It is said that the two most important aspects of collecting works of art are the entrance（where to buy）and the exit（where to sell）.
Please use the following as a basis for your decisions to have a stress-free and fulfilling art life.
Where to Buy Works of Art
The most common way to purchase works of art is to visit antique stores or art fairs, but in recent years, with the spread of the Web, the form of purchasing works of art has changed dramatically.
Antique Stores and Art Galleries
- Long-established stores and top-notch specialty stores, which are known as famous stores, value trust and pride, so it is easy to obtain works in good condition with high reputation.
- Solid after-sales service is available for a long time.
- The threshold is high and it is difficult to enter casually.
- It is important to be able to find a store that is a good match. This can take a long time.
- You can see a large number of works of various genres at once, at your own pace and at your leisure, without worrying about anyone else.
- Basically, the exhibition space is smaller than that of a store, and it tends to be crowded with many people, making it difficult to relax. Also, depending on the timing, you may not be able to hear detailed explanations.
- The lineup is extensive, including representative works by both popular artists and now-deceased artists.
- Since the artists themselves and specialty stores are involved, the quality is highly reliable.
- It is more expensive due to the primary and premium prices involved.
- Store websites and online auctions allow you to view and purchase products even after business hours.
- There is a possibility that you may buy a forgery from a website other than a trusted store or from an online auction. Also, after-sales service is not always available.
- You can choose from a large number of works, and there is a possibility that you will be able to win the auction for less than your estimated price.
- The winning bid price is determined by the balance between supply and demand, so if there are competing bidders who really want to get the item, the price may be beyond your expectations and you may not be able to obtain it.
- It requires specialized knowledge and the acumen to detect authenticity.
As mentioned above, there are various ways to obtain works of art, but if you collect them as a hobby, we recommend the following.
- Purchase works of art at a reputable art dealer’s store or online.
- Purchase works of art at an art fair in which a reputable art dealer participates.
The term “art” encompasses a wide variety of fields, including ceramics, tea ceremony utensils, Buddhist art, painting, and contemporary art. Each of us art dealers specializes in a different field. Although we have knowledge of all aspects of art, it is impossible for us to specialize in all areas in one store. For example, even within the narrow genre limited to tea utensils, there are biases such as “I handle training utensils, but not essential tea utensils used for tea ceremonies and tea gatherings,” or “I handle new tea utensils, but am not good with old tea utensils.” In addition, the highest quality “masterpieces” tend to be found in top-notch specialty stores that have studied the field thoroughly.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the human qualities of the owner of the store can be seen in the works displayed in the store. Our first priority as art dealers is to find out the correct value of works of art and offer them to our customers in an appropriate manner. One of the best things about buying works of art at a specialty store is that you can learn more about the historical background and characteristics of the work. Before buying a work of art, it is important to “appreciate the store, appreciate the human qualities of the storekeeper.” As you develop a relationship with the store, you will be treated as generously as possible in terms of price, even for a high-quality work. It would be better to have not one, but two or three favorite stores. Where and how you purchase is the most important factor in forming a substantial collection.
The Role Played by Art Dealers and The Reason for Their Existence
The issue of authenticity is always associated with works of art. Continuing to own a work of art while worrying about whether it is a forgery after purchase is a source of stress and a great disappointment, despite the price paid for it. Some people believe that forgeries are a “necessary evil,” and that it is not interesting or possible to improve one’s aesthetic sense only with authentic works. However, the improvement in imitation techniques for forgeries has been remarkable, and in recent years, there have been some works in the gray area where it is extremely difficult to distinguish between authenticity and fakeness. Even if you gain knowledge from art books and experts, it is extremely difficult for the general public to see through and judge these things.
Art dealers who have reached a certain level and are allowed to participate in membership auctions are trained by seeing and buying tens of thousands of works of art per year. Relying on the experience and knowledge backed up by these practices, we offer works of art to our customers and receive the necessary compensation to operate our stores. It is our duty as art dealers to create an environment where customers can choose their favorite works of art based on their intuition, without worrying about the issue of authenticity. As we are human beings, not machines, we cannot say that there is not a single mistake. We believe that taking responsibility for our mistakes without hiding them forms the basis for our credibility as art dealers, and being able to do so protects our pride as art dealers. Of course, you have to scrutinize for mistakes and make as few mistakes as possible. We are in a position to be chosen by our customers. We will study every day so as not to be ashamed of ourselves and, as professionals in this field, we promise to provide you with correct opinions and correct proposals.
The Basis for Selling Price
People tend to think that there is no such thing as a price or market for antiques. Although it cannot be denied that there is a tendency to do so in the case of very rare works such as museum pieces（gems that should be preserved in art galleries and museums）, the pricing of common works of art is determined based on auction prices, factoring in the costs of running the store and the like.
How to Make The Right Choice When Buying
Invest your money in something worthwhile.
- 1.Don’t compromise.
- 2.Quality is more important than quantity.
- 3.See more quality works of art.
The best way to enjoy a work of art is to choose a work that you like anyway. However, let us dig a little deeper. After collecting more and more works, when you come across a particularly high-grade work, the works you sought in the past may inevitably become inferior, and some of them may even change your taste completely. There is great demand for attractive works and top-quality works that are in good condition, so it tends to be easier to let go of them. On the other hand, works purchased for their low price without concern for their condition tend to be in low demand. In such a case, you try to enrich your collection, but you end up taking a detour because you cannot find good works. If you are using a work of art to serve food in a restaurant, or if you are buying a work of art to decorate a room or to create a space, it is not wrong to choose a lower-priced work of art, considering the risk of damage. On the other hand, in the field of appreciating pottery, where the value of an asset is determined by the fact that it is meant to be seen rather than used, it is highly recommended to select works with a narrow focus, such as“buying a rare and skillfully made work”for an amount that would buy five ordinary works of art. The more you think about your purchase, the less likely you are to get bored with it. As a result, there will be a big difference between“a carefully selected and attractive collection”and“a collection that somehow gets collected based on a feeling and price”when it is sold in the future.
Take a Breath and Think about The Works You Are Worried About Purchasing
We are also a business, and we would like you to purchase as many of our works as possible. However, if we recommend a work to a customer too strongly, it may backfire and cause the customer to regret the purchase, leading to stress. This should never be the result of buying works of art for enjoyment. In the course of my work, there have been many times when I have felt that a work of art has chosen its own destination. I believe that works of art also have a life of their own, and are connected to each other through invisible relationships, and that there is more to each encounter than we can scientifically explain.
The Speculative Value of Works of Art
Works of art have an asset value, and Chinese art works have seen a significant increase in recent years as speculative targets. However, if you think of them as asset management, stocks and real estate are more efficient. The price of a work of art is based on the balance between supply and demand, and demand is largely related to economic conditions and trends. During the bubble economy, demand greatly exceeded supply, and many works soared in price, but in reaction to that, many works that are not suitable for interior decoration, such as Old-Imari and local pottery-kiln ware, are currently receiving unfairly low valuations. If you are excessively captivated by the value of your assets, you will lose sight of the true nature of the property. The more art dealers love their works, the more they face them with love and devotion, beyond the monetary sense. This is because there is the essence of emotion, healing, and beauty in the work. Feeling the beauty in your heart adds color to your life, and the best part is that you can share it with your close friends. The changes that await us in the future are ultimately uncertain, even if we can predict some of them. However, recently, there have been signs that the trend of polarization is becoming stronger in Japan. In other words, when the declining birthrate, aging population, and the spread of artificial intelligence become even more pronounced, we can assume that there will be a clear distinction between good works and bad works in the art market. Collecting works that are attractive to you and top-quality works that are in good condition in your field of choice is a surefire way to speculate in art.