Recommendations for Collectors

For Those Who Have Not Purchased Yet

If you enter a gallery and ask the gallerist for the price, never believe he wants to sell the piece right away. The gallerist is mainly interessted in why you like the work. He tries to form a dialog, a discussion. It's like shopping in a specialty store: The gallerist wants to advise and help you to have a ideal purchase. This is the only way you might come back to the gallery and buy maybe a second and a thrid piece or return and are interessted in another artist. Gallerists are more than shopman. They are advisors and partners for discussions. They can help you, if you are interessted in a piece in another gallery, as well as telling you if the purchase is cost-efficient. If you decide to buy a piece of art, a gallerist sells you a piece of another human. This is axiomatically different from purchasing a pinstripe suit.


The price in a gallery is defined. It's not a bazaar. It is insulting to think one can purchase a piece costing CHF 5'000.00 for CHF 3'000.00 towards the artist himself.

Known collectors or with bigger purchases there might be a reduction from the gallery. This happens as well in other other businesses.

One thing that can be discussed is the kind of payment. The prices for buyers are generally high. Partial payments can be done after a common agreement.

Buying in a Gallery or at an Auction

Consumers of art often can't decide whether to buy at an auction or in a gallery. Both kinds of acquisitions make sense. The gallerist gets the pieces directly from the artist himself. Not only the artist, but also the gallerist want to present the best pieces to the client. Every owner of a gallery who wants to fight for his artists, only wants to show the best of the best. This leads to the fact, that every piece which became famouse, firstly has been sold in a gallery, not an auction. It has been shown that later on known pieces, sold for the first time in a gallery, were hard to sell. This concludes that the quality of a piece of art has nothing to do with the time one needs to sell it.

For a gallerist it is critical to get a piece of art into a good collection, if the artist is important. This is also of concern for the artist himself. It is unwanted, that someone buys speculative, to resell within a year at an auction. Though this can't be fully avoided.

While buying on an auction one finds pieces of art, which can't be found in a gallery anymore. They have an average price, depending on the demand. Many are interessted in the kick given at an auction. The bidding and counterbidding as well as the question whether one gets the piece or not are a way of life.

If a piece of art can be bought more advantegously can't be said in general. Artists can have a market value which can rise or depreciate over time. If the piece of art gets to an auction, is might be bought cheaper than in a gallery. Though, if the market value has risen the price can be higher. Due to the good distribution network of big auction houses, it is hard to get a bargain in the area of contemporary art.

A gallerist will not show every collector everything. If the collecter is serious, he will be shown pieces, not contributed in the exhibition or maybe one he not even knew of. If a collector does not want an important piece anymore he will sell the piece to a gallerist, not to an auction house.


Galleries are places of infromation. There are no displaying windows for contemporary art which are faster than galleries, yet. Each artist, who is shown at exhibition halls or in a museum first presented his pieces in a gallery. Galleries are necessary for the early detection as well as tests on the market. Someone who is generally looking at galleries methodically will sharpen his senses over time.

Collectors often go poorly buying via magazines, cataloges or internet. Only the sensual experience between the piece of art and the contemplator can guaranty good purchases.


Pieces of art generally have to have a contents insurance with an aggregated amount. Someone in possesion of a bigger collection is well adviced to have a fine arts insurance. The big insurance companies are Helvetia, Axa, the "Nationalversicherung" and the Mobiliar. All have special policies. The Association of Art Galleries Switzerland have a framework agreement with Helvetia and are thereby recommending this institution.