect their work,” Staudinger says, adding, “Whereas, if you go into a studio and they have all these works, it’s easier to decipher the quality.”
Get expert help
With both collecting the art pieces and showcasing them in your home, you can’t go wrong with turning to art consultants for help. They’ll be there from the beginning to the end. “It’s very tailored based on the person,” Staudinger says about consulting private clients. “We get to know the client and we want to understand them, we want to see them in their home. Not just their collecting interests, but seeing their specific interior needs.”
Art consultants can also verify the legitimacy of artwork. “We can decipher the quality of the work within the actual medium; we can tell if it’s a mass-produced painting; we understand the authenticity and how to look at certain things in the artist’s work to determine that,” Staudinger says.
Consultants will also help with artwork framing, placement and installation in your home one its purchased, ensuring the staging will add a special touch to your home.
For more information on Staudinger and Latela, visit latelacuratorial.com.
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