The Four Tribes of Art Collectors

Artsy | By Evan Beard

The most enjoyable part of leading the art division of a private bank is working with the great characters of the art market. In my experience, serious collectors tend to fall into one of four “tribes,” each with their own behaviors, insecurities, strengths, and motivations for seeking, acquiring, and appreciating art. You may recognize them wandering the fairs or waving their paddles at auctions; others tend to collect more discreetly, known mostly by the dealers who feed their obsessions. Below are the tribes I’ve known.

The Enterprising Collector:  This is the tribe most tethered to the dynamism, quarrels, gossip, lawsuits, information, misinformation, fads, and rumors of the contemporary art market. Unlike the connoisseur or trophy-hunter (discussed below), enterprise collectors are wide open to the new and experimental. With roots in the Medici tradition of ecclesiastical patronage, these collectors are engaged in a kind of moral combat to identify and elevate the art that will matter. They believe that art history is just too important to be left to art historians…read more

Image: Slim Aarons | Peggy Guggenheim at the Palazzo Venier Dei Leoni, Venice, Italy, 1978 Staley-Wise Gallery

2018-10-29T09:51:40+00:00