Huw Lougher’s Top Tips for Buying Art in 2024

Written by: Huw Lougher

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Time to read 4 min

As we close out 2023, the art market's pace has notably slowed from its 2020-22 momentum. Despite industry narratives aiming to sustain optimism, this year's reality contrasts with that sentiment. 

 

Nonetheless, there remains a lot of opportunities in the market and now is an excellent moment to pursue that long-desired artwork – I’m excited about what 2024 has to offer, the opportunities that will arise and working with our clients to help them take advantage. 

 

Here are a few tips for art buyers as we move into 2024:

Be Patient!

One of the joys of art collecting is that there’s rarely any urgency. Consider it a journey, but one without a destination - trust me, you will never get there, but that’s what makes art collecting so special. 

 

The cornerstone of collecting is patience. Take your time to explore and understand what you like and why. And when something grabs you, it’ll make the acquisition that little bit more special.

 

In the current contemporary art market, buyers have more power than previous years and you can use this to your advantage. Seek out works you want to add to your collection at the price you’re happy to pay.

"The cornerstone of collecting is patience. Take your time to explore and understand what you like and why"

Huw Lougher, November 2023

Do Your Due Diligence

If you are interested in adding an artwork by a particular artist to your collection, make sure you do your due diligence.

 

  • Condition  - this is always important but needs to be considered relative to the age of an artwork. Some issues can be expected for older artworks, whereas artworks produced in the past few years should be in excellent or mint condition. We take our responsibilities to document the accurate condition of an artwork very seriously, through professional photography and a careful eye for detail.
  • Price - research market value to ensure you are not paying over the odds. High prices at auction might not indicate quality, and low ones may hint at flaws or lack of authenticity. As a team we are investing a lot of time making sure our prices are fair in the current market.

 

Pro tip: Be careful when comparing pricing with recent or historical auction prices:

 

  • Evaluate market value using hammer + buyer's premium, not simply the hammer price. 
  • Condition reports may also not be public, so a low price at auction might signify poor condition. 
Bridget Riley | Lougher Contemporary
Bridget Riley
Huw Lougher’s top tips for buying art david hockney print
Damien Hirst

Partner with Reputable Galleries

Buying from trusted sources is crucial in the art world. Many sellers prioritise profits over client satisfaction, leading to transparency issues, poor service, or buyers receiving damaged or inauthentic artworks. Factors such as these are what drove me to establish Lougher Contemporary in the first place. I wanted to aim for higher industry standards whereby one did not find themselves going into battle every time you wanted to acquire a new work.

 

When dealing with new galleries, research their online presence and reviews, engage with their team, and demand necessary information. Any red flags should prompt you to step back and take a moment. There are plenty more galleries out there. Find those that you trust and enjoy working with.

Less is More

I’m guilty of being too trigger happy when purchasing works in the past 10 years. As we move into 2024, I am advising my clients to focus on quality rather than quantity. 

 

Be selective with what you are buying and make sure you are ticking the boxes you need to. This could be picking up that special work you've always had your eye on, adding a new artist who you've always admired to your collection, or gaining exposure to an artist who you consider under-priced in the current market.


It is a lot easier to manage a small, curated collection, than spreading your budget across many, less important artworks, many of which won’t make the wall. 

Auction house Sotheby's has overseen a number of high-profile sales over in recent years, including David Hockney's 'The Splash' Photo credit: Michael Bowles/Getty Images

Follow the Latest Developments in the Market

Below are a few ways I keep updated with the latest happenings and developments in the art world.

 

  • Artnet News and Artsy’s Editorial offers a daily selection of articles, featuring key developments and summaries of the latest auctions.
  • Follow the auction results… but be warned there’s rarely a day when there isn’t an auction. Auction results and upcoming auctions are consolidated on platforms such as Artprice, Lot-Art, LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable – through which you can also set artist alerts. You can also sign up to aid your research on current market value.
  • Podcasts: ArtTactic with Adam Green, Talk Art by Robert Diament and Russell Tovey, The Baer Faxt with Josh Baer are a few that I listen to regularly. 

Finally, if you’re not already following artists/galleries/museums you like on Instagram and TikTok, then I would suggest giving them a follow. This is a valuable tool to build awareness and market knowledge – just avoid the endless scrolling!

How we can Support

We cater to both newcomers and seasoned art enthusiasts, offering a comprehensive range of services:

 

  • Collect: All artworks on our website are available, carefully selected by our Acquisitions team. We ensure their quality, authenticity, and price - endorsing every piece we sell. 
  • Source: Seeking a specific artwork or artist series? Our extensive network grants access to artworks beyond what we have listed. If unsuccessful initially, we continuously monitor the market and notify you when a match emerges.


  • Sell: Our Consignments team provides expert guidance on pricing and marketing strategies, leveraging vast market knowledge and cutting-edge research tools. Visit our Sell page for details or contact us for a free valuation.
  • Advisory (invite-only): For select passionate and loyal clients, we offer personalized advisory services. This shares our fervor for the art market, catering to a limited number of individuals seeking a deeper engagement. 
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