The art market incorporates a wide cross section of society.
It is not just an exclusive club for the very wealthy who collect masterpieces.
Masterpieces just represent the very top end of the market.
Pictures acquired more for their aesthetic value than investment value can be bought for modest sums in the saleroom.
Pictures fall into three categories prints, painting and drawings. Prints are the most inexpensive form of picture collecting. Prints embrace a wide range of types, subjects and periods.
Paintings fall into two categories watercolours and oil paintings. Watercolours, pigments bound in a water-soluble gum, produce delicate paintings. Watercolours were often used for small scale pictures on absorbent paper. Watercolours are often seen, although in recent years this has changed slightly, as the poor man’s cousin compared to oil paintings. Oil paint was first developed during the Renaissance. Oil paintings are often completed on stretched canvas although it is not uncommon to find them on wooden panels. Oil paint can be built up in thick layers so that the texture of the paint itself contributes to the quality of the picture. Oil paint can be rich and dark; the colours can easily be mixed into one another.
Drawings can fall into a similar price bracket of prints, although they are often slightly more expensive. An original antique drawing will cost less than a water colour or oil by the same artist. Drawing types include pencil, ink, chalk, pastel, charcoal and crayon.
When buying pictures avoid pictures on very thin delicate paper as they are difficult to restore. Torn prints and drawings on ordinary weight paper can be mended, but repairs are rarely invisible, so expect a large reduction in price.
If you buy artwork unframed do not pay a lot for a print that has been glued to its backing board. It will not always be possible to soak it off for renovation.