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  • James Stewart

Collecting Prints by Established or Emerging Contemporary Artists

In an earlier Blog post we looked at "What is an Original Print" in this post we take this a stage further and explore building a collection of editions by established artists vs emerging artists.

Collecting art can be an exciting and fulfilling endeavor, because art adds so much to your home and everyday life. When starting out, it is advisable to establish certain criteria for the collection you want to build and also an annual budget.

This will help you focus and benefit the strength of the collection if it has a cohesive theme.

There are different advantages and disadvantages to collecting works by either emerging or established artists. In this Blog post we will discuss some of the pros and cons for your art collecting strategy.

In our Editions Shop you will find a range of signed limited editions for sale by a carefully selected range of both established and emerging artists, including Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Howard Hodgkin, Bridget Riley, Terry Frost, Patrick Caulfield, Jim Dine and many more.

What is an Established Artist?

An established artist is one that is recognised and whose works are sometimes referred to as “blue-chip” by collectors. These artists are generally at a mature stage in their careers, known not only in their own countries but also internationally. Examples include Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Terry Frost, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley - All of whom, and others, are represented in our online Editions Shop.

A mark of an established artist is that their works will have been acquired by museums and will have been sold at the best auction houses – the value of the artwork is automatically confirmed by its long-standing strong position in the market. They have already proven their technical abilities and artistic vision.

Another mark of an established artist is that they are associated with an art movement or categories that could have a lasting contribution in art history: For example Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, became famous as YBA's (Young British Artists) in the 1990's, or Peter Blake in the Pop Art movement.

When acquiring the work of an established artist, the collector usually has no concerns about the subsequent increase in the value of the work since they will have built a strong collector base, through exhibitions and critiques. Collecting art of established artists means your collection might have increased prestige and reduced risk on investment.

With notoriety, and scarcity, comes higher prices. You may also find available works will be more difficult to find, some editions sell out very quickly on publication and then works can be found on the secondary market, usually at higher prices.

It is important to find reputable gallery or dealer that can help you navigate the process of finding and choosing quality works. They will also be able to advise you which pieces over an artist’s career will likely have lasting value and best fit your collecting criteria.

All that is left is to choose the artist/s you like and see what is available in your budget to add to your collection.

Established or Emerging Artist?

Acquiring works by an emerging artist can be rewarding because there is an element of discovery and the fact that you supporting that artist’s career at an early stage.

It should also be noted that you could buy a unique original work from an emerging artist for the same price (or less) than a limited edition print from an established artist.

Many emerging artists have a new, fresh, avant-garde style or technique. Their works are also more affordable than that of more established artists. You should always be cautious when buying works from an untested artist: An emerging artist can be hot one day and gone the next. This makes your investment in their work a higher risk if you expect the value of your collection to grow over time.

Purchasing works very early in an artist’s career can also be risky: Their style is likely still developing and an early work may be less desirable if they become known for a different aesthetic later in their career. So a basic rule would be to only buy works from emerging artists that you like and not necessarily as an investment.

There are many many emerging artists out there, and it may be bewildering to choose which ones to support and add to your collection. A good way to start is to visit a few galleries (online as well as 'bricks and mortar') that represent emerging artists then see which galleries seem to fit your taste best. See if you can review the artist's exhibition history, or even go to see their work.

Additionally you could look art magazines to better understand trends and which artists are beginning to get noticed. It’s a good idea to follow an artist for a while to see how active they are in both producing and exhibiting their art.

In the end, if you decide your collection will include emerging artists, always buy artworks that you love and connect with on a deeper level. This way you can’t lose.

We would recommend looking at the many emerging and established artists on our Artists page to see which ones you like, and then ask to see some available works.

Focus on Your Collection as a Whole

A vast majority of art collectors agree that they are not in it for the money.

Some may be wealthy, and others willing to spend more on building an art collection that other things (such as cards and holidays). They show sincere appreciation for the arts by supporting a large number of artists in different ways.

Nevertheless, it would be unrealistic to say that these collections will not become more valuable over time, especially if carefully curated. Focusing on a collection as a whole is something an emerging art collector should also do, regardless of their budget.

The key to collecting art of emerging, established or important listed artists is to educate yourself on the artist and global market. You should know where to look for quality artworks and how to get sound advice from experts.

We encourage you to constantly be training your eye to recognize true quality over trendy hype through museums, exhibitions, art magazines, galleries and auctions.

If you are thinking of starting a collection or simply fine tuning your criteria, Zimmer Stewart Gallery would like to help you in the process.

Contact our curator, James Stewart, to discuss your goals and how we can help you through the process. We promise you won't regret it!


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