Collecting art has been a passion among successful individuals and families across the globe for centuries.

Offering manifold benefits, an art collection may also acquire both financial and cultural value, empowering owners to create a legacy and become influencers in the global art ecosystem.

The path to building a collection is seldom a clear one. Great collections are recognized as such because so few successfully navigate the pitfalls that can arise. UBS Art Advisory offers experience and guidance to help define a clear path for those seeking to build a meaningful art collection of lasting value.

View UBS Trending conversation with Art and collecting author Matthew Newton, Art Advisory Specialist, UBS Family Office Solutions.

Building an influential collection meant to last

It is not easy to navigate the art market to build a collection that:

  • Will be personally meaningful
  • Have the best chance of maintaining long-term value
  • Remain relevant over time
  • Allow a collector to create cultural impact

Collections that meet those standards tend to be guided by a set of principles and hallmarks that set them apart from others, including:

Personal and passion-led

Great collections represent the individual collector’s intimate relationship with the art—mirroring their passions, interests and experiences.

Based on a standard of quality

Having a quality standard keeps a collection from being diluted and fosters respect and credibility for the collection and collector within the art community.

Grow out of expertise

Successful collectors develop a nuanced understanding of their chosen artworks and artists, enabling them to separate significant from insignificant works.

Reflect decisive risk taking

A combination of decisiveness and risk-taking, backed by passion and expertise, makes a collection an exciting representation of artistic discoveries and personal exploration.

Parallel passions

Collecting art and acting as a philanthropist are both inspired by passion and purpose. And they can often intersect.

Key ways a passion for all things art and culture can inspire simultaneous philanthropic pursuits include: 

Loan art to a museum

Loaning art to a museum requires careful planning to ensure that the artwork is properly cared for and protected during the loan period.

Gift art to a museum

Gifting a work of art or a collection to a museum is a mutual decision of both collector and museum to make and accept a gift, with important considerations for both.

Display artworks in community venues

Displaying works of art in the community at museums, universities, galleries, schools and other venues can bring mutual benefits. Having a thoughtful strategy can guide decisions.

Estate and charitable planning for art

Planning for valuable artworks requires careful considerations, including:

Collectors typically have strong emotional ties to the collections they have spent lifetimes building; careful planning during their lifetime is crucial to ensure their wishes are carried out.

Artwork has unique planning considerations. Aside from fairly simple outright gifts or bequests, most planning for art does not fit easily into the traditional planning strategies used for other assets.

Critical steps collectors should consider include valuing the collection, making gifts and bequests to family members, making lifetime and testamentary charitable transfers, selling the collection and liquidity planning to cover related estate taxes.1

Dive deeper

Art and collecting offers insight and guidance on several overlapping aspects of building a meaningful art collection optimally structured for future value.

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