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  • Writer's pictureVishakha

How to Confidently Buy Art For the First Time

It’s a bright, sunny day outside and you have decided to add a touch of fine artistry to your living room. You have never done this before but you now want to buy art and you don’t know where to start. You're confused about the type of painting you want. Or wait... Do you even want a painting? Or should you go for a photograph instead? Maybe wall art is a better option. But, where will you hang it? What should be the size and color? What should be your budget?

Tips to Buy Art For Beginners

These questions often haunt new art buyers because they don’t know where to start. Running TERAVARNA’s Marketplace, we often receive similar queries from most new art collectors. They are excited, confused, and also a bit lost with so many options available in the market. After catering to numerous such buyers, here are some tips that can help you buy art with more confidence.

Expose Yourself to Fine Art

Buying art, especially the more expensive ones, can be a long-term commitment, so make sure it is worth committing to. In other words, look for something that defines your personal taste. If you haven’t explored much, start browsing the different types of art such as paintings, photographs, sculptures, prints, etc. Like different types of landscape paintings, different types of portraits, etc. It will expose you to different themes, mediums, and styles, making it easier for you to narrow down your choices.

You can look for virtual art exhibitions or visit brick-and-mortar galleries to communicate with the managers or artists in person. Notice how every artwork makes you feel. Ask yourself if you would be comfortable seeing it hanging in your living room every day. Since art is more about connecting with creativity, let your instincts guide you in finding the right piece of art. 

Fix Your Budget

When it comes to the art industry, there is actually no upper limit to the price of fine art. Its price often depends on the artist’s reputation, the time spent on creating it, the materials they used, etc. Hence, there can always be a huge price variation in what you think may be similar looking pieces of art.

To avoid splurging out of impulse, it's always best to fix a reasonable budget in advance. Once you have sufficiently explored the type of art you want to buy, think of a price band you are comfortable with. Do not forget to take into consideration the framing costs, installation charges, and shipping as required. 

Remember, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars when you buy art for the first time. You can find numerous artists within your budget who will be more than happy to sell their work to you. After all, the goal here is to help you embark on your art collection journey. We do not want you to end up regretting your purchase and never be able to afford another piece.

Decide Where You Want to Install It

Knowing where you want to set up your art purchase is as important as buying a good piece of art. Before you start narrowing down your choices further, fix the space where you want to install it. It could be a wall, a shelf, or even a furniture top that you feel may be lacking something. 

Avoid spaces in direct contact with sunlight or something right above your fireplace. The heat can damage the colors or alter the texture of the artwork. Finding the right place will also give you an idea of the dimensions you can look for in the artwork. You do not want something too big to fit or something too small that looks out of place.

Look for the Best Places to Buy Art

In this case, you have two options – buy directly from the artist or buy through a fine art gallery. Both options come with their own set of perks and repercussions. 

Buying from an artist allows you to directly communicate with the creator and learn their perspective on the artwork. Artists are also more open to negotiations in most cases. However, it is often quite difficult to find a genuine artist you would want to buy from. You may also find a lack of options because of the slow creation process and similarity in style. Additionally, if you live far away, they might not be willing to handle the shipping, packaging, insurance, and other charges.

On the other hand, galleries are more accustomed to professionally handling situations where an artist might lag. They offer you a wide range of options from multiple artists, thus expanding your choices. Their assistance in handling additional work like transportation and insurance is also more professional because it's part of their job.

However, most galleries charge some commission on sales from the artist which is eventually recovered from the buyer. Hence, the price of an artwork quoted by the galleries is often on the higher end. Also, when it comes to galleries they are not quite flexible with discounts either. It is because of the professional services they offer with their sales, it isn’t a feasible option for them. Therefore, when looking for the best places to buy art, do not overlook these factors.

Try to Find Out More About the Art Works

If you have managed to find something you like, try to learn more about it. Be it a gallery or the artist, do not hesitate to ask about the technique, paint, material, and other details. Sometimes if an artwork is too cheap it could be a print of the artwork instead of the original painting. Always make sure to ask that in advance. Remember, even if the seller is not a scammer, it isn’t exactly their responsibility to tell you that.

Moreover, it is something you are going to place in your personal space and look at every day. Hence, knowing about it in detail will help you appreciate it better. 

Go With Your Instinct

Every person has different expectations when they buy art. It is a personal experience for a reason. Different pieces of art evoke different emotions in every individual and neither one of them is wrong. You may really like something that has gone out of style or might not hold any resale value. However, unless you are buying it as an investment, these reasons alone should not stop you.

Ask About the Framing, Installations and Aftercare

Your art shopping doesn’t simply end after choosing an artwork that you want to buy. You must also consider the installation and framing options. If your artwork is already framed, make sure to check its quality and how it compliments the artwork. Apart from increasing the life of a painting, a frame’s job is to also compliment the artwork. If you are thinking of changing it, take that cost into consideration as well. You can also request the seller to change the frame and they may do it for a nominal cost.

It is best to find out about your installation options right at the time of purchase. Do not hesitate to ask the seller about their opinion on installations. Given their experience, they would be able to tell you different ways you can install the piece and how to take care of it.  For example, you may not want to wipe it with a wet cloth, lest it ruins the paint.

Negotiate the Terms of Purchase

Never hesitate to negotiate a fair price for the artwork. However, keep it reasonable and make sure it is a civil negotiation. Even if the seller doesn’t agree to offer a discount on the artwork, they might still be willing to do it on shipping and other expenses. Do not forget to ask them about insurance as well. Some galleries offer free insurance on their artworks while others can easily arrange it for you.

You can also ask them about the return policies in case you change your mind later on. Whatever your final terms are, make sure that you understand everything and get it in writing. Review the written agreement and keep that copy safe with you along with the invoice. This will avoid any future conflicts and make the purchase as smooth as possible. 

Buy Art For Your Soul Not For the Trends

Decorating your home or office with your choice of artwork is a wonderful approach to personalizing your space. It can bring a sense of belonging because it matches your taste and by extension can also enhance your mood. Therefore whenever you go to buy art for your home or office, always look for something that satisfies your soul. After all, it will stay with you for several years and should feel like something worth keeping.


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