Ten Tips for Buying Art – and Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck!

Investing in art can be rewarding on a personal and financial level. The following tips will ensure you get the best of both worlds!
1. Get online. Like everything else, comparison-shopping will ensure you find the best product for your situation. The Internet is the only efficient way to take advantage of the vast array of different styles, prices, mediums and sizes of art available to collectors.
2. Avoid art without a price. When you are directed to inquire about pricing, it is most likely an attempt to gauge your interest and charge you the highest possible price according to your circumstances.
3. Look for an independent artist. Commercial galleries have their place, but you get far better value when you purchase directly from an emerging or “not-yet-established” artist. Keep in mind, as well, that a gallery’s cut is usually 50% of what you pay.
4. Find a unique, consistent style. A contemporary work of art that looks “just like” a Monet or Picasso, for example, might have aesthetic appeal, but will not prove to be “valuable” over time. Ultimately, you want to find an artist who can eventually be identified by his or her style (without looking at the signature).
5. Study the artist’s biography. Knowing some fundamental information about an artist can help you gauge their potential for growth and often provides insight into their work.
6. Look for dedication, not education. When looking for a great doctor or lawyer, academic accreditation matters. When looking for great art, however, it really doesn’t matter at all. Artists whose work appreciates the fastest exhibit a strong work ethic and a lifelong dedication to their craft. Picasso, for example, had no formal training past the age of 16, but was the most prolific artist of the 20th century.
7. Interact directly with the artist before buying. Like hiring a good employee, the best way to “prospect” a particular artist is to speak with them. When buying art online, this also allows you to verify contact information and ensure a safe transaction.
8. Negotiate. If you find an artist whose work falls well within your budget, offer to by multiple pieces at a discounted price. Alternately, you could suggest buying successive pieces over time for a predetermined amount.
9. Frame the work yourself. A frame should not only enhance your art, but should also compliment the space in which it hangs. It is also less expensive to buy and ship unframed art.
10. Promote “your” artist after the deal is done. There is a direct correlation between the value of an artwork and the name recognition of the artist who painted it. By encouraging others to explore “your” artist’s work, you increase the value of your personal collection.
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