How to start an art collection, according to the experts

Get tips on how to buy and curate with confidence and where to find pieces you love with this insider guide

how to collect art canopy collections
Canopy Collections

You needn’t have pots of cash, a degree in art history and a home with expansive white walls to collect and appreciate art, yet that can be the overriding worry for many.

Launched last year by art experts Louise Chignac and Cécile Ganansia, online gallery and advisory service Canopy Collections aims to make the experience of buying contemporary art easier and friendlier. Chignac gives her advice on starting a collection...

The first step in the process of buying art is about looking and trying to understand what you love and what you want to live with. When you find an artwork or artist you like, we recommend starting a conversation with the artist or gallery and doing further research. The more you know about a work, the more likely you are to treasure it forever.

how to collect art canopy collections
Artwork by Duncan Morris at Canopy Collections
Canopy Collections

If you’re looking for a piece for a specific space, start by measuring the area to its maximum height and width. Use masking tape to draw the outline of the work you’re looking for and better visualise its ideal dimensions. From there, decide what media might work best: painting, photography, tapestry... Paintings often work best as ‘statement’ pieces in the most important spots of the home: above a sofa, dining table or mantelpiece. Finally, think about a colour palette that will work within the room– but remember to stay open-minded.

An artwork shouldn’t be there to just quietly decorate the room, it should also give it personality and be something to talk about. Many of our clients believe they can only live with abstract art, yet often the first thing they buy is a figurative painting – there’s something comforting and challenging about living with figurative art. Buying art is also about stepping out of our comfort zone.

Mixing styles is challenging but it’s also rewarding. When starting a collection, we often begin with what we feel comfortable with. As we keep looking, our eye sharpens and takes us to new places and aesthetics. Many of our clients start with one ‘statement’ work and go on to acquire smaller pieces, such as unique ceramics, photographs or works on paper.

how to collect art canopy collections
Works by Irvin Pascal at Canopy Collections
Canopy Collections

The most common mistake people make when building a collection? Buying what everybody else around them is buying! It’s best to be faithful to our own tastes. Art can be an investment, but it is first and foremost a commitment.

The most interesting collections are built over many years and are often very personal. A collection shouldn’t be only decorative but remarkable and tell a story – collecting art is like a journey that is made up of discoveries, friendships and conversations. The more your art collection means to you, the better it will stand the test of time and even grow with future generations.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Decorating