How to Buy Artwork 

September 23, 2014
How to Buy Artwork

buying artwork

“I might not know art, but I know what I like.” It’s a common saying and one that is often used to patronize but in actual fact, personal taste is the perfect starting point for a guide to buying art for your home.

What artwork is right for your home?

When it comes to personal style and art, the options are pretty much limitless. Do you like contemporary art, or something more traditional? Do you like paintings, photographs, sketches, posters, water colours or maps? Do you prefer something 3D, such as a sculpture, antique or relic? Or does your definition of artwork fall to multi-function items, such as vases or even furniture?

If you don’t have an answer, then consider home magazines and the rooms they feature. What artwork are you naturally drawn to – what artwork catches your eye? As you find more and more examples you will begin to identify common features which can become a great starting point for developing an understanding of what artwork really appeals to you. Art truly is in the eye of the beholder and what you deem to be artwork is exactly what will be appropriate for your home.

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Why are you buying artwork?

Is it to beautify your interior, or is it because you've connected deeply with something and just have to have it? Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Then again, maybe you’re buying art as an investment – something you hope will increase in value over time. If that is the case, then you are likely to require a very significant budget – the chance of striking it lucky with something well-priced that explodes in value down the track is not all that high. Indeed, why you are buying artwork will no doubt influence the budget you will allocate to the item – if it is something you feel you just cannot live without, then obviously you’re far more likely to find extra dollars to make it yours. If however, you have the luxury of deciding with your head as much as with your heart, then it certainly pays to research.

What should you research?

If you can, request a CV of the artist – find out who they are, where they studied, whether or not they have received awards in the past. Perhaps if you can, get a feel for the quality and price of their earlier works and see how they have evolved over time. The value of a piece of art is of course intrinsically linked to its artist, so it’s a good idea to find out more about the source.

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Where will the artwork go?

Depending on who is giving the counsel, the answer to this question may or may not influence the artwork you purchase for your home! There seem two fairly distinct and different schools of thought here – you either purchase artwork for its own sake, or your purchase artwork that you know will work in the desired space. To which school do you belong?

Be mindful to get the most from your artwork once the purchase is made. For example, standard advice suggests artwork be hung at eye level so that it can be fully appreciated. This means large framed pieces should be hung with the very centre of the artwork at eye level. Also – consider lighting. If you have just bought yourself a truly amazing piece of art, then you want to be sure you have the appropriate lighting to showcase it.

What’s a reasonable price?

How long is a piece of string! If you are starting out on a budget then a good rule of thumb is to seek out artwork such as photography, posters, and sketches; you should be able to find quality for competitive prices within these mediums.

Buy Artwork