The Art of Collecting with Alfredo Triff at Books & Books

Three Tuesdays, August 7, 14 and 21, 2012. 6:30 p.m.

Traditionally, the practice of art collecting has come to define good taste, wealth and power. Since the Renaissance until the 19th-century, artists were employed by the court and institutionalized religion, who vested them with important commissions. In time, artworks accumulated and became the great collections of museums such as el Prado, the Louvre, the Hermitage, etc.

At the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution brings forth a new era of prosperity with a new class, the bourgeoisie which seeks the validity and legitimacy associated with the arts. In America, this is the epoch of the great art benefactors, like Frick, Lang, Freer, Getty, Vanderbilt, and others, who eventually shape the great American museums of today.

Given this background of art and wealth, people have the perception that collecting art is an endeavor exclusive of the rich. This is not true. Collecting art is a possibility for anyone that has time, determination and know-how.

This is where our course comes in.

After we go through the basics of the history of art collecting and aesthetics, we’ll take a look at how contemporary art is produced and how and where it can be found. At the end of the course, you will feel much more confident to start your own collection.

Session 1: The Basics
Brief history of art collecting. Important 20th Century and 21st Century collectors.
How collections grow.
Different kinds of art collecting: (a) ethnic, (b) period, (c) genre, (d) style, etc.
Aesthetics. What makes art good art?
The meaning of “contemporary art.”
Where to find contemporary art.
What is the right price for an artwork? Honesty as the best negotiation.
What sort of criteria does one need to start an art collection?
Negotiating intuition, art trends & market value.

Session 2: Into the Artist’s Studio
Visit to Miami artist’s studios, TBA.
We’ll share artists’ views on art, collecting and collectors.
We’ll take a look at contemporary art “in situ”.

Session 3: Meet the Collectors
Interview with various, prominent Miami art collectors, TBA, who will be present as special guests to talk about their collections and answer questions about collecting.

About the Teacher:

Alfredo Triff is a professor of philosophy at Miami Dade College and a lecturer in art history at the University of Miami. He is an art critic for the Miami New Times, Miami Sun Post and El Nuevo Herald. Triff is also an accomplished musician-composer and published author. He keeps a blog on art criticism: Miami Burbaki.

Recommended Reading:
– Collecting Art: A Journal to Get You Started
– The Art of Buying Art: An Insider’s Guide to Collecting
Contemporary Art by Paige West
– Great collectors of our time: Art Collecting Since 1945
by James Stourton
– Collecting Contemporary Art by Andrea Bellini

The course fee is $150. To register, please send and email to

Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134

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