01 Mar 2016
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Art Collecting’s New Egalitarianism

A young art collector offers advice for aspiring connoisseurs of any age
Re: Aditya Julka (MBA 2009); Osman Khan (MBA 2009)

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Art collecting is no longer only the province of pricey auction houses. “You don’t need millions of dollars to do what I do,” says Marc Weidner (MBA 2007), a director at Lazard whose 15-year-old personal collection focuses on Art Nouveau ceramics. “You can tailor your interest to your means.” Online auction houses like 1stdibs and Paddle8—founded by Aditya Julka and Osman Khan (both MBA 2009)—offer access to collectors of all levels and have made tracking down rare pieces less of a chore. “One of the beauties of the age of the Internet is that it is easy to get informed, to track art transactions and auction results,” Weidner says.

Where’s a collector to start, though? We asked him to share a few pieces of advice for burgeoning aesthetes.

1) It’s never too early—or too late —to start.

Born in Alsace-Lorraine—birthplace of the Art Nouveau movement in France—Weidner began collection after his parents gave him a small ceramic piece for his 23rd birthday. “Art is something that has been part of my environment since I was born,” he says, “but it took a while to really click.” And while his attention has moved on to more expensive works that typically surface at high-end auctions or via specialized dealers, the beginnings were more mainstream. “EBay was really useful at a time when I was trying to develop my interest and grow my collection,” says Weidner.

2) Be patient.

There’s no reason to start out with big purchases. “A collection is something that can take many years,” he says. “It can take a lifetime to assemble.” It’s also OK to bid like there is a tomorrow. “You can miss a piece at one auction and find it again at another later, sometimes years later. The key is to buy a piece at the right time for you. But it also helps to be daring at times.”

3) Follow your instinct.

“A collection is so personal. Think of it as a piece of art itself—it’s something that you shape over time with a lot of passion and dedication,” Weidner says. And it should reflect your vision, not what the market values. “You don’t necessarily want to listen to what other collectors favor. There is no right or wrong when it comes to collecting art—there is only what you want and what inspires you.”

From Weidner’s Collection

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Class of MBA 2007, Section H

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