Art Collector

How to Start Art Collecting with Sarah Greenberg Morse

The art advisor daughter of famed critic Clement Greenberg answers our questions about starting a collection.

Name: Sarah Greenberg Morse

Firm: Sarah Greenberg Morse Art + Estate Advisory

Types of clients: Collectors; estate executors and lawyers

Why do your clients want to collect art?  

As an advisor who works most often with estate collections, my clients are usually lifelong collectors who have a passionate connection with the creative process. They collect to be closer to the spark that ignites great art.


What are the three things you would like a prospective client to know before they come talk to you?

1. Their dream goals for their collection; 2. What they like and don't like; 3. That they can trust me to listen to them

What would make a collector a good fit for you?

Someone who is serious about what they love but has a sense of humor about all the rest.

 What should a beginning collector focus on for the first purchase?

Focus on what you like, what you respond to most strongly. Listen to yourself first, and then do some research on value, etc.

Do you collect? What was your first acquisition? Why?

I do not collect, I don't have that urge, never have. This makes me most intrigued and fascinated by passionate collectors.

When does someone become a collector? As soon as they decide to buy art? Once they’ve bought the first work? Only after they “run out of wall space”?

I think someone becomes a collector when they start looking at and experiencing art with a deep desire to be a part of that artist's world, to be inside the creator's mind, to experience that spark by living with the art. So, before the first purchase a collector is born.

 When is a collection finished? 

Never, that is the nature of collecting - the convening of objects and ideas is a living thing, growing and shrinking all the time.

 If you had no budget constraints and total access, what would you buy?

Ruth Asawa - for her I'd become a collector!

 What artists—old or new—are you looking at in the coming year? 

Here's a laundry list in no particular order: Ethan Ryman, Yu Ji, Emily Mason, Joan Mitchell, Liam Lee, Gwenn Thomas, Friedel Dzubas, Ella Kruglyanskaya. (I am liking the way the boundaries between abstraction and figuration and fine art and design are falling away, becoming passing lanes rather than roadblocks.) 

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