Start an Irish Art Collection with €500

For under €500 you can buy a key piece of Irish art by a young emerging artist, or a smaller work by an artist who is already well established and widely collected.


Look at it, love it, buy it, hang it, love it, and so on…collecting Irish art fills your soul, and helps an artist make a living.


“As any art historian will tell you – buy what you love.”


5 Tips

  1. Do your research.  Avail of free tours in the National Gallery, the Dublin City Gallery – The Hugh Lane, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Crawford Gallery Cork or Limerick City Gallery.  There is no admission fee to any of these major galleries, housing state collections, and major touring shows.
  2. Make sure to go to the RHA Annual Exhibition which opens annually in May, at the RHA Gallery in Dublin.  The RHA is an artists’ owned and run gallery and art school, by Irelands’ major artists.  You can pick up small works by exceptional artists, with hundreds to choose from under one roof.  Its been rigorously curated, so you can trust you are selecting from top quality according to your own taste.  See:
  3. Buy graphic works such as etchings, woodblock prints, or lithographs.  These are fine art prints (not to be confused with mechanical reproductions), and they are hand printed using traditional printing press methods.  They are usually numbered eg 1/200 is print one of a hand made edition of only 200 – hence the sometimes accessible price for works by well established artists. curates a number of exhibitions per annum for you to select from.
  4. Many artists accept commissions.  If you know you like an artist’s work, talk to them about your budget and requirements.  The artist will tell you if its feasible or not, and the likely timeframe for the work to be made.
  5. Lastly, as any art historian will tell you – buy what you love.  The art of tomorrow is what people love today.  And remember you are not only investing in your own taste, you are investing in the living livelihood of an artist.  If you buy what you love you wont notice that its value may accumulate more than your wallpaper ever could.



This article is an update from  ‘Start an Art Collection for £500’ I published in House & Home Nov/Dec 2000.