The Art of Collecting – Emerging, Established or Listed Artists? The Art of Collecting – Emerging, Established or Listed Artists?

Collecting art can be an exciting and fulfilling endeavor, because art adds so much to your home and everyday life. When starting out, it’s safe to define certain criteria for the collection you want to build. This will help you focus and benefit the strength of the collection if it has a cohesive theme. There are different advantages and disadvantages to collecting works by either emerging or established artists. In this article we will discuss some of the pros and cons for your art collecting strategy.


Armando Lerma presents his first series as a solo artist at ACE Gallery, 5514 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 2017. Source:  

Collecting Emerging Artists

Acquiring works by emerging artists can be rewarding because there is an element of discovery and you are playing an important role in supporting that artist’s career. Many emerging artists have a fresh, avant-garde style or technique. Their works are also more affordable than that of more established artists. Be cautious when buying works from an untested artist. An emerging artist can be hot one day and gone the next. This makes your investment in their work a higher risk if you expect the value of your collection to grow over time. Purchasing works very early in an artist’s career can be risky as well. Their style is likely still developing and an early work may be less desirable if they become known for a different aesthetic later in their career.

Being an artist is a difficult career and as a result there are more emerging artists than those who truly become established. With so much talent out there it can be confusing about how to choose the best for your collection. Befriend art galleries that represent emerging artists that fit your taste. A good art gallery can be a valuable source for learning. Look at a lot of art online and in art magazines to better understand trends and which artists are beginning to get noticed by art world authorities. It’s a good idea to follow an artist for a while to see how active they are in both producing and exhibiting their art.


Also, their exhibition history should be of interest. If they have shown their work at all, it’s good to know where and in what capacity. What may be more important is a public exhibition curated by a museum or a larger foundation. If an artist is selected to appear in such a group show, it means their work is starting to get recognized for its quality. Finally, every keen emerging art explorer might want to take media coverage with a pinch of salt. The majority of new media is either focused on local scenes, or influenced by trends, so if a name of an interesting artist shows up online or in print, this does not mean they are instantly a hit. On the contrary, there might still be a hidden gem somewhere outside of the public eye, waiting to be discovered. Furthermore, keeping connections with other collectors with shared interest may prove to be a great source of information and an indicator for future tendencies in collecting.

In the end, If you decide your collection will include emerging artists, always buy artworks that you love and connect with on a deeper level. This way you can’t loose.


General Idea, Evidence of Body Binding, 1971. Courtesy of Esther Schipper. Source:

Collecting Established Artists

Collecting art of established artists means your collection can have increased prestige and reduced risk on investment. They have already proven their technical abilities and artistic vision. It is more likely their works will increase in value over time as they have built a strong collector base, through exhibitions and critiques. In some cases, established artists are already being associated with art movements or categories that could have a lasting contribution in art history. In the process of educating yourself about a particular established artist, you will find you have greater resources and more factual vs speculative information to use. You will also be able to see more examples of their work to see how their style or technique has evolved and improved over the course of their career.

With notoriety comes higher prices. You may also find available works will be more difficult to find. Dealers may hold works back waiting for a particular collector or art fair. Again, find a dealer or consultant that can help you navigate the process of finding and choosing quality works. They will also be able to advise you which pieces over an artist’s career will likely have lasting value and best fit your collecting criteria.


Artworks © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved. DACS 2018. Source:


Listed Artists

Beyond the established artists, we can find the listed artists. This term is used frequently within auction houses and by appraisers. A listed artist generally means one that is listed in databases of secondary auction sales, such as AskArtAskArtArtnetArtnet or ArtPriceArtPrice. Others in the art world may use the term to distinguish those artists who have had a successful career from those who have contributed to the development of an important art movement. These artists are the stars of art history and are prized by both collectors and institutions alike. Building a collection that includes important listed artists means you can track an artist’s price history on the secondary market. This allows you to make better investment decisions and spot market trends. Listed artists are often in higher demand and can contribute to a prestigious collection of art. However, depending on the artist, collecting their work requires buyer due diligence to ensure you are buying wisely. After all, the more important the artist or artwork, the greater the opportunity for corruption.

Focus on Your Collection as a Whole

A vast majority of art collectors agree that they are not in it for the money. Many of them wealthy, they show sincere appreciation for the arts by supporting a large number of artists in different ways. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to say that their collections don’t become more valuable over time, especially if carefully curated. Focusing on a collection as a whole is something an emerging art collector should also do, regardless of their budget.

The key to collecting art of emerging, established or important listed artists is to educate yourself on the artist and global market. You should know where to look for quality artworks and how to get sound advice from experts. We encourage you to constantly be training your eye to recognize true quality over trendy hype through museums, exhibitions, art magazines, galleries and auctions. Also, one of the best ways to start a collection is definitely an art fair that promotes affordable art.


If you are thinking of starting a collection or simply fine tuning your criteria, The Art Dose would like to help you in the process. Call or send an email to our curator, to discuss your goals and how we can help you through the process. We promise you won’t regret it!



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Katherine |
Ana Bambić Kostov |