Whether you’re an avid art fan that wants to start their own home art gallery or you just want a piece or two to display in your living room, buying fine art is a surefire way to step up your home decorating game. With the works of well-known artists in your living room, you’ll have something to show off to your friends and enjoy from your own couch.
If you’re new to the world of fine art or this is your first time buying a piece, it’s normal to have some questions and be uncertain. Everyone needs to start somewhere, so don’t feel too intimidated by the world of experienced fine art buyers. With a bit of experience and time, you’ll be just as at ease when you go to buy your next piece of fine art.
That being said, there are a few tips to help you navigate the world oFine Art Gallery in Delray Beach FLf fine art. If this is your first time buying or you’re curious as to how you can improve your buying tactics, here are a few tips for buying fine art of any kind from an art gallery.
#1. Explore and Research Beforehand
Doing a bit of research before you go into a gallery or a fine art auction can help you know what you’re looking for. If you know what artists you like and what type of artwork you’re looking for, you won’t feel as pressured to buy a piece just because others around you are recommending the artist.
If you’re going to an art auction and you know what artists will be on display, do some research on each artist. This can help you feel like you know the artist better and relate to their work. It can also help you steer away from artists that you don’t like and can give you a bit of history about their work.
#2. Make Sure It’s an Original Piece
This is where many first-time buyers get fooled or feel wary. If you don’t know what to look for, you can’t be sure you’re getting an original piece. With many recent art scandals, you may not feel like you can even trust the seller. This means you’ll have to learn how to recognize the signs of an original art piece and to do so, here’s what you need to keep an eye out for:
Hand Signed and Numbered
All original pieces will be hand signed and have a unique number for limited edition pieces. Some artists such as Warhol, though, produce art differently which can make it a little more difficult to identify an original piece. In this case, you may want to speak with a professional that can help guide you and ensure the piece is original.
How Can I Tell if a Signature is Real?
When you check the certificate of authenticity (more information on this below), you should be able to find the artist’s date of birth and, if applicable, death date. If the dates are excluded, then this may be a sign that the signature is forged and the artwork is a fake.
If you’re buying from a major artist, you can often find catalogs to look through that you can compare the signature with. Some catalogues raisonnés include this information, but you can also use online search engines such as Signet Art to search for and compare the signatures of many artists.
Included in a Catalogue Raisonné
This is your go-to handbook for determining if a piece is an original or not. Looking for your piece in the International Foundation of Art Research’s catalogue raisonné will tell you just about everything about a certain piece. Many catalogues raisonnés include information regarding the manufacturing technique, image and printed size, and the edition size.
Catalogues raisonnés are very thoroughly checked and annotated. They essentially have the final say as to whether a piece is an original work or not so if you’re ever wary about what a seller tells you, you can always check to see if the piece you’re being sold is included in one. If it isn’t, then the odds are high that the artwork is a fraud.
Certificate of Authenticity
Your piece of art should come with an official certificate of authenticity (COA), though there isn’t only one issuing company. Depending on who issues the COA, it may be regarded as more or less official. Since anyone can create a COA, here are a few things to look for in order to verify a COA.
#3. Expect High Prices
There’s a reason fine art is considered something only the wealthy do. It’s going to cost several thousand dollars. At the last live auction at Christie’s, the cheapest piece sold went for over $27,000 and the most expensive piece (an Andy Warhol original) sold for over $195 million. With prices like these, don’t expect to buy an original piece for $500.
Depending on the artist you want to buy from, prices may be lower or higher. Unknown or amateur artists may sell their works for only a few thousands dollars, but works by any well-known artist like Picasso, Warhol, or Chagall will be much, much more.
When buying fine art, expect high prices, but don’t buy a piece you can’t afford. It’s important to stay within your budget or wait until you can afford a more expensive piece.
#4. Expect Slight Variations
Sometimes you may see a piece online and when you see it in person, it looks different. As most fine art pieces are handmade, this is to be expected and does not always mean the work is a forgery. If you’re buying a piece that is several decades old and has been passed around between many different collectors, then it’s normal for the colors to have faded or changed slightly over time.
While a piece shouldn’t be damaged, it is normal to have a few variations in what you saw online and what you receive in person.
#5. Don’t Feel Rushed
For beginners, it’s best to avoid live auctions or other scenarios when you may feel rushed or pressured to buy something in the moment. Buying fine art should be a pleasant experience and if you feel like you need to make a choice right then and there, it can add a lot of unnecessary stress to the process.
When you first step into the world of fine art buying, there will be a lot of things to think about and a lot of unknowns, so take your time and make your purchase only when you feel ready. In the end, you’ll leave with a piece you know you’ll enjoy and a much better overall experience.