Published: December 26, 2000
A New Book Offers a Decade’s Worth of Collecting Insights
Everette James, a consummate collector of American art, shares decades’ worth of insight in this slight volume. An easy read in one or two sittings, it is likely to save beginning collectors the horror of a major faux pas. Even seasoned collectors may pick up a tip or two.
Reputable galleries, art dealers and auction houses would probably love to introduce James’s seasoned enthusiasm for collecting to newcomers. While he only mentions one dealer by name, you can rest assured that pickers, dealers, gallery owners, museum curators, and auction houses up and down the country are familiar with this voracious but discriminating collector.
Thoughts of a Collector is written in the tone of a very wise older brother, with a bit of self-satisfaction and even gloating in some places, but also with self-depreciating humor in others. James addresses the reader as “You,” and everything stems from his personal experience, so it is naturally written in the first person… ”I will offer several personal examples…” ”I later found out…” etc. The familiarity makes this doctor’s advice easy to swallow, as if he were giving the reader confidential instructions, complete with an arm thrown over the shoulder.
While this could be considered a how-to book for beginning collectors, James tosses in enough jargon and knowledge to keep it interesting for his fellow collectors. He covers all sorts of topics: getting started, art dealers, how to choose a painting, required tools, frames, sources, auction strategies, collectibles (touched on briefly), financial considerations, developing collections with themes, folk and self-taught artists, Tonalism, American Barbizon, Ashcan, American Impressionism, Regionalists, works on paper, appraisals, and the disposition of paintings. As a physician, he probably couldn’t resist adding a chapter ”Can Collecting Be Hazardous to Your Health” and ”Postmortem.”
James goes through a litany of collecting pitfalls and doesn’t hesitate to repeat certain ideas for emphasis. The author, setting forth tricks of the trade, makes his effort a generous one; perhaps the next time his newly informed readers are bidding on a painting they will be using his strategies.
Thoughts of a Collector, by Dr. A. Everette James, Jr., 2000, Warren H. Green, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, ISBN 0-87527-531-1, 146 pages, paperback, $14.95 plus shipping and handling from the publisher at 314/991-1335.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm