© 2023 KMUW
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Only buy art you'll love to live with

As an artist, it is considered gauche to speak of art in monetary terms. But I am also a lower echelon collector of art, meaning I am a person who doesn’t have large sums of money to spend on pieces I might wish to live with. I like to collect art from mid-20th century artists who were mostly regional, with a few being nationally known.

I didn’t start seriously thinking about collecting art until I hit my forties. I bought an oil painting by William Dickerson back then and love living with it. It was painted in the mid 50’s and has that magical depth I look for. Based on study, it’s more than tripled in value. And an Alex Katz print I bought in 2003 is worth five times what I paid for it. I mention these examples because I buy with the idea that I might resell at a profit later and purchase other more expensive works I yearn for. It’s how I navigate and justify this disease called “collecting”.

I found that I can buy regionalist works for less out and away from our region. I study online sites like ArtNet for possible deals. I have friends and family who hit estate sales and send me photos of what I might be interested in. I attend auctions. I studied a Milton Avery piece for 2 years until I had the money and it sold before I could grab it—a loss that haunts me.

My one rule is that I only purchase what I love and wish to live with. And whatever exists in this collection after I leave the planet will be passed to my children, who thankfully, love art as much as I do.

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.