How to collect Chinese Art

If this week's special China-themed Paul Fraser Collectibles newsletter has whet your appetite to get involved in Chinese collectibles... then we don't blame you.

From art, to porcelain, to rare stamps, China's distinctive artefacts are quite unlike anything else in the world.

Let's focus on Chinese art for moment.

Here are some handy tips to help you take your first steps into collecting Chinese art, and plan your way to developing a unique passion that will enrich your life.

Educate yourself

Like all the best collectibles, Chinese art requires an impassioned interest.

Define your interests - your niche, if you like - to begin planning the collection that is right for you.

You can do this by studying Chinese history, culture and the arts. Maybe start by reading an overview of Chinese art, subscribe to an Asian art magazine, investigate your local library, or talk with a Chinese art expert.

See as many artworks as possible

Visit galleries and museums - good places include the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington DC and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

Many other museums have permanent Chinese art exhibitions, or temporary Asian displays so find out what is happening near to where you live. There are also a number of online galleries specialising in Asian art.

Go to China

If you can, book Asia as your next holiday. Places to visit include the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Hong Kong museum of Art, or the National Palace Museum in Teipei, Taiwan.

The Dashanzi Art District in Beijing is a fantastic place to find works by up-and-coming artists.

Seek out hand-painted artworks in the mid-range market

As a new collector, you can buy wisely with modern works in the style of old masters, or contemporary artworks which reflect China's best artistic traditions.

At recent auctions, the value of Chinese paintings in these categories has been growing fast.

Research the artist

For instance, seek out biographical information. Decent galleries will provide detailed information alongside their artworks.

It is also worth seeking out reputed artists who've yet to break out into the international scene. Keep an eye on artists who are famous in their region of China.

Be mindful of quality

Read item descriptions carefully, as well as information on the artist. Closely examine any pictures that the seller sends, or closely inspect the object itself and note any imperfections.

Don't compete with wealthy non-Chinese art collectors

...unless you have the capital. American and Swiss buyers are still major players in the auction rooms for Chinese art.

If you see something that you like, grab it before it is gone

It is getting more and more difficult to find Chinese objects of collectible quality.

So, if you see something that's unique, realistically priced, that catches your eye and stirs your passions - and you've done your homework - then grab it before someone else does.

Watch your budget

This may sound like obvious advice, but Chinese art can stir passion and addiction in even the hardest souls. Plan out your spending capacity for your prospective first year of collecting.

And our final piece of advice..

Enjoy yourself!

PS. Click here to sign up to our free weekly newsletter for all the latest from the art world.


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