Collecting vs. Buying Art – What Constitutes an Art Collection?

The world is infused with art aficionados who can unearth the history, culture, and stories that lie behind a piece of art. This means many also harbor the desire to own and preserve such heritage, giving rise to art collections.

But, what is the difference between simply buying art and curating a synchronized art collection? This is usually when people get confused as an art collection is not a random agglomeration of artworks but one that strings together a specific narrative or theme.

While buying art without having a particular pattern in mind is not a crime but it can’t be deemed worthy of an enormous art collection maintained over years. But, fret not art enthusiasts as we will lay out what you need to make an art collection.

Picking a Theme (and Sticking with it)

The first step lays the groundwork on which your whole art collection will stand tall on. You need to find a focal point according to which you will buy and arrange your artworks. This could be anything from a particular art movement to a specific period or era to a preferred master artist.

This practice does not only organize the artworks or make them aesthetically appealing but also makes it easier for the onlooker to completely comprehend the pattern. Suppose, you have decided to dedicate the collection to Impressionist works, you flood it with artists like Claude Oscar Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and more.

Impressionism Sunrise by Claude Oscar Monet

Sunrise by Claude Oscar Monet


Talking about Impressionism is not worth a penny if Monet does not come up. This is so because the art movement owes its namesake to this spectacular painting, Impressionism Sunrise. This displays the quick, thin brushstrokes of Impressionistic style along with his patented sparkling water effect.

The Street, The Yellow House

The Street, The Yellow House

Vincent Van Gogh had a hauntingly brilliant mind which he poured out on canvas in an even more beautiful way. When he first came to Paris, he was drawn to Impressionism upon glancing at the works of Monet and Renoir. He then churned paintings like The Street, The Yellow House which displayed the quick color dabs and the loud color palette of Impressionism.

Luncheon of The Boating Party

Luncheon of The Boating Party

Pierre Auguste Renoir was a fellow Impressionist too whose contemporaries including Monet, both of whom drew a lot of inspiration from one another. Impressionist style is wholly immersed in the Luncheon of the Boating Party, particularly evident from the visible throws of hues. His work in detailed foliage and his entanglement with elements of light as well as the shadow are also at display in this masterpiece.

Displaying the Art Pieces and the Style of Placement

Acquiring artworks according to the work is only half the work. We say this as the next step including placing the acquired works in a powerful yet subtle way is an art of its own. This would entail breaking down of components to keep in mind while placement which is as follows:

Dissemination of Information

We must not forget in this process that its purpose is to throw knowledge about the artwork. While the desire to display all the artworks from say, a particular artist is both feasibly impossible and redundant.

We say redundant because it defeats the purpose of a curated art collection as it throws all the artworks at you. You must ensure that you don’t overwhelm the onlookers with too many paintings but just the right enough to throw light on your central theme.

Colour Palette

Another thing to keep in mind while drawing a layout of the collection is how it catches the eye. Having a color palette hence becomes an aesthetic necessity for the art collection to overall jazz up its whole appeal.

You can select the color palette as per a personal favorite or a hue famous in the respective era referred to. You could rely on science as it says yellow is the most noticeable color to the human eye which makes it a preference and always a running theme in Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings as well. If you keep your art in a commercial space, hire the right commercial painter to make sure your space looks great.

Logistical Arrangements

Aesthetics have an enormous role to play when it comes to interior decorating and placement, making it relevant in this case as well. There is huge scope to enhance the whole experience of art viewing through interior elements.

To say the least, light fixtures and spotlight hangings can focus all the attention on your showstopper piece. Similarly, you must choose whether you want the wall paints to match, contrast or color block the artworks that they hold.

The Bottom Line

Enthusiastically being an art buyer, picking up pieces of history and hoarding it to live in its glory day and night is a choice that many make. But, there are only some who rather than erratically purchasing paintings like to burn the midnight oil and transcend them into a well-thought-out art collection. While an art collection may rob you of awfully long hours and efforts, it ensures that you leave back a legacy as remotely close to the artists who hang in it.