What to Consider Before You Buy Artwork
Buying art is one of life’s great joys. Finding artworks that speak to you emotionally, become a talking point at the dinner table among friends, consolidate your collection and have the potential to increase in value will give you a buzz. However, it’s all too easy to be swayed into making a quick purchase without doing your due diligence and researching the work, artist, or gallery you’re about to invest in. Here are a few things you should consider before buying artwork.
Research The Artist
What do you know about the artist of the work? Getting a sense of their practice, history, and style will mean you can make an informed decision about the work you want to bring into your collection. For some collectors, a work that is typical of an artist’s body of work will be a perfect choice. For others, finding a piece from a new or rare body of work is really exciting and demonstrates their connoisseurship. For more information on how to find the perfect artist to collect, check out our recent article ‘How to Choose an Artist to Collect’.
Search For Market Data
Who else is selling this artist’s works? How regularly an artist is being sold at auction, in galleries, and on the secondary market can indicate their popularity and the value of their work. It is also important to check previous sales data - which can be found through online searches and auction records - to see whether the prices for this artist’s work are increasing, by how much, and give an indication as to where along the price trajectory you are purchasing.
Check Artwork Conditions
If you are viewing an artwork in person, make sure to conduct a thorough visual inspection of the piece. Is there any visible damage? Is it pre-stretched or pre-framed? If so, what is the condition of the frame and stretcher? When buying on the secondary market, the seller should be able to provide you with a guarantee of the work’s condition and information on how it has been created and how it needs to be preserved. Having accurate information about the artwork’s condition is paramount for taking care of the artwork and setting up relevant insurance policies.
Find Out Maintenance Requirements
Make sure that you understand what is needed to maintain your artwork and keep it looking its best. Certain materials may be sensitive to sunlight or moisture exposure, which will affect where and how you display it. You may also need to purchase additional protective measures for your artwork, such as framing, plinths, or glass casing, to ensure that you can enjoy the art for as long as possible.
Consider The Financials
Determine how much you are willing to spend on your artwork. Keep in mind that the value of art can fluctuate over time, so it's important to have a long-term perspective when setting your budget. If you have considerations around the art purchase as supporting your investment portfolio, you may also want to consider whether there is appreciation potential and generating income through loans or exhibitions of the artwork. Understanding your goals will help you focus your search and make informed decisions about which pieces to purchase. Last but not least, it is crucially important to protect your artwork through adequate insurance.
Don’t Forget About Added Costs
The price presented to you may only be for the artwork, excluding shipping, importation or additional tax costs. Ensure that you know exactly how much you will be spending on the artwork in total including additional costs of framing or maintenance before you buy. What can seem like a bargain may be too good to be true and come with hidden costs, especially if you have to ship it internationally.
We pride ourselves on the due diligence we perform on each artwork sold through our marketplace, giving you peace of mind when you buy through us. You can also insure your collection via our platform, with artworks purchased on our Marketplace coming with up to 24 months insurance included. We don’t believe that buying art that you love should be difficult, so we’re on hand to make things as smooth as possible from start to finish.