1.) Only buy what you like. Don’t put your money on a work you don’t like, no matter how big the name.
2.) Who you talk to matters. Get to know good collectors and build a relationship of trust with art galleries, so that you can call upon them for good advice. If you have friends who purchase art, get opinions on who they like.
3.) Do a lot of background work. Check on the Internet, or source auction catalogues to get a realistic idea of the worth of a particular work or artist. The Net is also an unbiased, if unwieldy, source of information.
4.) Every gallery has a large amount of inventory of artworks left over from previous exhibitions. The inventory contains a wider selection of works and, if the prices of certain works have not been updated, offers better prices as well. So, always ask to see a gallerist’s stock.
5.) Whether photographs, paintings or prints, it’s important to see the quality of the work, the kind of surface it has been printed on, and take a look at the previous work of the artist to see his history and the thought behind each work.
6.) Serious collectors of upcoming artists should pay regular visits to art schools to check out student work. All art schools conduct exhibitions of final year students etc. These are great opportunities to get in before the market gets them.
7.) Young artists will also do especially commissioned works for buyers.
8.) Trawl public galleries and spaces that show low-budget works to locate interesting works by lesser-known artists.
9.) Look at the price history of a particular artist to get an idea of market value appreciation.
10.) You have a right to ask for options, so talk to the galleries and ask to see choices within your price range, or of a particular artist.
11.) Most artists are easily approachable. And though most artists only sell through galleries, use exhibitions and openings as an opportunity to meet directly with the artists and talk to them about their work—or where to look for upcoming works.