No, it is not to symbolize wealth
. True, money is indispensable for any art and antique collection. But that is only a necessity. In fact almost every hobby approached with certain degree of obsession, burns a hole in the pockets.
No, it is not for decorative purpose alone. Art has a role greater than mere decoration. IKEA posters can certainly complete the task of home decoration. Decoration is pleasing, but art is elevating.
However, art collecting is not entirely for edification either. Fundamentally there is a huge difference between the pleasure that comes from looking at art and that which derives from ownership. The edification, the happiness of viewing the beauty can be and have been fulfilled by visiting museums around the world, many of which are free to the public.
Here is what Tobias Meyer said:
Owning art, unlike seeing it in a museum, is a very primal pleasure.
Having it there, close to you, something that you associate with great beauty or great emotional expression, something that you associate with a soul, or with status–owning it gives you another status — is very important.
It’s a very intense feeling for many people.