How to Start an Art Collection
We talk to local experts about places to buy, ideas for framing your magnificent masterpieces, and more.
Patrick Collins, with wife Lindsey
How it started: Sometime in high school I got really interested in art. When my friends were writing history papers on wars and political events, I wrote mine on Dada. I went to Columbia as an undergraduate and took a class with Rosalind Krauss, as well as many other art history classes. I was a history major, but art history was my minor, kind of. I got very interested in it then. When I was in my mid-20s, I picked up the phone and called Deitch Projects and bought a painting.
When we became “collectors”: Very quickly it became something that I was very passionate about. At some point, just about a couple of years ago, my wife and I thought, we really don’t need more stuff just for ourselves. We really care about the artists and the relationships we’ve made—and helping people of our generation realize what they want to do in terms of their work. We still buy, but we’re more interested in doing things on a project basis or working directly with artists on projects and building something that could be important for them.
Changing course: Our collection took on a different bent—it was a collection for a collection’s sake. It just wasn’t what we wanted to do. I’m trying to not get too caught up in the frenzy of the commercialized art world. We started working with two young consultants, Baker Montgomery and Spencer Young, who both have advanced art degrees and have worked in the gallery world. I still don’t know what the ultimate goal is. I just want the work to be seen as much as possible. So we’re always trying to help artists get their work in shows or show the work that we helped them make. A lot of this is still taking shape.
Our advice: We started by going to a lot of art fairs, because I think you need to look a lot before you buy. I definitely made some mistakes early on, not knowing enough. I’d buy things and later find out it was a little too easy or I should have thought a little more about it.
Favorite local spot: Grange Hall. They always find amazing, interesting, and very different items from all over the world. I find great presents for Lindsey there, and I buy gifts for many of my friends and family there as well. And when I need to send flowers, that’s where I go.
My first purchase: A Bridget Riley painting from 1982. I was beginning to collect, and I really connected to this piece of art. It is when she began to explore color and contrast after a trip to Egypt.
When I became a “collector”: Ten years ago while working with my art consultant, Aphrodite Gonou, I learned that collecting was an integral part of buying art. Although one should always buy what one loves, it is important to have a sense of the art and how the pieces relate to each other. Collecting helps you focus on that relationship.
My collection: I have collected contemporary British art, and fortunately, I have had personal, unprecedented access to these artists. The Goss-Michael collection not only focuses on the Young British Artists (YBAs). We have collected works by artists such as Richard Long and Bridget Riley that represent the previous generation. I am a great admirer and personal friend of Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, and all of the YBAs. I am very keen on what they do and still represent in the art world today. With that said, we are equally interested in new artists and have been working with dealers and advisers to gain access to this new generation. My interest—and that of the Goss-Michael Foundation—is to promote these talents, both old and new, in America.
My advice: Buy work you love and have a focus. Learn about the artist. Enjoy what you buy.
Favorite local spot: Grange Hall. It encompasses creativity for the home and for gift-giving. And it brings an elegant, Euro-centric selection of items to Dallas.