Everything You Need To Know When Buying Art Online

Everything You Need To Know When Buying Art Online

Young Woman in a Black and Green Bonnet, c. 1890, Princeton University Art Museum

With the digital world and e-commerce platforms rapidly rising over the last decade or two. Moreover, consumers have started taking to making purchases online more. It has been a very apparent thing in the art world as well. 

The Boating Party by Mary Cassatt, 1893–94, oil on canvas, 35½ × 46 in., National Gallery of Art, Washington

Art collectors used to only buy art at exhibitions, or shops, however now, a huge amount of art sales are done online. The whole business is shifting and now some people who have never done this before are choosing to give online art buying a try. 

But, for many there are some anxieties surrounding buying art online, check out this review of great places to buy art online, and then stick around to find out everything that you should be looking into when you go to purchase art online. 

While buying paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photography online can be super easy and also super rewarding, you always need to be vigilant and aware of the factors that keep this experience positive. 

You need to validate the work, ensure it is authentic, that the platform is legitimate, and even more. 

So, we are here today to tell you all about how you can ensure that you get the most out of your experience buying art online, and that it is positive for you.

Why Buy Art Online?

Tea by Mary Cassatt, 1880, oil on canvas, 25½ × 36¼ in., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Being able to buy art online totally changes the whole experience of buying it. Thanks to the internet we are able to engage with and pursue great art with extreme accessibility and ease. 

Buying art online has become increasingly popular over the years, and it is only rising. Galleries even use online platforms to sell art now, and most auction houses will have online auctions frequently as well. 

It is a big part of the art world. And if you do no not participate there is a chance you are missing out. 

There are skeptics of the whole online art buying scene though. However, the online side has made art collecting much easier and less painstaking overall. Prices are more transparent, there is more variety, and more that speaks to why it is so popular. 

Top Tips

When you start buying art online you absolutely have to start your searches through trusted and reliable sites that are selling genuine works by real and recognizable artists. You do not want to be scammed or stuck with something you can not return. Since you aren’t buying from Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Acquavella Galleries!

So, here are some top tips for you to check out so that you can make sure the art buying process goes smoothly for you when you shop for art online.

Research, Research, Research

Oil, c. 1871, private collection. Mrs. Currey had worked for the Cassatt family. When Mary Cassatt returned home from Paris at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, she asked Mrs. Currey to pose for her and gave her the sketch. Superimposed (the canvas turned upside down) is a sketch of her father.…

You should always look at how valid the online seller is, this should really be the case for any online shopping you do though. Look into how reliable the party who serves is the middle ground between you, the gallery and the artist. 

Be certain that you are on a genuine site and look out for customer reviews. 

You need to ensure that everything surrounding the seller and artist is legitimate. This means the site, the seller, and so on. 

You should also research the work as well. Thankfully the internet is a great place for you to find pretty much everything you need. If you are not able to determine whether the information you find is reliable, you can ask the experts. 

Simply ask a gallery, it might seem scary, but they are not as intimidating as they may seem and will clarify things for you. 

Check The Authenticity

You also want to ensure that the piece you seek to buy is authentic. This means that it should come with a certificate of authenticity. This can oftentimes be as important as the art itself, it will accompany any valued piece of work. Whether it should sell or not.

It will inform you of the date in which the art was created, the provenance it was created in and the artist. It verifies and proves that the work was created by the artist. 

As a side note, this certificate is also useful should you ever need to resell. 

Prioritize Security

You should always prioritize security when you shop online, no matter what you are buying, however, obviously should something cost a lot you want even more security. This means that you want to be certain that payment methods are secure. 

While debit and credit card payments are safe, alternative forms such as PayPal are also trusted (and encrypted). Cryptocurrency is also becoming very popular when it comes to big purchases online, and with its encryption there is no surprise there. 

Think About Shipping

Portrait de fillette, 1879, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux

Whenever you buy a piece of art, you probably love it. So you want it to be properly handled and shipped with care by professionals. When you buy art online you need to pay attention to what professional handler will be used, as well as any insurance that comes alongside it. 

For an expensive large scale art piece it is best to confirm the arrangement before doing anything. Make sure you know whether the art will be shipped in custom specially-made crates to handle the artwork during its transport to you. 

Do not forget to get a tracking number, so you can be certain of where it is on its destination to you. 

Always Think About Returns Policies

You will also want to be sure if there is a returns’ policy. That’s not to say that you will need to return it, but if you do need to for some reason you want to ensure the option is there. 

There should be a clear set period where you can return the item to the seller. Make sure you know about refunds upon return as well. 

Is It A Good Fit For Your Home?

Summertime by Mary Cassatt, c. 1894, oil on canvas, Terra Foundation for American ArtChicago

Buying art online is not only about the buying process as well, you should also be thinking about what is a good fit for your home. 

Not all art that you would like is suitable to be in your home (if you are buying it for your home that is). 

Artwork will add a beautiful touch to your life. However, you want to make sure that the artwork you purchase for your home is a good fit. Will it clash with the color scheme in your home, does it overfill an area while others look bare. 

Also, do not let taste alone define your purchases, think about what looks good as well. You might love Warhol style works, but maybe Monet would work better in your home, and once it’s up on your wall, you may well fall in love with it. 

However, do consider what is practical. You won’t be able to fit the Mona Lisa in your living room. A 40×40” painting might sound amazing if it’s one you love, but it’s not practical for most homes. 

So, do not forget to think practically about size as well. 

A Thought About NFT Art

Physical art is not the only type of art you can buy online. There are plenty of other types of art you can buy online as well, one of these being NFT’s. 

With the rise of cryptocurrency, NFTs have appeared and are proving to be very popular. NFTs are non-fungible tokens, and can be online, computer art or even the rights to ‘in-the-flesh’ artwork. 

There are different things you need to think about when purchasing NFTs however, but if you are well versed in cryptocurrency, then it should not be a problem for you. 

Back To News

Everything You Need To Know When Buying Art Online