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The Art of Collecting


“Cracked Diana” by Roberto Santos, bronze

“Beyond October” by Karen Vance, oil on Belgian linen

Every art collector has a story about that very first purchase. Natalie Rekstad-Lynn, founder of Denver's annual Salon du Musée art exhibition, spent 12 months paying off a watercolor by Molly Davis. “I just couldn't live without it,” she says. The first piece Pany and Devon Dikeou bought to begin the Dikeou Collection—a public display of cutting-edge contemporary works in downtown Denver—was Simon Periton's “Anarchy Doily,” a cut-paper construction. Pany tells visitors to the collection: “At first, I thought it might be a dubious choice. Now it's one of my favorites.”

Romantic as these purchases may seem, smart collectors find a way to marry their passion for art with purpose, so that they're building collections that aren't merely random assortments. “Ideally, you find a focus that you love for your collection, and then you create depth within that focus,” Rekstad-Lynn says. “Certainly collectors' tastes evolve over time, but there's often room in a particular genre for that evolution.”

But finding your focus and building a collection can seem a little daunting, whether you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector looking to add dimension to your collection. In our November/December issue, we've gathered advice from leaders in Colorado's art community to help you build a collection of substance. Turn there for guidance, and take these suggestions from artist and curator Devon Dikeou on how to get started:

Ready to learn more about the art world? We've got the resources for you, recommended by Devon Dikeou, artist and curator of the Dikeou Collection in downtown Denver.

  • Read local daily and weekly newspapers' arts sections to learn about your art community.
  • Read international art publications, such as Art Forum, Art in America, Freize and the Friday New York Times.
  • Sign up for emailed newsletters that will let you know about openings. (Go to zingmagazine.com, which Dikeou edits, to subscribe to a top-notch, Denver-focused e-newsletter.)
  • Follow the auction houses, such as Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips de Pury. Each publishes catalogues available for purchase; you can also track recent sales on the companies' websites.
  • Read other collectors' perspectives: Peggy Guggenheim's Out of This Century, Adam Lindemann's Collecting Contemporary and Paige West's The Art of Buying Art are all good resources.

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