PDF Booklet is here!

Here is a 51-page booklet version of this blog, designed to be printed on 13 pieces of 8.5″ x 11″ paper (landscape mode), then folded in half and saddle-stitched:

The Chow Collection PDF (2.8MB, Updated 2/22/2016)

Adobe reader should give you a booklet option when printing it.

5 responses to “PDF Booklet is here!

  1. Greetings Mr. Chow,

    Seeing and reading about your collection has truly been the “feast for the eyes.” I have also recently got myself into collecting artwork and I have to admit, it is intoxicating!

    Just a question (or perhaps, a suggestion from one collector to another). It seems like you have set an yearly budget of around $18,000, which is a considerable amount. However, you have decided to make monthly purchase, which leaves you with 12 artworks comprised of $1,500 in price tag per piece. In addition, I also see that you have focused on oil paintings rendered from many centuries ago. Although they are truly interesting to look at as long as you enjoy the purchases for self-pleasure and social values, from my understanding, there is little to no hope of any price appreciation with no significant market for artists that do not carry heavy weight names from 16th-19th century, making resale attempts extremely tenuous. Lastly, despite how many times we tell ourselves that after years of collecting, we have acquired eyes to spot fakes or artwork delved with significant restoration, it is still notoriously “dangerous” to make purchases on eBay.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to devote the entire $18,000 in budget for an artwork of considerable market value and recognition at well-established auction houses and galleries that guarantee authenticity? Prior to artwork collecting, I have delved in collecting numerous other objects including coins, baseball cards, all sort of cards, stamps, currencies, and etc. ever since my childhood and I have come to the conclusion that it would have been better to devote my time and financials on one or two of considerable value (quality over volume), as 99% of everything that I have collected, carries no market value.

    Once again, this is just merely an opinion of a novice collector. As long as you enjoy collecting artwork based on the monthly budget constraints, go ahead with it. I am just afraid that after 10 years of collecting, you will find yourself with collection with initial acquisition value of hundreds of thousands of dollars that carries little to no market value (or no turnover) in the future. Even $10,000 could net you with a single artwork by a notable artist! Being able to enjoy an artwork for its beauty and social value should be the crux of collecting, but it is definitely more mesmerizing if you know that your collection will appreciate in value (or at least, maintain its purchase price)!


  2. Oh and one more thought! You do not collect paintings on canvas because you are not susceptible to the idea of paintings’ condition deteriorating under your care. With your yearly budget of $18,000, I am certain that you can spare some to condition your house to make it more tolerable for paintings (at least, the humidity part)!


  3. For example, as oil paintings are highly susceptible to UV damages, I made sure to replace the glasses into Tru Vue’s Museum Glasses. In addition to collecting artwork, I also find joy in how I present those artwork and as such, I have allocated a portion of my budget to replacing (or enhancing) the frames at the most recognized frame shop at my location.

    Since you are into old masters’ paintings, you will find this blog equally pleasurable! The author has been writing blogs solely dedicated to frames used in old masters’ paintings.



    • Oops, it seems like my another previous post did not get posted! I meant, you can alleviate your fear of collecting paintings rendered on canvas by conditioning the environment of your home (at least, the humidity part).


  4. Dear Arnold,

    Thank you very much for writing, I congratulate you on catching the collecting bug! I should start off by saying that the re-sale value of the art that I buy has no influence whatsoever, not even maintaining the purchase price. I do not invest or speculate. I buy, and then I research and share what I can discover about the artworks. It is a philanthropic and educational endeavor to its core. I have chosen to follow collector role-models (Eugene Thaw, Grenville Winthrop, Otto Wittmann, Isabella Gardner) who have pursued the most unfashionable arts, and if they do happen to be fashionable, they are acquired through the most convoluted and riskiest means possible, to keep prices low. In one sense I am trying to do this on a relatively low budget like Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, just to prove that it can be done. My mission is to buy things that deserve to be placed in museums to be studied, and though I don’t yet have a clear idea of where they will end up, my purpose has failed if a work of art has no interesting stories to tell that shed light on the past, or if the level of craftsmanship and subject matter fail to inspire generations of artists. In a sense, I buy things that I think I can learn the most from, and I hope that others can learn from them, too. I am rooting for the objects and the artists who made them to be recognized and appreciated for what they have to say. I buy them so I can share them, for fear that others would rather keep the world ignorant of them to protect their own interests.

    The monthly acquisition of objects was ambitious, and lasted from late 2012 to late 2014, and while it helped jump-start the collection I did feel that I was making an unsustainable number of rash decisions. However, I do not chase easy targets, so mistakes are expected. I scour the world for objects in so far as they are available online (I have never bought art in person), and would much rather gamble on one object from every country in the world than establish a strong and loyal relationship with certain art dealers or galleries. “Guaranteed authenticity” is avoided at all costs. I do go after the risky ones, I do trust my eye, and I do make all kinds of mistakes and lose an enormous amount of money because of it. But I accept all of that, because some of the things I have found by going this route, I think any museum or collector with an unlimited budget would be hard-pressed to find another example for ANY price. That is my reward.

    I agree that quality is always more important than quantity. These past couple years I seem to have shifted into a mode of buying 1-2 very expensive purchases, rather than a dozen cheaper ones (annual budget is closer to $8,000 now, that $18,000 number was over a period of 19 months). The risk at this level is quite dangerous, but on the other hand, nothing concentrates your mind better than the possibility of a $5,000 painting being a fake! I have only just gotten comfortable with the idea of spending $3000 on a painting, so it makes sense to be more conservative and buy the safe bet at higher levels, but it’s definitely not for me! I am all about buying inherently great work that REQUIRES a good eye to have the confidence to purchase, often it is poorly photographed, poorly described, poorly marketed. The stuff that almost no one knows about, that is never offered by the professional dealers, that most museums cannot agree to purchase, because it might waste their funds for the sure bets. Provenance, prestige of the artist, their presence in museum collections, market value, professionalism of galleries and dealers, how unpleasant it looks without a good frame–all of this means nothing to me when buying art. I want the price I pay to be low, and I want the art to be museum quality. Since 2012 I have always thought of myself as building another Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in which I take on the responsibility of finding the core collection of masterpieces, and not worrying about all that other stuff until the most important part has taken shape. I don’t think it gets emphasized enough, how much lower were the prices she paid compared to other collectors at the time! This is the beginning phase of a 5-10 year project. I am young enough that it can continue for 50 years after that, if I’m lucky, and if the Internet lasts that long, haha. That amount of time is impossible for me to comprehend!

    I think with paintings on canvas, the reason I avoid them is because I am much more easily deceived by the ones in bad condition when buying online. They are also much more prone to have or require inpainting. A good, untouched condition is very important to me, so you could say I am willing to take risks on any aspect other than the condition of the object.

    Thank you again Arnold, please do ask more questions if you have any! I would love to hear about what you are collecting.

    Best regards,


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