Love art? Tips for starting your collection

Love art? Tips for starting your collection

Parlez-vous Francais? Huff Harrington Paris is hiring! Reading Love art? Tips for starting your collection 6 minutes Next Design Thoughts for 2024

We get questions all the time from clients and friends who love art and want to start their own collection - but are a little stymied about how and where to start.

We've got you covered! Keep reading for a few handy tips for those of you who are just getting started - or maybe have already started and you're ready to add to your existing collection.

Buy what you love

This is truly the fundamental anchor for your curated art collection.  If you buy what you love, we promise you'll always have a spot for it and it will always get your heart racing. Don't worry about pedigree, provenance or if the piece will make you a jillion dollars if you sell it at some point.  Consider it a new part of your family - and you're never letting it go. 

One of our favorite jobs is buying art for the gallery while we're scouring the flea markets in France. The older, crustier and crunchier, the better.  We always say: don't overthink  it and let your heart do the talking.

Some pieces that we picked up in Paris for our Heritage collection - how could we NOT buy them?

There are no rules

This is the second fundamental anchor for your art collection. Don't fret about matching your sofa, your wall color or the pillows on your club chairs.  If the piece speaks to you, you need to listen.  When you throw the rules out the window, your collection becomes much more authentic and personal.

HHFA artist Colleen Leach.

Buy original

We know. Original art is expensive. It’s a commitment and an investment. If you have a space that needs to be filled and the timing isn’t right, may we politely suggest you don’t fill it with a print, giclee or copy.  These have no value and will definitely not fill you with passion.  Try hanging something else like beautifully framed family photographs or textiles.

Is it okay to mix styles?

We love the idea of mixing painting styles and purposely hang that way at our gallery.  At home, we think this is the first clue that you are a serious and committed art lover and collector.  Not only does a variety of styles and media add great interest and depth to a collection, but it can reflect a natural evolvement of a collector’s personal taste.  It all goes back to building a collection based on what you love.

A nice mix of styles on our walls at Huff Harrington Fine Art.

Visit galleries

Find some galleries that you like. Maybe you love the style of art they hang. Or you love the physical space of the gallery. Or you find the staff to be friendly and helpful. 

We have always felt that our most important job as gallerists is to be disseminators of information about the artist: their background and art education, their techniques, the media they use and basically, what makes them tick. What we won’t ever do is lead you to a painting and tell you how much you’re going to love it. Art is incredibly subjective and what we love, you may be luke warm at best.

Ask lots of questions: what is the artist conveying here? Why is it compositionally interesting? What does it mean if this piece was painted en plein air.  And, please explain this abstract painting to me.

We love talking about the artists, their work and what inspires them. It’s our passion.

Meet the artist

If the gallery you like is having a show for an artist you’re piqued by, go.  Meeting the artist gives the art an added dimension that goes beyond the composition, color, subject or style of the piece. It really brings the art to life – and if you’re buying an original work of art, it’s good to know all about the hand that created it.

HHFA artist Geri Eubanks at the gallery.

Buy on vacay

You’re relaxed. You’re in a happy place. Maybe you’ve just had a wine-y lunch and you stumble on a sweet little gallery and find a piece that makes you smile. Buy it! You’ll always remember that feeling when you feast your eyes on the painting.

Treasure hunting for art on one of our Paris buying trips.

Try it on

Most galleries, including us, will encourage you to take a piece home to see how it fits in your space.  We recommend at least 24 to 48 hours so you can see it in all different lights at different times of the day and night.

Where should I hang my collection?

Everywhere!  Our guide is always to put things where you will enjoy them.  So, if you spend time at your kitchen sink, hang one of your favorite paintings so you can see it.  Or if you like to sit and read in a chair, hang a painting low so that you can appreciate it from your chair.  If you spend a lot of time at your desk, put one of your favorite paintings on a little easel. Mudrooms, powder baths, closets and stairwells are other spaces that are frequently overlooked. There are no rules except to hang art where you can most appreciate it.

Yes to art in the bathroom! (Erica George Dines for Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles)

Yes to art in little reading nooks! (Erica George Dines for Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles)

Yes to hanging art low so you can see it from wherever you're seated!

Will my art collection enhance my life?

Sam Jones, one of our long term employees at the store and gallery, said it best: “Art can make you smile, laugh, cry, bring back memories, calm you down, perk you up, change your attitude, give you attitude, confuse you, inspire you, entertain you, transport you, perhaps even change your life....or at least the way you look at your life.  Art should be your drug of choice.  And it's a lot cheaper than therapy.” 

We second that and simply can’t imagine the void our lives and culture would have without art in all its glorious forms.

Ta ta.


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