"I close my eyes in order to see" ~ Paul Gaugin

 

How to buy art online?

Traditionally, art was purchased from galleries or art dealers. Art is sometimes sold directly from dealers to collectors (who may be buying the work as in investment) without the public ever having the chance to see the work at all. Other methods of sale include art auctions (with the most famous auction houses being Christie's and Sotheby's), which boomed in the 1980's but then decreased in significance. Commissions vary according to different methods of sale, with galleries often taking 50%, auction houses 20% or less as the value goes up, and buyers having no way to determine the commissions taken when buying direct from dealers.

The major advantages of buying art online include the fact that there is no middle man adding their percentage to the cost (many offline galleries take 50% of the sale price, effectively doubling the price the buyer pays for the artwork), and thus the obvious result of direct buying which is a significantly lower price. Easy communication is also a big advantage, with most artists selling online being more than happy to answer any questions from prospective buyers. Another major advantage is secure PayPal payment, which makes it easy and safe to buy artwork using your PayPal account or any major credit-card.

Another huge advantage in buying art online is that it gives the buyer access to vastly more choice, so they can really chose the most perfect piece of artwork they desire. A gallery can only display a limited number of artworks on its walls, and even one of the major world cities only has so many galleries, but online the amount of art that can be displayed is literally limitless.

Another advantage for both the buyer and the artist is that artists selling their own work are unlikely to manipulate the prices in the way art galleries have been found to. In the 1970's it was found that a particular art gallery had manipulated the prices of Rothko paintings so that the gallery made more money and the artist (or his estate in this case) made less, and this illegal practice also raised the price for buyers. However, such manipulations hold no advantage when the sale is a direct one between the artist (or the owner of the work) and the buyer.

While the traditional art market is often criticized in many ways, for things including lack of transparency, out-of-date valuation methods, as well as lack of ethics, none of these factors apply to the online market where there are no manipulations due to middle-men and so both the artists and the buyers both reap the benefits of a simpler and fairer system.

One important point when buying art online is to check the size of the location where the artwork will be hung before starting to look at art else one can find oneself in love with a piece that is not a good fit for the space it needs to be presented in. Also keep in mind your requirements for framing (and matting) and also shipping costs and times.

So, now you know how to buy art online, you can take a look at the wonderful variety of online galleries and make your choices.



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