Matthews Gallery- Free Art Collecting Workshop

It’s a beautiful spring here in Santa Fe, and Lawrence has been busy refining the program for next week’s Collector’s Forum Workshop. These free events are for anyone who’s ever considered buying, selling or caring for fine art and has questions about the inner workings of the art world. Read on for a sneak peek at Lawrence’s art collecting tips, and contact us to reserve your seat at the workshop. The event takes place at Matthews Gallery on April 17 at 5:00 pm. 


Building your collection means refining your “eye”, that is, seeing what makes great art great. It also means honing in on the artists and genres you admire most. The best way to do this of course is to visit museums, galleries and auction sales rooms.

Watch for exhibition notices and make it a point to visit those venues that are showing artists and periods you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – education is a big part of what a gallery or museum does and employees can be a tremendous asset to helping you gain information. They can also suggest additional venues and resources

Matthews Gallery- Free Art Collecting Workshop


There are two basic art markets – Primary and Secondary. The primary market is work by living artists. The secondary market is work that is being resold either by dealers or auction houses.

Everyone wants to make the best deal possible when buying artwork. However, if you focus primarily on price with less regard for the quality of the work you will acquire a collection of mediocre art. It’s better to have fewer pieces of higher quality than a lot of artwork with less quality.

Matthews Gallery- Free Art Collecting Workshop


Matthew Horowitz of Goldleaf Framemakers will appear at the forum to talk about caring for your art. He has collaborated with us on workshops before, and always leads with a very important tip: be observant. Make sure to inspect your art for wear and tear regularly, so that you can catch conservation issues while they’re relatively small.

Here are some things to look for during your inspection:

  • Dull colors or missing paint
  • Surface dirt and grime
  • Fading pigments or cracked paint
  • Warped, torn or brittle canvas
Matthews Gallery- Free Art Collecting Workshop


If you are selling outright to a dealer they are going to be looking for wholesale prices. If you consign artwork for sale with a dealer you will receive either a percentage of the sale or an agreed upon net price when the work is sold. Selling through a dealer has advantages – it is more private than an auction, sometimes the work can be sold quicker because the seller doesn’t have to wait for an auction date and sometimes a dealer can get a higher price for it.

If you are selling work through an auction house you will pay a seller’s commission, typically between 15 – 25 %, also catalog fees, insurance fees, and shipping fees. You will also need to wait until the appropriate themed auction is being held.

You can engage the services of a Dealer to assist you with researching the best auction house and handling all the negotiations and paperwork. Typically the dealer will charge a nominal fee for these services and may help you get a better seller’s commission rate and a better sales result because of their knowledge of the market.

For more many more art collecting tips, make sure to RSVP for the April 17 workshop! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for daily gallery news.