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How to Buy Art Online: A Handy Guide to Buying Original Art Online

ByNathalie Soo
How to Buy Art Online: A Handy Guide to Buying Original Art Online

Jay Yao, Wood | 木 | # 001 // Available on The Artling

The growth of digital channels and the rapid rise of e-commerce platforms over the last decade have caused consumer behaviors to change dramatically, with many making a majority of their purchases online. This transition has been especially apparent in the art world, where many art collectors, primarily millennials and new art collectors, have made the switch to buying art online. This has largely been a result of art businesses shifting to the online landscape, with various sites enabling customers to browse various quality artworks from around the world in one place, right from the comfort of their own home.

Purchasing paintings, sculptures, and photography online can be a seamless and rewarding process, but it is important to identify the factors one must consider to ensure that it is a positive experience – such as confirming the legitimacy of the website or platform, the authenticity of the work, and much more. This extensive guide aims to provide you with the necessary tips for buying art online.

Have you come across a piece of art online, want to purchase it, but don’t know how or where to begin? This starter manual will showcase all the steps you should be taking when making those online art purchases and help you learn how to navigate the online art space. Keep reading on to learn more!

Rinaldi Syam, Interwoven Oject // Available on The Artling

Why Buy Art Online?

Simply put, being able to purchase a beautiful work of art online changes the entire experience of buying art. Like never before, people are able to easily engage with art with great ease and accessibility. The trend to peruse and buy art online has only continued to rise over the years. Galleries now actively use online platforms to sell works of art, and major auction houses carry out online auctions weekly.

Although there have been many sceptics of buying art online in the past, the rise in popularity of online art platforms, has made the process of collecting art far less painstaking. Individuals have noted increased pricing transparency, variety, and efficiency as major pros of purchasing art online. In addition to this, many have expressed how the ability to purchase works through these digital spheres have encouraged them to buy works by artists outside their country or region.

The Artling’s platform, for example, focuses on highlighting the best of contemporary art and design from emerging and established studios and galleries from around the world. The website allows individuals to purchase art securely and with confidence by representing over 2,500 artists and 250 reputable galleries. 

Manuel Izquierdo, Interactive Mobile 0172 Position A // Available on The Artling 

Tips for Buying Art Online

When buying art online, it is absolutely vital to start searching on a trusted and reliable platform selling legitimate works of art by recognized artists. The last thing you want is to be scammed or be stuck with a work of art that you can’t return – if you do happen to change your mind. Here are some essential tips to consider before you make that decisive online purchase!

Serge Horta, Sheer Urbanism VIII // Available on The Artling

1 | Do Your Research

It is important that you first look into the reliability of the online seller or dealer that serves as the intermediary between the artist, gallery, and the client. You want to be absolutely certain that you are shopping on a genuine site. Look for positive customer reviews and testimonials of that company, and ensure that the website is a legitimate and verified source before purchasing works.

Other than that, make sure you do your homework and research as much as you can about the work. With the internet, you can access a great amount of information and find answers at your fingertips. If you cannot determine whether the answers are reliable, you can always ask the experts! You can approach galleries and send them your questions - they are not as intimidating as you think!

Or you can simply send your questions to us. Here at The Artling, we research all of the galleries and artists featured on the site. Our specially curated online collection of contemporary art features some of the top galleries and artists around the world.

On each artist profile, you will find biographical information, such as when and where the artist was born, where he or she is based, and their achievements. On the profile, you can also view the artist's works of art which are listed on The Artling for sale.

Restu Taufik Akbar, (IN)VISIBLE SCAPE - 'Physicality Domine' // Available on The Artling

2 | Authenticity & Credibility

Every reliable online art platform should sell works that come with a Certificate of Authenticity. A certificate of authenticity can in many cases be just as important as the artwork itself. This is a document that should accompany every work of art, whether or not it sells. It determines the artwork artist, date of creation, and provenance. It is like a stamp of approval that verifies and proves that the work was indeed created by the artist. This certificate can also come in handy if you plan on reselling the piece in the future.

3 | Security

Like purchasing items from other websites, you want to be certain that the method of payment is secure. Credit or debit card payments tend to be the safest, with alternative forms of payment such as PayPal another trusted form.

At The Artling, we ensure that all credit card transactions are processed through Stripe’s secure SSL technology, which keeps your credit card details safe. We also accept bank transfers – and these are protected by the banks themselves.

zhc, A Rituals // Available on The Artling

4 | Shipping & Insurance

When you buy a work of art you love, you would want it to be handled and shipped by professionals. Ideally, when you buy art online, you should pay attention to which professional art handler will be used, as well as the art insurance that comes with it. For large-scale works, it is better to confirm what the arrangement will be and whether custom-made special crates are needed to handle the works during art transport. Additionally, you would ideally want to be provided with a tracking number so that you can follow the progress of your artwork until it reaches its destination.

Shipping fees vary according to your shipping country, as well as the size of the work. Works that are more expensive generally have higher insurance fees. You need to be aware of such costs in order to ensure that your beloved purchase arrives in optimal condition.

5 | Returns Policy

Find out if the work of art you're purchasing has a returns policy. The vendor or seller should have a clear and set period where the item can be returned by the buyer should they not want the artwork anymore. 

Akinori Tanaka, Autumn Herb Salad // Available on The Artling

How to Select Artworks Online?

First and foremost, you want to define your intent before beginning your search. You should be clear as to what is driving your purchase. Focus on the themes that you like and what you are drawn to! If your intent is to purchase a work with a set budget, size, or style, make sure to pay close attention to those central elements when you are browsing through works.

When you browse art on The Artling, you can apply filters according to your preference. If you have a budget, you can select your price range. Looking for works of art from a specific region and of a certain medium? There are filters for that. You can even select the color, size, and orientation to match your requirements.

We also have a Favorites feature for each product, if you'd like to revisit the masterpiece later!

Neil Burnell, ABYSS // Available on The Artling 

Understanding Your Space

When searching for the perfect piece to collect online, think about where you plan on hanging or placing the work and what kind of area you want to situate the piece. One of the biggest challenges collectors have is being able to completely visualise a work in a given space. So, remember to look at dimensions and the size of the work to gauge whether it will be able to fit into your space. Also pay close attention to the aesthetic components such as the colors, textures of the work, and how they will complement the room as well as your other furnishings. These are all important to consider when in search for a work of art.

There is nothing worse than buying a work of art and then finding out it is far too small once it arrives. How do I tell how it looks on a wall? you may ask. The Artling offers a "View in Room" feature which allows you to preview the size of the work in relation to the average spectator, as well as an Augmented Reality (AR) feature on our iOS App. What's more, you can zoom in and see the details of the work of art.

Hiroyuki Nishimura, Mr. Towar Hiroyuki Nishimura

Research the Artist

Ensure that you carry out as much research about the artist to understand his or her artistic journey. This is especially important when buying artwork online, as you do not have the opportunity to meet the artist face-to-face.

You want to read the description of the artwork to better comprehend what the artist was inspired by, to learn more about the artist’s motivations and background. This research will allow you to find out whether the artist was self-trained or went to an art school, and discover if he or she has won any awards and is recognised on a regional or global level.

Look for High Resolution Images

When buying a work online, you don’t have the liberty to have the physical work in front of you for you to examine. This means that the customer relies largely on the images provided on the website.

If you are interested in a work, try to find the highest quality and resolution of images so you can further inspect the artwork. However, if these are not posted in the listing, you should contact the seller or gallery so that they can assist you with more images. Such photographs can help you understand the different material qualities of the work, and to gauge the condition of the piece.

Pedro Gramaxo, Landscape 2 // Available on The Artling 

Read Item Descriptions

Item descriptions are incredibly vital because they give you information about the artwork’s size, condition, and material. Reading the description of the item also gives you details about the specific components of the work, or if it is an edition, a reproduction, or original. These are all important factors to think about, as this can dramatically influence the price as well as value of the work.

Wang Xiaoluo, Donut // Available on The Artling

Ask Questions!

If there is any missing information or further queries you may have about a work, e.g. that you need better quality images, or specific specifications of a sculpture, all good and trusted platforms should have a customer care team to take care of your questions or concerns. They can also give you advice should you be unsure about an artwork.

The Artling prides itself on helping art lovers and collectors source art easily from reputable artists and galleries. You can even send us a message or use our live chat feature to chat with one of our Online Art Consultants if you have any queries. This gives you the opportunity to ask more specific questions about pricing, shipping, the artist, and much more.

Ruan Hoffman, UNTITLED 9 // Available on The Artling 

It is getting increasingly popular to buy art online these days, especially with the significant development of online art platforms. Many collectors will tell you that art collecting is like love at first sight. When you see something that resonates with you, you feel that tingling feeling—the urge to get to know more about the artist—and eventually to own the artwork. Buying art online is a convenient way to browse an array of artworks from all over the world.

Think about how much time you spend every day browsing the Internet. It is incredibly satisfying to scroll through social media, such as Instagram, to appreciate works of art, especially when you can access websites with your smartphone anytime, anywhere. As the art world goes digital, art becomes demystified and more accessible. This is why buying art online has become incredibly alluring!

We hope that this guide has carefully outlined all the fundamental and critical elements that you need to consider when purchasing works of art online and better equipped you with all the knowledge you need to start collecting with confidence! 

Now that you have read the tips, you know that buying art online is not that difficult after all. What are you waiting for? It's time to consider starting your own collection.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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