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Top Tips for Collecting Oil Paintings

Updated: Jul 8

Collecting oil paintings is a fascinating and rewarding pursuit that combines the appreciation of fine art with the thrill of discovery and the potential for investment. Whether you're a seasoned collector or just beginning your journey, the world of oil paintings offers a rich tapestry of styles, periods, and artists to explore.

From the Old Masters of the Renaissance to contemporary artists pushing the boundaries of creativity, each piece tells a unique story and reflects the cultural and historical context of its time. Building a collection requires not only an eye for beauty but also knowledge, passion, and a strategic approach to acquiring and preserving these timeless works of art.

If you’re passionate about oil paintings, before buying a new oil painting, these guidelines are to be considered:

Think about collecting paintings as investment.

Art is a very unique asset, besides stocks and bonds, investors think about art as a perfect way to diversify their investment portfolio. The value of an original art piece of an avant-garde pioneer artist is relatively stable, while, collecting high-quality art pieces from living artists actually is very profitable in the long term.

Determine The integrity Of A Painting

Before buying a new painting check the condition of the artwork. The first step is to check the Painting canvas, the canvas fabric could be linen or cotton.

Linen is the canvas fabric of choice for artists who want their paintings to stand the test of time. Especially, If the painting is large, linen fabric canvas should be the surface of choice, as it’s less likely to dip in the center after a long time.

For rigorous painting techniques, linen, for sure, is the tougher choice. Do not buy oil painting on paper if you want your masterpiece to stay in a good condition for a long time.

Before buying a new painting have a close look at the surface of the oil painting, to make sure that there are no cracks, a professional artist's practice would adjust the percent of oils in the successive paint layers, a cracked oil painting layer is a red flag, "a wrong technique was used to create the oil painting".

Determine if the painting is original.

Before buying a new painting you need to have a deeper understanding to the term "Original".

The term "original" has many different interpretations, some would say that to be original is to do something that has never been done before, others might think of the original as being the first presentation or the unveiling.

To be original is relative, some paintings are original because it was introduced in a new style, composition, color palette, techniques or even being non-subjective like Hilma Af Klint's abstract paintings.

Creating art in a remarkably distinguishable way so that the viewer becomes able to know who is the artist even without Looking at the signature, is a step forward in creating original art.

The artist' style refers to the artwork's creation process whether classical multilayered painting or an Impasto painting with a single layer of thick paint on the canvas.

The Artists' style also includes his color palette, whether it is realistic or expressive tones.

The tools the artist used to apply the paint on the surface of the canvas tell everything. Actually, the brushstrokes on the canvas tell the pathways the artist walks through to get the artwork out from none to existence.

Any new technique the artist develops is considered a step forward towards originality.

Before buying a new original painting you should know that creating an artwork that is purely innovative in all its aspects is not easy. However, any step forward out of the Art world boundaries is considered to be an original step.

Check the date in which the painting was created.

Each art movement is a wave. First, the groundbreaking pioneers, the origin of the avant-garde art movement, then comes the second generation's validation of the ideas of the pioneers and spreading the wave into the art community. After a period of time, the purity of the art movement starts to fade and turn into a precursor from which new ideas and concepts start to develop.

For example, the abstraction wave evoked by theosophical society in the early 20th century started with the groundbreaking works of its pioneers Hilma Af Klimt, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian. After the three pioneers, the second generation represented by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning...etc.

Before buying a new painting you should know the creation date of the oil painting because it simply enables the viewer to classify the piece of art within the art wave, in its time was it the work of a pioneer forerunner or a follower?

Know more about the artist.

Do not buy a new original painting without having a close look at the artist's portfolio, and inspecting the signature of the artist on the canvas, in the artist's portfolio you can see the development of the artist's career through time.

The versatility of the artist's portfolio in terms of style(Realism, impressionism, expressionism ….), techniques, and subjects(landscapes, still life, figurative....) indicates the professionalism of the artist, otherwise, the last thing collectors want to do is buying a hobbyist painting.

Have a close look at the brushstrokes.

Before Buying a new painting please have a close look at the brushwork. The quality of the artist’s brushwork … allows the spectator to recreate how the artist moved the brush and applied paints to get the artwork out to light.

Oil paintings are created sometimes in one layer of paint or in overlapping multi-layer paint.

The artist needs to follow the Fat over Lean rule to end up with high-durability oil paintings, by looking closely at the texture of the painting you can make sure there are no cracks in the top layers of the oil painting.

Evaluate the composition.

Before buying a new painting, the composition is the most important aspect, actually, you should start with the composition and end with the composition.

A good composition is one where the artist controls the movement of the viewer's eye to a beneficial result.

Artists can do this by a number of means, such as reinforcing the focal point with the Rule of Thirds, implied lines, the contrast of value, and selective color saturation.

The utilization of the two-dimensional space on a canvas, the interaction between the artwork subjects and the background, the color, and light transitions all these elements target the capture of the viewer's eyes and enhance the delivery of the artist's message.

Before buying a new painting please consider that the creation of a successful composition is not easy and depends on the artist's ability to gather subjects, colors, and light to create a unique homogeneous, or heterogeneous artwork.

Sometimes achieving an emotionally effective heterogenous artwork is much harder than a homogenous piece of art.

Finally, Buy The Painting You Love.

Before buying a new painting please make sure that you purchase something that you adore. Take your time deciding what you like in a work of art. Buy paintings you naturally gravitate toward, buy your specific style.

Before making a decision have a close look through galleries, museums, art books, and websites.

If you’re thinking about buying art as an investment, keep in mind that paintings take a long time to rise in value, so it is better to buy a painting because you like it rather than hoping it will be worth a lot of money someday.

Once you’ve decided on a theme, you’ll be able to buy the perfect oil painting that meets your requirements and provides you and your family with years of enjoyment.

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