There is a certain art to collecting art. There are so many aspects and facets of this hobby today, each more surprising than the other. The obvious collector is certainly someone with a discerning taste and an eye for the value of an artwork. However, today this group has grown a lot wider, along with an interest and appreciation for art, there seems to be a business aspect to collecting which is starting to get acknowledged and identified.
There certainly is a need for a guiding hand when it comes to being a successful collector and some knowledge about the technicalities is definitely an edge for a respected collector.
The first of the collectors, probably was Noah who collected for harmony & cohesion, for survival and sustenance in the face of unrest and mortality. There have been a lot many motivational factors for the collector to collect. Some collect to attain knowledge & learning, some for relaxation & stress reduction, some for personal gratification, some for socializing and interacting with fellow collectors, some for recognition and others for accumulation and diversification of wealth.
Collecting art is an age old practice with a rich cultural history. Ptolemic Dynasty from Egypt was known to collect books from around the world. The Medici family’s effort for patronage and collecting art gave the artists an option to free themselves from the Kings and the church. Today some of the museums have displays from the collections of generous collectors who have donated them to the general public.
The hobby of collection comes from a more primitive version of it called “Cabinet of Curiosities”. This practice was common among scholars of means and comprised of acquiring unusual items. From there it evolved to take on the form of the modern day hobby that it is today.
Like any other hobby it involves a burning passion, dynamic engagement and a basic technical knowhow of the field. With a perseverant desire to attain more knowledge and acquire more pieces this is one hobby that gives a unique sense of accomplishment and achievement.
Art collecting is a unique and an expensive hobby. It has always been associated with the wealthy and the aristocratic. Another unique characteristic trait of this hobby is that, in spite of being expensive it brings in returns like an investment would. Art enthusiasts are turning more and more to art collecting as a hobby to reap benefits as an investment with the help of able advisors.
As a collector one is exposed to exclusive and exquisite pieces of art interest and through this frequent practice of evaluation and study – one graduates to becoming an art connoisseur. A respected art connoisseur experiences intense intellectual stimulation and witnesses a whole new world to explore and conquer. As you gradually grow in to an art connoisseur, you hone and acquaint yourself with a unique aspect of your personality that might have remained neglected previously.
As a collector, one promotes production of artistic work, and creates a meaningful and interactive collection of pieces that effectively engages him in the enchanting development and story of art. There is a sense of purpose to each artwork and every acquisition has its own story behind it. As the collector gains maturity there is a lucid evolution in their taste and ideas. A seasoned collector then has an opportunity to assume the role, responsibility and respect of an Art Patron.
The Princely Family of Liechtenstein’s Liechtenstein Museum houses a collection containing some 1,600 works of art by artists such as Hals, Raphael, Rembrandt and Van Dyck and more.
Donald & Mera Rubell’s The Rubell Family Collection in Miami is now one of the largest in the world, and includes works by icons such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol.
Ernst & Hilda Beyler’s Fondation Beyler in Switzerland houses the likes of Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Roy Lichtenstein and Wolfgang Tillmans to more ancient sculptures from the African and Oceanic regions.
Christian & Karen Boros’s The Boros Collection in Munich includes over 700 works by 80 artists made from the early 1990s to the present.
K.Shankar Pillai’s International Dolls Museum began with a humble collection of 500 and today houses 6,500 exhibits.
Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III’s Salar Jung Museum is the third largest museum in India and houses the biggest one-man collections of antiques in the world.
Lekha & Anupam Poddar ‘s Devi Art foundation has in its collection 5000 pieces of Indian tribal, folk, modern and contemporary art.
Kiran & Shiv Nadar ‘s Kiran Nadar Museum of Art draws inspiration from New York’s Guggenheim and showcases Kiran Nadar’s personal collection of works by masters like Anish Kapoor, FN Souza, Subodh Gupta, SH Raza, MF Husain and Tyeb Mehta.
Pinakin Patel’s Dashrath Patel Museum in Alibaug houses works of Dashrath Patel, the artist whose 60-year-old collection includes ceramics, paintings, and photographs chronicling India since its Independence.
Art has always had a strong connection with the society and the cultural aspects of it. When the collectors take on their passion and bring it up to a notable level, it starts having an impact directly on the socio-cultural health of the community and the society in general. A responsible art patron when brings up an artist or a school of artists has the ability and influence to shape the socio-cultural health of the larger community. It is through art that opinions are formed or broken, prejudices are shattered and a positive step is taken towards the general ascension of the society’s health.