'To buy or not to buy art online' that is the question..

Gallerease Magazine, Writer Gallerease
Gallerease Magazine
26 Articles11 Kuratiertes Kunstwerke

Is it, or is it not wise to buy art online? What do you have to take into account, which art platforms exist and how do they work? In this article we give some tips to make buying art online easier and to prevent you from making rookie mistakes. 


Buying art online via art platforms 


First of all, it is a great advantage to be able to view and compare art from the comfort of your lounge chair at home in a clear and anonymous way. With a few simple search terms such as artist's name, style, period, material or size you will be easily guided to your favourite work of art. A physical gallery is often a bit intimidating for many people and only has a limited selection of works that might interest you. An online art platform offers the works of several renowned galleries and art dealers. The advantage of an online art platform is also that the art is often curated and that you get the guarantee that the work of art is real and of good quality.


Type of online art platforms


Some of these well-known art platforms are Artsy, Saatchi Art, 1stDibs and Gallerease. Often you can use these art platforms to easily request additional information about the artwork and in some cases there is still room to negotiate about the price. The big disadvantage is that you have not seen the work in real life beforehand. Some providers do offer the option of returning the work. But an online art platform can also be a nice way to orientate yourself in advance.  


A typical online art platform where you can by curated art from many artdealers

A typical online art platform where you can by curated art from many artdealers


Which art to buy online


Especially with 'unique works' such as paintings and sculptures in a limited edition it is important to see the works in real life. In this way you can see what the quality, colours and texture/relief looks like from nearby. This is often difficult to see from a photo or video. Exceptions are when you buy the art online from an artist whom you already know well or when it concerns one-dimensional prints from a limited edition, such as lithographs or photography.  


Buying art at online auctions 


Another way to buy art online is through (online) auctions. This is generally a more risky way to buy art because the auction often does not guarantee its authenticity and quality, as a gallery or art dealer often does. But participating in an online auction does give you the chance, if you are lucky, to buy an original work of art for a relatively low price. A tip for beginners would be not to start with a very high price in your first bidding.


A typical viewingday at an local auctionhouse

A typical viewingday at an local auctionhouse


There are several national and international auctions that sell art. For many 'local auctions houses' there is the possibility to view the art in real life during special 'viewing days' before the actual auction starts. By making an appointment in advance you can come by to see the art up from nearby. A tip, if you are really interested in a piece contact one of the staff members and if you have any questions donnot hesitate to pick up the object and look at the back or bottom of it, often the real secrets hide there. A number of well-known local art auctions in the Netherlands who have viewing days are De Zwaan auction building in Amsterdam, Van Spengen in Hilversum or Vendue Rotterdam or Venduehuis in The Hague, definitely worth a visit. But of course there is also always an online catalogue. 


An example of an exclusive, international auction by Sotheby's

An example of an exclusive, international auction by Sotheby's


Buying art via international online auctions 


There are also a number of international online auction platforms, which make it possible to bid for a work of art 'worldwide'. The most well known and exclusive international auctionhouses are of course Sotheby's and Christies. But a more 'low entry' online auction to start with is Catawiki. And also have a look at the online auctions named Invaluable and Barneby's. Often these auctions have their own app and you need to register in advance and provide your paymentdetails before you can make a bid. You can often set a maximum amount in advance for these kind of auctions, the so-called 'absentee bid' and you of course also attend the online life auction. Keep in mind that for the most international online auctions the organizing auction will charge you an extra amount of about 25% above the winning auction bid. And if you have won the auction it often does not include shipping costs, insurance costs and import taxes. So this can easily add up hundreds of extra euro's if you have to ship artworks from for example America to Europe. 

If you are interested to buy curated fine art for a fixed amount, online from renowned artdealers, please have look at Gallerease, Europe's finest curated art at your finger tips!