by Dr. Lori Verderame
Collect What’s Coming!
When it comes to collecting works of art or antiques, my years of experience in museums and as an appraiser have taught me some important lessons. My first bit of advice is to collect what’s coming. What does that mean? Collect those objects that are sure to be part of the next art or antiques revival. Trends are temporary, but history and the objects that highlight history hold their value.
Don’t you wish you bought up all that mid century modern, circa 1950s-1960s era, furniture that was so accessible and cheap in the 1990s-2000s? Today, those Eames chairs, Knoll tables, and Sunburst clocks are going for sky high prices.
A longtime topic of interest and research area for many collectors is American art of the post war period. I suggested that collectors take a hard look at Abstract Expressionist painting and sculpture from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. The market for these objects shows that now is the time to buy for works by Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, David Smith, Seymour Lipton, Richard Serra, Harry Bertoia, and others. This collecting category has enjoyed great movement, unexpected sales records, and market watchers expect this category to continue to forge ahead.
Avoid amassing a diverse assembly of unrelated works of art or antiques (also known as “eclectic collecting”) and collect a few specific items. Collecting a lot of diverse objects isn’t collecting, it’s clutter.
On the occasion of a famous person’s birthday or the celebration of a milestone anniversary, it is a good idea to consider collecting related art and antiques objects. For instance, in 1922 there was a great interest in all things surrounding the ancient Egyptians as the art world celebrated the opening of King Tut’s tomb. And in 2022, the Egyptian revival period reaches its 100th anniversary spiking values for art and antiques of that type. The antiques market is about timing as much as it is about treasure hunting. As we collect contemporary and vintage objects, remember, history is the best teacher.