Thursday, 29 May 2008

Many people feel that art is an important part of home dÈcor. And even though for most of us, buying the works of great artists is well out of reach, there is still much within reach that can both help to create the atmosphere youíre striving for, and also support the local or international art scene. Hereís what we know about buying artwork.


The Basics

  • Picasso, Van Gogh and other masters were once young, unknown and often dirt poor. Someone purchased their paintings when they were only emerging artists and you can do the same today. Emerging artists selling affordable artwork are everywhere.

  • We don’t recommend buying art as an investment. If you choose to buy art, it should be because a piece speaks to you and because you enjoy it. If a painting or other artwork you buy increases in value, consider yourself lucky!

  • When it comes to deciding what to buy, you just have to trust yourself. There is all sorts of art out there and the best way to know what you like is to go and look. Look for something that appeals to you and your sense of style. Find out about it and ask questions to learn more.

  • To make sure a piece enriches your life, take it home for a test drive. Many galleries will give you a week or so to see if the piece is really for you.

  • As a very general rule, here's what to expect for relative pricing:

    • paintings done in oil, watercolour, or acrylic go for more than drawings and prints. <

    • Pieces done on canvas go for more than those done on paper.

    • Like all good rules, this one too is meant to be broken. And when it comes to shopping for art there are no strict rules.

  • Most galleries will give you a few months to pay. And unless you have fallen in love with an established hot selling artist, ask and you might receive a ten percent discount.

  • When you’re shopping at a gallery, see if you can get into the back room. Galleries usually have way more art than they can hang all at once.

  • A less expensive way to have original art is to rent pieces from a public art gallery. A monthly rental is usually about 3 percent of the painting's value. If you decide to buy, the gallery will apply your rental fee to the purchase price.

  • One thing you probably cannot do is save money by going directly to the artist. Galleries regularly charge a commission of around 50 percent.

  • You can purchase prints, copies of original art, or originals.

    • Prints are like large, well-printed posters that you should frame.

    • Copies are typically done on canvas either by hand or by a laser. They can be pretty pricey too.

Other Considerations

  • One way to learn about art is to get on a gallery’s mailing list. Then every month or so you will get a post card from the gallery inviting you to an upcoming show. Openings are fun and often include some food, drink and socializing – not to mention the art.

  • There are a few things to keep in mind when touring art shows. Shows are good places to buy original work, but there is often competition for the favourite pieces. Call the gallery before the launch and ask to take a look before the crowds. On opening night, you will already know your favourites and be ready to buy.

  • At a gallery, remember:

    • A red dot beside a painting means it has sold.

    • A blue dot it means someone has expressed an interest in buying the painting.

    • If you also like the work, then get in line – ask the gallery to add a second dot for you.

Be Aware

  • There are workshops and classes that claim to teach you how to invest in art. The truth is that investing in art is a real long shot and is not the reason that most of us should purchase a piece. Buy art based on your instincts. Trust yourself, ask questions and most importantly look at a lot of art. You will only know what’s out there by going out and finding it.



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