When my wife and I were first married, we spent many weekends searching for art and antiques at auctions, antique shops and thrift shops. We never spent a lot of money on anything we bought and, after a few years, our New England home was full of wonderful 18th and 19th century pieces. Indeed, we found that buying antiques was actually much less expensive, and a lot more fun, than buying new furniture or artwork.
When we moved south, we sold most of our furniture. We had too much to move it all to our new home and we did not believe that the charm of 175 year old furnishings would really be appropriate for our new home in Florida. As a result, our local antique dealer visited our home one day and bought just about everything that my wife and I then owned.
Yes, we sold all of our treasures — almost all of it, anyway. We did not sell our artwork. My wife and I have always loved old canvasses. The artists need not be listed artists. We just need to like the images that they have created. My wife has always studied art and I once worked in a museum so we both like to think that we have good eyes for quality. We also believed that our art could “work” in any environment. We were correct; our home in Florida is now full of “Yankee” art works that are just as home here as they were in Boston.
If you are starting out with a new home, or if you just want to update the look of your current home, adding paintings, etchings and other artistic images to your walls can do wonders, but it does not have to cost you a lot. Here are some of the places that you can look for art, without having to pay the high costs of an art gallery.
Antique Stores: A painting that is not historically significant can still be a good painting. Also, antique store owners often do not know how to price paintings commensurate with their value. If you keep your eyes open, you can find a lot of great bargains.
Auctions: Auctions have always generated great results for my wife and me. Try to find auctions that are offering items without a reserve (minimum price). I have a small collection of Wallace Nutting works, including one that I found for $5 at an auction. Its value is more in the range of $150 so I got a great deal.
Thrift Shops: There are always values to be found in thrift shops. Most readers here know that already. Nevertheless, have you ever thought to look at the dusty prints and the occasional framed canvas? You never know what you will find.
Art Schools: Young artists will often be thrilled to find anyone to purchase their works. Visit local art schools and let the instructors know what you are looking to buy. You may find that you can affordably acquire the work of a future great master!
Craft Shops: You may be able to find ways to create your own art. If you learn how to professionally frame your own projects, you may find that you can develop your craft as a photographer, painter or craftsman so that your home can become your own show room.
Do you have any artwork in your home? Where do you like to search for art? How do you learn about art so that you know what you are buying and whether you are getting a good value?