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The 3 Best Places To Buy Art (And How To Do It Well)

From online galleries to art fairs, buying can be a little overwhelming. We asked the pros for their tips.
Emily McInnes, founder of Eye Buy Art Emily McInnes: Founder and director of online store Eye Buy Art

Buying Art Online

Start with a credible source: Search notable blogs or trusted media sources first. You’ll start to see some of the same galleries being listed.

Check out the materials: Make sure proper, long-lasting archival materials are used. With photography, look for museum-quality printing processes such as C-prints.

Be Quantity Conscious: Be wary of open or non-limited editions, where the image can be printed repeatedly; they’re essentially posters.

Image of Will Ramsay Will Ramsay: Founder of the global Affordable Art Fair, and its sister fair, Love Art Fair

Buying Art From a Fair 

Have a pen and paper at the ready: Write down the galleries and stand numbers of the artists you like. Have a drink and a think, then make another round.

Don't buy for investment: Buy what you like, not what you think you should be buying. Buy because you love it.

Try and resist to buy art that matches back to the sofa: A collection is a reflection of you, it’s whatever you decide to collect.

Lisa Kehler headshot Lisa Kehler: Owner and director of Lisa Kehler Art + Projects

Buying From A Commercial Gallery

Don’t assume galleries are out of your league: Pricing depends on many factors. Galleries representing emerging artists are often quite affordable.

Understand how pricing works: An artist’s popularity and experience are factors when pricing art — very generally, the bigger the piece, the bigger the price. Medium also matters: Oil paintings are often costly because of the time they take to dry. Finally, there’s supply and demand! The more an artist’s work is collected, the more you can expect to pay.

Ask for affordable options: Layaway and instalment options are also good ways to acquire larger, more expensive works.


Great online art markets:

The 3 Best Places To Buy Art (And How To Do It Well) Minted: An online market that sells work of independent artists who are not accessible through traditional retailers. Eye Buy Art: This online market's goal is to make art affordable so more people can own it. They represent artists who have been reviewed by high-profile juries and named “one’s to watch out for." Circuit Editions: A division of Circuit Gallery. An online shop that specializes in limited editions of contemporary photography, and print-based art on paper. Art Bomb Daily: An online service that delivers an email every day of the week to your inbox, featuring one to three biddable artworks. Bidding is between 6am-11pm. All works are delivered ready to hang. 20x200: Collaborates with artists to produce limited-edition artwork exclusively for 20x200. Each piece comes with an artist-signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. Society 6: An eclectic mix of art prints by thousands of artists from around the world.


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