Start An Art Collection


A thoughtfully curated art collection is a gift that you give yourself. Not only will having pieces that you feel passionately about displayed throughout your home make it a true reflection of yourself, but you’ll personally derive value from your collected works every single day, regardless of whether your purchases appreciate. To help budding collectors get started, we asked Tayloe Piggott, Owner and Director of the Jackson Hole-based Tayloe Piggott Gallery, for advice; here are her recommendations:

• What is your passion? Collecting art is an aesthetic and intellectual adventure that tells the story of our lives. People collect art for so many reasons, but I believe it should always be based on a passion. Ask yourself, if I had an extravagant budget, what would I collect? This can open your mind to your heart and primary interests in starting an art collection.

• Make a list of your top pieces, and if they are in fact too extravagant for your budget, do research. What are the key themes of the artwork on your list—color, size, medium, era? Take this list of defining characteristics and research how you can access similar works. Can you locate prints by the same artist? Or perhaps there is a talented emerging artist influenced by your “extravagant” artist? Get creative.

• Enlist an expert. This is an exciting time to collect as there are so many resources at your fingertips. I recommend starting with an approachable local art gallery, whose aesthetic you appreciate. A good gallerist will help you ask the questions you need to get started and can help guide you through the logistics of your first purchase, which can sometimes be the most difficult.

• Have fun with the research. Go to art fairs, where you’ll learn an incredible amount about the contemporary art world and have the opportunity to build valuable relationships with dealers from around the country. And of course, use the Internet! There are many wonderful sites for either pure learning or for actual purchasing, from individual artist websites to gallery sites around the world, Pinterest, and great industry websites like ArtNet.comArtsy.netand

• Consider the practicalities of starting a collection. Educate yourself on the greater art world and what can impact the value of work, like the edition size of a print or a work on canvas versus a work on paper. Don’t forget to consider additional art-related expenses like framing, shipping, and insurance, too. Also, always track your purchases. You should save a clear, traceable path from the artist to you, with any related emails, invoices, and certificates of purchase. This is called creating a provenance, which is important for appraisals and for future resale. Nevertheless, I don’t recommend purchasing art as an investment, as the art world is fickle and the best art, the art that you will treasure forever, will ignite that passion that got you started in the first place.

Expert tip from Tayloe Piggott Gallery in Jackson Hole, WY. Tip image of a project by MMR Interiors in New Orleans, photo by Megan Thompson.