How To Collect Art While Traveling

April 21, 2021




When traveling around the world, bringing home art is one of the most meaningful ways to let the sights, smells, and senses of a trip remain alive. It equally serves an expansion of the perspectives at play in a collection, adding fresh voices and unique visual motifs. 

Where do you begin when you want to bring a painting home from Europe, a wood-carving from Africa, or any type of creation that will take you back to the tropical paradise of the Caribbean?

Let’s break it down:


Major City:

Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona… Whatever your destination, every major city in Europe has hundreds of art galleries that span different styles, time periods and budgets. If you want to bring something home from the city, know what you’re looking for.

Contemporary Art:

Contemporary art galleries can be found dotted across the map. The neighborhood will tell you a lot about the price range of the art they sell. The more expensive the real estate, the more expensive the art. If you’re looking for high-end pieces, know that the best galleries in town will usually be congregated around the city’s major museums. For more emerging artists, do your research to find the current “in” neighborhood where more experimental work is being shown. 

Konig Art Gallery, Berlin
Marché Saint-Ouen, Paris

19th Century Art:

Are you thinking Impressionism, Picasso, the masters you know and love of the past century? You absolutely can come home with the real thing. But you can also find pieces in a similar style in casual antique markets. (What luck to stumble upon one in Paris!) Don’t be afraid to buy a completely unknown artist – if you love the painting, it’s still an incredible memento from a trip. And if it’s damaged or in bad condition? Bring it home and work with a local restorer. 

Antiques – Art 200-2000 Years Old

If you’re looking for a piece of history, Europe has it. Before you set out to buy antique art, take due diligence to research the market and price ranges typical for certain time periods. When you fall in love with something, put it on hold, go back to your hotel, and research suction records for similar pieces. It is possible to have an incredible mark-up on an art piece simply due to the reputation and location of the art dealer you are looking to buy from. You may also choose to call us and we can carry out such research on your behalf- advising on best purchasing practices.

Galerie Chenel, Paris


The Caribbean, Islands, etc.

When in the Bahamas or any other similar destination, the art for sale on the streets tends to be repetitive, low quality, and of little aesthetic interest. In places like these, Instagram and the Internet are the best way to connect you with incredible local artists. Take time before your trip to Google local art competitions and scope out the scene. If you find someone you’re interested in, send them a message. They’ll gladly welcome you into their studio and give you local insider tips. 

Africa, India, and the likes

In these places, I find the art on the street to be intoxicating. Even if it’s repetitive from booth to booth, it’s gorgeous. Use your eyes to discern quality from cheap imitation, and go for what you love. Only one rule: never spend much money. Whatever price they ask, offer 50% of it immediately, and never pay more than 75% of the asking price. They’re always going to be jacking up prices for tourists, and there’s no prize for paying more. 

Pieces from these trips add value to a collection not based on financial value, but for the ways in which they expand perspective, texture, geometry and aesthetic amongst the fine art that you already have. They add story and depth and are such treasures to bring home. 

Of course in places like India there are traditional master artists and artisans, but one must be so, so careful to find authentic work of such high caliber at a fair price. A trusted local guide specialized in art, organized ahead of time, is indispensable. 

Satya and Moti Karn working on a traditional Madhubani painting together.

We are happy to consult on an upcoming trip to arrange private gallery tours and studio visits with artists based on your interests and budgets. No matter the continent or corner of the earth, there are visionary artists creating pieces worth bringing home. Being welcomed by locals is one of the most meaningful experiences while traveling, and can open doors even beyond art acquisition. 

Post by Amanda Kadinov

Comments are closed.