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How to build a personal art collection

From Monet to Anjolie Ela Menon, there is always one piece that can send us into rapturous wonder or flummox our senses, intriguing us all the more. While by now we can discern our preferences when it comes to the great masters, understanding contemporary artists requires paying attention to the emerging art scene. Not to despair, for there are many ways to make your home a sanctuary of art. 

There are many aspects to consider before you embark on your journey to art connoisseur. Do you want to build a legacy? Are you on a quest to discover art that speaks to you? Here, some ideas to help you on your way:

Photo credits: Pinterest

Plan the space
Know your home or office intimately to plan the number of pieces, size and perspective that will affect the display of your prized collection. It helps to chart a layout so you don’t invest in a stunning piece, only to find the proportions don’t work. Planning is key, for the way you showcase your art has as much bearing on its impact as its provenance.

Photo credits: Possible Decor (L); Pinosy (R)

Choose a theme
Are you a postmodernist or a neoclassicist? Mixed media or portrait photography? Does your collection come with a cause? Are you inspired by the thought of a collection of women artists? Browse local galleries and museums to understand your personal likes and dislikes.

Photo credits: Trip Advisor

Do your research
There are a number of websites that can help you research. has a vast online catalogue of prints and originals categorised by period and artist. Browse their website to identify the artists and pieces that move you. Continue your research with 101: A Guide to 101 Modern and Contemporary Artists, which lists lesser known pieces by famous artists in addition to brief bios and summaries of major art movements. Keep in mind that research now will spare you heartache later.

Photo credits: Deskgram (L); Studio Giancarlo Valle (R)

Can you live with it?
Print out colour copies of your chosen art and hang them up, see if it works in your space. More importantly see if you can live your choices, that print of paint swirls in magnetic colours might look great on your desktop but prove an eyesore in your kitchen. Also, remember that your collection will grow with you and your tastes will evolve, so don’t collect too much too soon.

From the India Art Fair to the Kochi Biennale, there are plenty of opportunities across the country for you to experience art first hand. Make a tour of local exhibitions, check out galleries wherever you travel and absorb it all. A practiced eye develops with time and rigour, and soon that collection will take on a life of its own! 

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