Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Design dilemma: Advice for the first time art investor

Is Dh10,000 enough to start a collection?

Make Alserkal Avenue your first stop. Reem Mohammed / The National
Make Alserkal Avenue your first stop. Reem Mohammed / The National

If someone wanted to invest in their first piece of original art, would a budget of around Dh10,000 suffice? Could you get anything worthwhile for that amount, and what advice would you offer to a first-time buyer?

I have worked with many first-time collectors and more often than not my clients are left pleasantly surprised after our discussions about budget, because in today’s dynamic art market, one does not need to be a millionaire in order to be an art collector. With a budget of AED10,000, a young collector can choose between prints, photography or works on paper.

If you are living in the UAE, head to to Al Serkal Avenue in Dubai, and take the time to go and view the works that are on display at the galleries there. Although AED10,000 is not chump change, it may be a stretch for any secondary market pieces and, therefore, the galleries should be your first point of contact. There are many young, talented artists who are represented by Dubai-based galleries, whose works are of a very high calibre and may fall within the budget.

Make sure you visit Grey Noise, IVDE, Carbon 12 and The Third Line. I encourage you to go to the galleries and ask questions like: “I have a budget of Dh10,000, would you happen to have any available artworks I can look at?”.

Information and research are an imperative part of collecting art and in an emerging market such as this, you will find there is an array of beautiful, investment-worthy artworks waiting to be collected. Gulf Photo Plus is another great option; you will find a sizeable selection of prints and photographs for almost every taste.

Do not be discouraged by a relatively small budget for your first artwork. One of the most remarkable stories in the art world is that of collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, a postal clerk from Harlem and a librarian at the Brooklyn Library who collected thousands of [now] priceless artworks from the time of their marriage in 1962. As civil servants, the Vogels certainly did not begin collecting for money, but for love, and today theirs is one of the most prominent collections in the United States.

Salma Shaheem, joint venture partner and head of Middle Eastern markets at The Fine Art Group, www.fineartgroup.com

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Updated: July 15, 2017 12:15 PM