Saturday, January 29, 2011

Art Collecting as a Hobby

There is no limit to collecting things as a hobby. I have talked of many types of objects that people collect as a hobby, today it is the art in any form that attracts people and ultimately becomes their passion and favourite hobby. There are no bounds that would restrict the definition of art. It may range from sculptures, paintings, painted mugs and even rare artifacts.   
Art collecting may start from small things, but as one matures in collecting artwork in all its forms, it rather starts to become expensive. We often watch auctions of rare paintings that end up in millions of dollars. It is for the reason that art lovers over a period of time become obsessed with their prized possessions and would want to add more rare, unique and of course expensive artwork to their collection.
The art collectors can do the collecting in many ways, like restricting them to a certain period of history, artist, type of paintings, sculptures or whatever they intend collecting. Some even collect broaches and cigarette lighters with an artistic design.  

One thing that is peculiar to art collectors is their never ending quest to dig in and find unique things possessed by no one else before. It is the thrill and sort of adventurism attached to the hobby that makes it one of the most expensive hobbies. Collectors travel long distance, other continents and countries to find what they are looking for to enlarge their collection. When talking of art many big names of artists and their paintings are taken. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Liza being the world famous. Then there are painters like Michael Angelo, Von Gough, Picasso and many more. Talking of Pakistan, names like Chughtai, Sadequain, Ustad Allah Bux, Gulgee and lot others make headlines. We will talk about all these great men in time.

But one has to be really knowledgeable when taking up art as a hobby as there are fakes that can only be detected by the experts. New collectors often buy fakes and wouldn’t know that they are being fleeced. An Australian couple was jailed for nine months in 2007 after forging works by aboriginal artist Rover Thomas, four of which sold for over $307,000 through auction houses including Sotheby's and Christie's. Geert Jan Jensen has been called by the French police, the most sophisticated and prolific master forger that ever lived. He had over 12 million in Swiss bank accounts and 3 false identities. Not clever enough though as Dutch painter Karel Appel recognized one of Jansen's forgeries as his own work. When police investigated the farm where Jansen has his studio, they found 1600 forged paintings, including works purportedly by Cocteau, Dufy, Ferdinand Erfman, Charles Eyck, Leo Gestel, Bart van der Leck, Matisse, Miro and the most popular target of all, Picasso. Jansen was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and five additional years suspended sentence. I am amazed at the rather shorter sentences these faker get.

Anyway, as I progress in my blog, I will collect more information on the actual artwork and the fakes that create ripples among the collectors. But then wouldn’t fakes create a thrill?  


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