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A Man's Guide to Buying Art


Gallery owner, art collector and BC member Gunnar Nordstrom on how guys should approach art.


Reflections magazine: In your experience, do men and women have different approaches when collecting art? If so, what are those differences?

Gunnar Nordstrom: “In my experience, collecting art can be very similar for men and woman, but just buying art can be very different.”

“Men and women who seriously collect have specific interests, directions and a methodology toward building their collection, and while their art choices might differ, the format is similar. Both are thoughtful and knowledgeable in their purchases, and both possess a sense of direction.” 

“I find that men tend to be more eclectic in their choices of artists, while women tend to support one artist a little more. Not that men don’t. I just see women being more selective.”

“When simply buying art for a decorative reason over collecting, women are far more particular than men. Women buy works they like regardless of the cost and overlook any decorative style and want to enjoy what they see daily. Men who aren’t necessarily collectors just seem to want it to look good to others and aren’t totally invested in what the works are.” >>>


RM: What are some styles, mediums or artists in your gallery that often to appeal to men?

GN: “For over 20 years, my gallery has had a direction of a playful and whimsical style that seemed to appeal to both men and women, and it hasn’t been until the past eight years that my gallery’s style has broadened to include a much greater variety. With this newer selection, I find that both men and women have gravitated toward an abstract style much more.” 

“Acrylics and oils still tend to be popular mediums; however, one artist that I carry that spans both gender’s interest paints with an oil resin on aluminum, giving the surface a shiny and reflective look that seems to have a great appeal.”


RM: What are some of the biggest mistakes men make when choosing art?

GN: “Mistakes men make are from making a decision too fast and off the cuff. We offer an approval service that helps eliminate anything coming back after a quick decision where it isn’t enjoyed once they get it home. This is just the inexperience of looking at art and having a foundation of what they really like.”


RM: Is there a different approach men should take when choosing art for their home versus their office?

GN:  “Absolutely. Choosing art for a large office interior is generally done to create a sense of being at ease, create a pleasant environment and normally is interior design oriented. Men who choose art for a private office tend to buy works that are important to them. Whether it is a Neiman golf scene or a Picasso, these are works that share their personal interests, outlook and stature.”

“Buying work for the home spans a bit of both office approaches. You will find works that are reflective of their personal interest as well as combining a nice decorative feel.”


RM: Do you have any advice for men who want to start collecting art?

GN: "Collecting art takes time and isn’t to be rushed. Find a dealer you trust and someone who can guide you without regard to price, someone who can give you a sense of real value between different works and artists.”

“A good collector has the ability to seek out specific works from the abundance of work out there and assemble them into a collection, where the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Not all men look at their purchases as a collection; however, many do.”

“Becoming familiar with the artist, whether local or international, can help create a more sincere approach to buying art for a collection. Attending gallery openings and meeting artists is a great way to wade into the collecting world as well as expanding a social sphere. Experiencing a wide selection of art and artists helps build a direction of interest, and as in anything, the more knowledge you have the better decisions you can make.”

“The most important thing is to have fun and experience the art world as an adventure.” 

For more advice, head to Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery. Visit for more information.   

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