Secrets of the Art World | The Do’s and Don’ts of art appreciation

Avalon Ashley Bellos.
Courtesy of Avalon Ashley Bellos

Paul Klee once said of art, “Art does not merely reproduce the visible…but makes visible.”

It is, in many ways, the essence of the human condition. Think of art as the poetic expression that has the power to expedite intellectual enterprise and understanding — it’s pretty, it’s universal, and everyone should be involved.

But how? If you are the Contrary to the common belief that the world of art stands far outside the reach of most, there are ways in which to dissect and understand how to not only appreciate art but also to have the know-how to acquire quality pieces.

Don’t: Ask “Is this an original?”

The term “original” is misleading — all art is original. From graphic mediums to multiples and the like, any work that has been overseen and signed by the artist is original.

Do: Ask about the medium.

This is an important step in fully understanding the story of the piece. It will also indicate whether or not the work is a unique (one of one) or part of a series.

Don’t: Ask, “Isn’t this just a copy of X?”

All things created are influenced by others. Picasso himself is quoted as saying “good artists borrow, great artists steal,” meaning that influence is pervasive and not a means to discredit.

Do: Ask, “What are the top influences for this artist?”

This is a great way to show genuine interest in art in general and also will help to inform the process of art through time, approach, and movement. 

Avalon Ashley Bellos is a fine art and luxury expert and the Gallery Director of DTR Modern Galleries in SoHo.