by Lee Down

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Buying art is not just about choosing something for your walls – it’s a process that involves research and careful consideration. With the rise of online galleries, the art buying process has expanded, offering more opportunities for art collectors and enthusiasts to discover new artists and pieces that best fit their tastes. However, online purchasing also brings with it a new set of challenges. As an art advisor, it is important to share the best strategies and tips for researching, choosing, and buying art from an online gallery.

Look for Quality Not Just Popularity

When selecting art pieces, it’s not necessarily the most popular artists that produce the best quality of work. Many renowned art collectors emphasize the importance of seeking quality over quantity. Renee Bar Stack, the Executive Director of the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, highlights the importance of quality saying, “The important thing is the criteria shouldn’t necessarily be fame, but should be quality of work.” As you browse through online galleries, take the time to look for quality and not just hype.

How to Determine Quality of an Artwork

Determining the quality of artwork versus popularity can be a subjective process that depends on the preferences and priorities of the art buyer. However, there are several factors that buyers can consider to evaluate the quality of artwork:

Technical skill: The level of technical skill demonstrated in an artwork can be an indicator of quality. This includes factors such as composition, use of color, line quality, and brushwork.

Originality: A truly exceptional artwork will often have a unique and original perspective or approach. Buyers should consider how innovative and distinctive the artwork is compared to other works in its genre or medium.

Emotional impact: Art that elicits an emotional response from the viewer can be considered of high quality. This can include art that is thought-provoking, inspiring, or emotionally stirring.

Artistic intent: Understanding the artist’s intent and the context in which the artwork was created can help buyers appreciate its quality. Consider the artist’s message, their influences, and the historical and cultural context in which the artwork was created.

On the other hand, popularity can be an indicator of an artwork’s value to collectors, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect its quality. Popularity can be influenced by factors such as the artist’s fame, marketing and promotion, and trends in the art market. Buyers should consider whether an artwork’s popularity is based on genuine artistic merit or simply its commercial appeal.

Ultimately, the determination of quality versus popularity is a subjective one and will depend on the individual preferences and priorities of the art buyer. It is important for buyers to take the time to research and consider multiple factors when evaluating an artwork’s value.

Understand the Artwork’s Value

The price of artwork depends on various factors such as the artist’s popularity, the size of the piece, the materials used, and the demand for that particular artist’s work. Investing in art is not cheap, but it can be a rewarding and worthwhile venture if you understand the value of the artwork you’re buying. Emily Jo Gibbs, the renowned textile artist, emphasizes the importance of buying artworks that will last and increase in value over time. Your research into the Quality of the Artwork (above) and Research the Artist and Their Work (below) will help you understand the value of your potential purchase choice.

Tips to Buy Art From Online Galleries

Research the Artist and Their Work

Before purchasing an artwork from an online gallery, it’s crucial to research the artist and their work. Who is the artist? What themes and techniques do they employ? What is their style and what sets them apart from others? Researching an artist not only allows you to better understand their work, but also helps you to appreciate the intricacies of the art.

Researching an artist and their work can provide valuable insights into their creative process, influences, and overall body of work. Here are some steps you can take to research an artist and their work:

Start with the basics: Begin by gathering basic information about the artist, including their name, birthplace, and dates of birth and death (if applicable). Look for biographical information, including educational background, notable exhibitions, awards, and critical reception of their work.

Look at the artwork: Take the time to look at the artist’s work in person if possible. Visit galleries, museums, and exhibitions to see their pieces firsthand. If you can’t see their work in person, look for high-quality images online.

Consider the context: Think about the historical, cultural, and social context in which the artist created their work. Consider the influences that may have shaped their style and approach to art.

Read critical analyses: Look for critical analyses of the artist’s work, including reviews of exhibitions, articles, and books written about their work. Consider how critics and scholars have interpreted their art and what insights they offer into the artist’s intentions and themes.

Check online resources: Use online resources such as artist websites, art databases, and social media to learn more about the artist and their work. Look for interviews, videos, and podcasts that offer insights into their creative process and personal perspective.

Seek out expert opinions: If you’re serious about collecting an artist’s work, consider seeking out the opinions of experts in the field. Art dealers, curators, and other professionals can provide valuable insights into an artist’s career and the value of their work.

By taking the time to research an artist and their work, you can gain a deeper appreciation for their creative process and the themes and ideas that inform their art. This can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to buying or collecting their work.

Trust Your Instincts

Next, it’s important to trust your instincts when purchasing art. Buying art is a personal process, and ultimately, you need to trust your own taste and judgment. As art collector Eli Broad stated, “My advice to anyone in terms of buying contemporary art is to buy what you love – don’t try to be an art collector or an art investor.” It’s your personal taste that will make the artwork you purchase perfect for your home and collection.

Buy Art From Online Art Galleries

The Arts Artists Artwork Online Gallery: That’s Us

Arts Artists Artwork is an online gallery created by artists, for artists, serving as an online marketplace. We are proud to offer a commission rate of only 15% on art sold, allowing more income to go directly to the artists. The majority of other online galleries will take at least double that commission rate.

Our platform attracts artists from continental North America, Europe and Oceania, each with their own profile showcasing their background and their collection of artworks for sale. While we encourage artists to offer free shipping, this may not always be feasible depending on the artist’s location and the shipping destination. In such cases, a flat rate shipping fee is charged to the various shipping zones. Artists also establish their own policies for satisfaction guarantee, returns, and refunds, which can be found on their profile page. Many will offer a 14-day return policy.

Our organization is dedicated to facilitating transactions and providing support to both buyers and artists. We are confident that you will have a positive experience buying from one of our talented artists.

Other Online Art Marketplaces

There are several online art marketplaces that art buyers can use to purchase art. Here are some of the best options:

Artsy: Artsy is one of the largest and most popular online art marketplaces. It features artwork from some of the world’s leading galleries and institutions, as well as emerging artists. Artsy offers a wide range of mediums, from paintings and sculpture to photography and prints.

Saatchi Art: Saatchi Art is a popular online art marketplace that offers a wide range of original artwork from emerging artists. The platform features a large selection of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photography, as well as limited edition prints. Saatchi Art also offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, which allows buyers to return artwork for any reason.

Artspace: Artspace is an online marketplace that features a curated selection of contemporary art from top galleries and museums. The platform offers a wide range of mediums, including paintings, prints, sculptures, and photography. Artspace also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.

Artfinder: Artfinder is an online marketplace that connects buyers with independent artists from around the world. The platform features a wide range of mediums, from paintings and prints to sculpture and ceramics. Artfinder also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.

1stdibs: 1stdibs is an online marketplace that features high-end art and luxury goods. The platform offers a wide selection of fine art, including paintings, sculpture, and photography, as well as furniture, jewelry, and fashion. 1stdibs offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.

UGallery: UGallery is an online art gallery that features original artwork from emerging and established artists. They offer a wide range of styles, from contemporary to traditional.

These are just a few examples of popular online galleries for buying art. Each one offers a unique selection of art and features different artists and styles, so it’s worth exploring each one.

What About Etsy?

Etsy is a popular online marketplace that offers a wide range of handmade and vintage items, including artwork. I was surprised to see it not included in the above list when I asked for the list to be put together and inquired why it wasn’t. Learning more, we find that while there are certainly many talented artists and makers who sell their work on Etsy, there are also some important things to keep in mind when buying artwork from the platform.

First, it’s important to do your research and carefully review the seller’s profile, reviews, and policies. Look for a seller who has a track record of positive reviews and who is transparent about their shipping and return policies.

Second, be aware that not all sellers on Etsy are professional artists or have extensive experience selling artwork. Make sure you carefully review the artwork’s description and images to ensure that it meets your expectations in terms of quality, condition, and authenticity.

Third, keep in mind that some sellers on Etsy may be selling reproductions or prints of original artwork, rather than the original artwork itself. Make sure you read the artwork’s description carefully to understand what you’re buying.

Finally, consider the price of the artwork in relation to its quality and condition. While Etsy can be a great place to find affordable artwork, be wary of sellers who are offering artwork at prices that seem too good to be true.

Overall, buying artwork from Etsy can be a positive experience if you do your research, read the artwork’s description carefully, and purchase from a reputable seller with a track record of positive reviews and good customer service.

Buy Art at Arts Artists Artwork


Purchasing art from an online gallery can be a daunting task, but with a little research, it can also be a rewarding and exciting experience. In summary, when selecting art from an online gallery, look for quality not popularity, understand the artwork’s value, research the artist and their work, seek guidance from art advisors, and trust your instincts. Remember, buying art is a personal adventure, and the artwork you choose should be one that you love and appreciate for years to come.

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