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Editorials - Collect Quality | How Tube Paint Changed Art History | Milling Hardwood Panels for Painting

Collect Quality

Kathleen Knight, Collector and Dealer

Quality is the single characteristic that every collector of art objects should understand and discipline themselves, never to deviate from. The definition of quality depends upon the category of objects the collector is seeking to acquire. A collector who wishes to view quality examples, needs only to visit a number of galleries in major cities.

The collector can benefit from the expertise of the gallery staff because they have preselected quality art, which they present. For most collectors, purchasing art from a well-known gallery, is the preferred method of acquisition.

How might one proceed? First, a collector should acquire a thorough understanding of the particular artistic style he intends to collect. Once able to identify these elements, a collector will have the knowledge to make purchases that are long standing. Blind faith purchases from even well-known dealers are not prudent.

Quality is, indeed, a subjective term and reflects the bias and experience of the observer. There are, however, several considerations in discerning quality. The first is the initial visual response, followed by condition, style, statue of the artist and exhibition records are also part of the determination of quality. It is the totality of the work that adds to this judgement.

In the final analysis, the choice and decision about quality should rest with the collector. Expert opinions by others to add to one’s body of knowledge but not to make the judgment for acquisition. Quality for the experienced collector is easier to recognize than to articulate.


Like most collectors, I am indebted to a great number of art historians, dealers, museum curators and colleagues with similar acquisition interests.

35 Main Street, Nantucket, MA 02554