... Collectors  •  Advice for...

Five Tips for Staying Safe when Buying Art Online

Online shopping shouldn’t just be limited to clothes, books and groceries. And it isn’t! Buying art online has become one of the most accessible and widespread ways to acquire artworks. The benefits of buying art online are countless. It gives you access to a wide range of artworks, whilst providing you with detailed information about the art pieces, and a greater control over shipping dates. It is also affordable, convenient and time-saving. Are you keen to jump on the bandwagon? Before making the leap, follow these five easy tips which will help you make the most informed decision.

1: Take some extra precautions

The internet is a wonderful tool but must be used responsibly, especially when it comes to making online payments. Do your research about the gallery/marketplace and make sure you are buying from a reputable, trustworthy source. Read up on customer reviews and feedback. Ask your entourage if they have heard of the seller, or have any general suggestions to make in regards to the process of buying art online. Inform yourself on the founders of the gallery, their background, career in the art world, and anything else that could give credibility to their business. 

The gallery’s website should have a section dedicated to the accepted methods of payment and their refund policy. The transparency is reassuring to clients about any risks of fraud or misrepresentation. Take your time and don’t rush into things. The more information you gather, the more secure your online art buying experience will be. 

2: Refine your search criteria

Someone browsing for art online
Połączenie 3 (2011), Aga Migdalek

Next, it’s a good idea to reflect on why you are buying art in the first place. Is it to redecorate your home? It could also be because you feel ready to start an art collection. Some people acquire art for art’s sake. Whatever your intentions are, they should be clear from the start. The more clearly your needs are defined, the easier it is to identify the right artworks that best suit you. Having done that, you will hopefully have a clearer idea of the type of artwork you’re looking to buy (techniques, size, style, artist and subject-matter), with a set budget in mind. All of these questions will impact your future decision making.

3: Get to know the artist

It is recommended to research the artist and the artwork you’re interested in. A reputable online gallery should have plenty of information regarding each artist, including past shows, a link to their website and a short bio, for prospective buyers to form a connection with the artist, whom they feel that they can trust. Doing this background research will not only help you determine the artist’s legitimacy and credibility in the art world, but will also give you a better grasp of the artist’s universe and visual language, while sharpening your eye in order to let you perceive all the subtleties of the artwork and its deeper meaning to you. An artist will have most probably worked with different techniques, styles and art forms. Navigating through the different options available to you can be truly inspiring whilst allowing you to step out of your comfort zone. 

4: Check the authenticity of the artwork

When it comes to buying art online, it can feel difficult to check the value and authenticity of the artwork you’re interested in buying. There are still certain things that you can do. Check whether or not the artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed by the artist. This legal document provides clients with key information about the artist. 

Look for high-quality, detailed pictures of the artwork on the gallery’s website and don’t hesitate to ask for some more. The gallery should have Art Advisors available to answer any questions clients might have related to artworks (dimensions, medium, framed or not, condition and story behind the artwork).

5: Shipping and delivery

You should check whether or not the gallery works with professional shipping companies. This is crucial for making sure the artworks are shipped and handled correctly, and will arrive in the best condition as possible to your home. Read the gallery’s return policy, and any information they might have on insurance and delivery times.

Trust your instincts

When buying art online, remember to trust yourself. If you ever have any doubts related to an artwork, or if something seems too good to be true, take a step back and consider whether you’re making the right decision. Always check the reputation of the gallery and read customer reviews. Visit the gallery’s website and make note of any information regarding payment, authenticity and shipping. Read up on the artist and make sure that they have credibility in the art world. Look for high-resolution images of the artwork. Always put safety first so you can start collecting in the best way possible, and benefit from the array of advantages linked to buying art online.