Collecting Art: bring new energy into your art collection with emerging artists and art awards

Lamwyk Journal, May 1, 2020

Collecting Art: bring new energy into your art collection with emerging artists and art awards.

 Anastasia Lander Executive Director Young Masters Art Prize Art



Collecting is an exciting experience. It helps us build new relationships, learn contemporary trends, research the past, broaden horizons. Art is often seen as a good investment, but ultimately it is a source of inspiration, aesthetic pleasure and emotional expression.


Whether you are an established art connoisseur or a beginning collector, you may want to diversify your collection by adding new concepts, new themes, new mediums. How does one tackle this task?


Unless you are an art historian – and even if you are one – you might need to rely on the experience and advice of art professionals. Curators, museum specialists, art dealers, gallerists – these art world actors can provide  a vast amount of diversified and very specific knowledge. But where to start?


Great collections are born on the cusp of one’s passion and careful research. Spend time in museums and commercial galleries looking at art, understanding what you love, what speaks to you, defining artists you would love to have in your collection. Few can afford a Rubens, but many contemporary artists give homage to the Old Masters in their practice.


Budget does play a role in collecting. When you can allow yourself to collect in the upper segment of the market, it is still important to understand the individual dynamics of a given artist – you do not want to overpay, especially when acquiring art as asset. If your budget has its limitations, collecting emerging artists can be a great strategy. You support an artist in the beginning of their career, you can build enriching relationships, you may be invited to the studio and witness the creative process in its unedited power. 


Many collectors would love to be the lucky ones who discover the next Damien Hirst or Jenny Saville in the beginning of their journey to fame. But not everyone has patience, experience and time to visit graduate shows and define the rising stars. This is where platforms dedicated to the support and promotion of emerging artists come handy. In 2009 American-born, London-based gallerist Cynthia Corbett founded the Young Masters Art Prize, which has recently celebrated its tenth year and fifth edition. Cynthia has always had a passion for the Old Masters and wanted to encourage contemporary artists to reflect on the art of the past, its subject matters and techniques, as well as create relevant artworks that would build upon classical themes. Her new international not-for-profit initiative became a way of finding contemporary artists who could then become future masters. 


Cynthia Corbett does not just rely on her own taste while shortlisting artists for her biannual prize. She has enlisted a vibrant and savvy community of art critics, editors, historians and patrons. A scrupulous selection is always put into place, which enables the Prize to be a true reflection of the art world’s trends and general zeitgeist. When ceramics began their renaissance, and Corbett saw a growing number of ceramicists applying to the 2014 edition of the Prize, she established the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize. This prize was funded by one of the most loyal patrons of the gallery. This is a great example 

of how to marry private patronage and artistic creativity. This award has been given to such art world stars as V&A artist in residence Matt Smith, former Whistles’ fashion founder Lucille Lewin and well-known Israeli artist Zemer Peled. In 2017 to recognise women in art an inaugural Emerging Woman’s Art Prize was established, now called the Emerging Woman Artist Award.


Ten years after its inception the Prize is much more than just an award. It is a powerful platform that tours in the interim years, showcasing its alumnae’s works worldwide. Cynthia Corbett strives to support outstanding artists – she always dedicates a part of her curation at art fairs to Young Masters. The price range is very attractive, and the variety of styles and techniques appeal to different tastes and collectors. Most importantly, Cynthia Corbett is proud that the Young Masters Art Prize allows her to support emerging artists worldwide: both financially and in terms of raising their international awareness. This is definitely a lifetime achievement – that keeps on giving.