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 June 1, 1999

First-time fine art purchase? Go for personal preference

BOULDER — Not everyone can be an expert at everything. So when looking to make an aesthetic investment, potential fine-art buyers should remember that finding the perfect piece is a matter of taste.

To relieve some of the pressure that may cause window shoppers to hesitate at the doors of galleries, Marilyn Reynolds, owner of the MacLauren Markowitz Gallery located at 1011 Pearl St. in Boulder, makes the gallery more inviting by showcasing unique display items. Shoppers are greeted by ice sculptures, and stark white walls have been replaced with colors that create a more welcoming and comfortable environment.

Reynolds said potential buyers should not be reluctant when shopping for art in a gallery.

“Anytime you don’t have knowledge about a particular matter, whether it be computers or rock climbing or buying art, it can be intimidating,” she said.

Reynolds tries to establish an initial report with each customer.

“Because the gallery has so much work, a customer may not see what they are looking for, but that doesn’t always mean it is not available,”she said.

The MacLauren Markowitz Gallery stores art not currently on display and also has a resource file of available art for customers to browse.

Reynolds said gallery personnel work with customers until they feel comfortable with what they want, even if that means they need to see how their purchase will look in their home or business.

Many galleries offer customers the option of taking art out on approval.

“We want them to be really sure,” Reynolds said.

To increase the likelihood that customers will be satisfied with their purchase, the MacLauren Markowitz Gallery provides an art consulting service for both residential and commercial customers.

Barbara Lewis, an art consultant for the MacLauren Markowitz Gallery, said beginners should start at galleries first, look around and find out what they like. Perusing art in a gallery will provide novices with a general feel for the type of work that appeals personally.

“Art is such a personal thing,” she said. “It’s just about what you like.”

After determining the type of work, beginners should get the names of, and possibly background information on, the artist or artists they are interested in. The MacLauren Markowitz Gallery offers biographical information on the artists. Lewis said customers should not be afraid to ask gallery sales personnel for help.

Jeremy Schwartz, a sales representative at the Busch Gallery, located at 1426 Pearl St., agreed that the first step he takes is to determine what the person is looking for.

The Busch Gallery offers paintings, pottery, sculptures and jewelry. Schwartz said deciding on a piece depends on the customer’s budget, space and placement.

“Most people are looking for paintings,” he said. “It’s rare that someone comes into a gallery without having any idea what they’re looking for.”

But if someone is not certain where their interests lie, Schwartz said galleries in Boulder offer a wide variety of work to browse and that potential buyers should “enjoy the process.”.

And the process may involve more than forming an interest in a particular style or artist.

“You should try to gain knowledge any way you can,” Lewis said. “Knowledge is what’s going to get you excited about a particular piece.”

And when it comes to making that final decision, Lewis said buyers have to follow their gut instinct and know that they are not alone.

“There are a lot of people who just aren’t sure,” she said.

Many art consultants don’t charge for their services and can be referred by gallery sales people to interested customers.

In addition to consulting services, buyers in many galleries also have the option of a payment plan.

Reynolds said potential buyers should not be discouraged by the myth that all artwork is expensive.

“You can buy artwork no matter what your budget may be,” she said. “We carry a wide range of work with some originals costing what a poster may cost.”

Prices at the Busch Gallery range from $30 for a piece of jewelry to $15,000 for a bronze sculpture, and some original paintings and pottery start at about $100.

Schwartz said prices depend on collectibility and the process that goes into making a particular piece.

“There’s a reason behind it,” he said. “If a piece or an artist becomes very popular, that will push the price up.”

But even more than price, Reynolds said there are a lot more choices available today, and people are responding to that.

” More and more people are wanting art as a part of their lives,”she said. “People are interested in and open to a wider range of artwork.”

So interested and open that art has been taken off the walls and placed on the person. Reynolds said wearable art, usually jewelry, has increased in popularity, especially among women.

“More people want to make an artistic statement personally,” she said.

BOULDER — Not everyone can be an expert at everything. So when looking to make an aesthetic investment, potential fine-art buyers should remember that finding the perfect piece is a matter of taste.

To relieve some of the pressure that may cause window shoppers to hesitate at the doors of galleries, Marilyn Reynolds, owner of the MacLauren Markowitz Gallery located at 1011 Pearl St. in Boulder, makes the gallery more inviting by showcasing unique display items. Shoppers are greeted by ice sculptures, and stark white walls have been replaced with colors that create a…

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