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If you are one of the privileged few, having been very fortunate, you probably own at least two homes (one of them will be a large villa, or mansion) and possibly one of them is abroad. You will have paid a top architect and an interior designer, to create your most valued palace, and specialist landscape gardeners will manage your gardens so that everything is beautiful . . . the rest of us can just dream on!  

But how then do you go about adding your own personal statement to your magnificent home?  This is when works of art are considered; again you can call on the experts too and pay an art consultant, or specialist to guide you.  But eventually there will come a time when you will want to buy and display your own choice of picture.  What then are your main options?

Some have chosen to buy the most expensive picture they can possibly find, simply to show off that they can afford it.  Just think of the new owner of 'The Scream' that was recently purchased for a record price of $119.9 million, as an example.  Was it bought because of loving it, or as an investment, or to demonstrate that the owner could afford it?  I do not think there are many that could love it!  In the past many of the most highly expensive contemporary pictures have never been resold, without making rather a big loss, so the investment angle seems to be unlikely.

Whatever is considered great in contemporary art is subject to change; it is only great at a particular time, mainly because the amount paid says that it is!  There are only a few names that have survived the test of time; such as Picasso, or Andy Warhol, but many others eventually simply fall by the wayside.

If you are not so inclined to simply buy the most expensive art you can find, you then have many other choices.  But the art you choose will say something about you; so you should make sure it is one of the focal points of your home and given pride of place, as well as being something that you enjoy.

When thinking about the value of various artists' works, as many unknowns over time can suddenly become sought after, whilst others in big demand can go out of fashion.  The best advice is to simply follow your heart – not your head, nor the experts.

Today you no longer need to rely on art galleries, trying to sell you what they consider are the finest ever, since the Internet provides so many art galleries, from all over the world, allowing you to view at leisure (24 hours a day) and without having to bother with any sales pitch.  But more interestingly, there are very original, excellent artists that now have their own sites making exploring and hunting Internationally a practical option.

Beware of so many experts, making a living by convincing others that they know about art, even though they have never created anything themselves.  The art world is really such a very fickle business, mostly influenced by the latest auction results and the amount of money paid.  Experts talk a lot and come up with various theories, all based on what has sold recently, mainly to maintain their own life style.  But they really have no idea of what will be fashionable next.

With regard to pictures does it have to be an original painting, or could it be a limited edition print?  It has been said that limited edition prints are mainly for those who have a lot more taste.  Today limited edition prints are highly respected, valued as highly as paintings, and often they have appreciated in value too.  So the choice is yours.

So if you want a less expensive work than a Picasso, or an Andy Warholl, yet at the same time you hope your chosen artist might well be discovered big time and prove that you made a great investment.  Then what should you be looking for?

Whilst I am not making any claims to be any kind of expert, I have been a keen collector for many years of various art forms and antiques (that mostly have increased greatly in value) and so I hope that sharing my instincts will be of some help to you.  Obviously, just in case the picture you end up choosing doesn't jump up in value, it is most important that you really like your choice, as you will be living with it.

In times when currencies are at risk and the stock market fails to do well, the chances of success (by choosing the right artist) are far better than those with the Lottery!  

Here are a couple of suggestions of how to begin the selection process: -
· Look for something artistic that you find attractive and beautiful, preferably a picture you feel sure your friends will admire and comment on.
· It is best to choose an inspiring picture, that makes a statement, or that has something fascinating about it.

Then how should you assess your choice of artist, if you want to have the best chance of your artist becoming suddenly famous and priceless?   To have any such chance of succeeding your artist: -
· Needs to have developed a recognisable different style, or show exceptional original creativity.
· Should have already created a reasonable number of works that demonstrate consistent originality.
· Should already have received some recognition, from having held several important one-man exhibitions and received already some worthwhile press, or write-ups.

Should your picture be chosen simply because it is something beautiful, the right colour, something dramatic, classical, or should it be of flowers, a portrait, a scene, or an abstract?  How should you decide?

Well really no one can tell you!  You should simply choose what attracts you and only buy what you really like, or rely on your wife, husband, or partner.  Otherwise, if you dare not back your own judgement, pay the experts, but then is what you call home really your own?

The author has been a very keen Asian antique collector for many years helping to create 'The Cohen Collection' but he is also an artist.  For much more information with lots of photographs see

To keep informed please join John Neville Cohen's Facebook Fan Page…
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Submitted on
August 30, 2012


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