Interior Goals | Part 2 - What to Buy?

By Nicholas Yau & Marine Tanguy

Published 19th Jun 2019

Marine Tanguy is a tour de force in the art world, recognised in Forbes’ 30 under 30 as a rising star working to democratise art ownership, she is the founder of MTArt Agency – an agency that supports emerging artists. The world’s first agency of its kind, it has reached international recognition for its ability to accelerate the career of its artists and the value of their works.


Marine, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to share your top tips on collecting art. So first of all, what drove you to start collecting art?

Collecting art is supporting the artists who will define our generation historically - what will they say about us, what have we done, changed or challenged? It felt key to me to support artists that I felt inspired by, to tell our story, in 100 years +.

On top of this, I was able to enhance my house and our offices with art – we have two art collections, the one of MTArt Agency and my personal one. It’s a privilege to feel inspired by the artwork on our walls whilst also benefiting from them financially as all of our artists are much more known today.

What was the first work of art you bought?

The first work I bought was by Tristan Pigott, his use of paint, the details and the psychology behind his works are incredible. This work is also sentimental as it was in the same year (2015) we started working together and he had a painting at the National Portrait Gallery under the BP award. This specific artwork captured our exhibition together in Lagos, Nigeria.

How did it make you feel?

As if I was acquiring a piece of brilliance, absolute talent and somehow, history. Something very valuable.

What do you look for when buying artwork?

My belief is in the artist. They are the ones who drive the artworks to be so powerful. You want an artist to be a perfectionist technically, always on the look out to challenge his/her medium. You also want him/her to respond to our context, tell something meaningful with his/her artistic vision. If you add a strong ambition and drive to this, then that’s it: you have a 'rare diamond'.

Then you just pick the work that appeals most to you personally. My life partner is a VC and we have been together for years. The thing that has always united us since we met is the drive to spot the next talents to invest in: for him it is in tech with his own fund, and for me it is in art with our agency.

Is it important for a collection to follow certain rules?

It all depends on what you are trying to achieve. With the corporate collection of the agency and my personal collection, we want to have collected the most exciting artists of today. A little like the YBAs, I feel that this generation of artists has so much to offer. It’s a very exciting time to collect and invest in them.

Do you feel it is important to know about the artist?


What physical attributes do you consider when buying a work?

I think it all depends on the career of the artist. Is this work meaningful to the artist’s career? Is that series in demand? Is it super innovative? 

Do you always have a particular space in mind when you are buying new artworks?

My life partner has learnt that art always comes first. When we got our house on Museum Street, the art was hung before we even had knives and forks. This is also true in terms of the people that create the art. We are expecting our first child and the artists and the child are just as important in my life today.

How do you see your collection evolving?

It’s such a joy to see the careers of the artists' already taking off since we purchased their work – it makes you a part of their amazing ride and I love that. I see our two collections becoming more and more respected and soon, exhibited.

Many of our readers are just about to embark on their first art buying journey - what top tip can you leave them with?

Research! You are so lucky to be in a time where more and more facts are online. If you keep on seeing an artist, in the press, on the walls or involved in various projects, you are stumbling upon someone who is clearly fast rising so it’s time to buy!

And finally, how can our readers keep hearing more of what you are up to?

For MTArt have a look at the website or follow us on Instagram at @mtartagency. And for my personal account it is @marinetanguyart.

Marine Tanguy thank you very much!


Marine Tanguy is an arts entrepreneur and founder of MTArt Agency.

You can read Part 1 of our series of Interior Goals with Alex Stedman here.