Art & Decor Trends

Ten Tips for Buying Art Online

Kandinsky - Farbstudie Quadrate (Color Study of Squares) oil paintingThere are benefits of buying art online, the tools and comfort that web galleries provide have created a shift in the way art is bought and sold.

  1. A huge selection of artists and artworks.
  2. A great way to sort through a great deal of variety.
  3. Technology assistant to help us visualize the art in our home and on our walls.

All these and more make buying art online a very interesting proposition, but it does present some challenges. Here are 10 tips to help you optimize on your art shopping experience this holiday season.

Tip #1: Watch out for low quality
Anyone can make a website and put some pictures on it, and many do just that. This creates a challenge for the art connoisseurs looking through the heaps of online gallery clutter.

“There is a lot of junk out there,” said David Sasson, founder of OverstockArt.com, which is an online gallery for handmade oil painting reproductions. “You can find great art and wall décor possibilities online. Unfortunately, the great majority of art-selling web sites is of low quality and offers an amateur approach far below industry standards.”

The solution for sifting through all the junk is to look for sites that have customer reviews available, see what past customers are saying, look at how they rate the quality of the art and there general feelings about the shopping experience.

Tip #2: Offline presence
Another way to ensure high standards and quality is to stick with sites that offer an offline contact, may it be a physical location or just a phone number where you can talk to an actual décor consultant or a curator. It is important to know the knowledge and expertise level of the people who take care of your art; it can line you up with what to expect to arrive at your door step.

“Most established galleries provide detailed information about themselves,” Sasson added. “It is crucial that they have a physical address and a customer care phone number – I wouldn’t buy if they didn’t have one.”

Tip #3: Return Policy
Online galleries must have a lenient return policy, you must know that any decision you make in regards to the wall décor you buy is reversible and not final in any stretch of the imagination.

“It is important that people will not feel as if they are stuck with the artworks,” said Sasson. “Online art galleries should pride themselves with great customer service and a very comfortable return policy. In the long run this makes strangers into friends and friends into long lasting customers.”

Tip #4: Decide on Budget and Medium
The internet offers a wide range of art subjects, styles, mediums all priced differently. So it’s very important to decide on which styles and mediums you are interested in and what is your budget for your décor needs. Remember to include the cost of framing in your budget.

Tip #5: Research the art and the store
When you search through and find something that you like, look for as much background information as possible about the artist and the art itself. It just adds a lot to the buying experience and makes you look at the art in a different light.

In addition, make sure that the website you are dealing with is a legitimate business with secure purchasing and a solid privacy policy. Remember, that as an online buyer you are entitled to ask as many questions as possible, no question is off limits when shopping online.

Tip #6: The right size
This is the hardest aspect to gage in an online gallery; it is hard to envision the size of the art on your wall compared to the computer screen. My recommendation is to look for the size of the art in inches and take out your meter stick and envision it on your walls. Remember to take into account the dimensions of the artworks with the frames that usually add between 2 and 5 inches on each side.

Tip #7: Look for framing options
One of the great advantages of shopping online is the availability of tools to help you visualize the painting hanging in your home and customizing the artwork to your existing décor and style. Look for galleries offering customized framing. This enables you to pick the right frame for your home décor.

Tip #8: Take your time
It is easy to get caught up in the moment when shopping online. You see something that you like and you immediately decide on buying. However, it is really important to take your time and go through all the details before deciding on your purchase. Look at the size of the art, what sort of medium, the framing options, the final price, your existing décor, site reviews, shipping and return policies. Look through all of that and only then make your purchase decisions. It will help you make the right choice.

Tip #9: Buy what you love
Many people shop by the name of the artist. My advice to you is to shop for what you love. If you think something is beautiful then it is more important then who painted it.

Tip #10: Be a part of the art community
Even though shopping for art online is a great substitute for shopping in brick-and-mortar galleries, it is still very important to take part in social events and gallery openings. Be a part of the local art scene and support art in your community.

Amitai Sasson

About the Author

Amitai Sasson of overstockArt.com is an art world traveler on a mission to seek out the beauty and passion of the art world. As an avid enthusiast of art and oil paintings, he contributes to ArtCorner.com as Chief editor and writer.