7th February 2020

The art of buying

The art of buying

The days of walking into a gallery to peruse and buy fine art or spending time at the auction house are not over but a growing trend for ‘sight unseen’ buying means traditional auction houses and galleries are having to rethink their sales strategies. Large auction houses like Christie's and Sotheby’s now focus heavily on online auctions.

Many new buyers, in their 20s, and those who may have been intimidated by walking into an art sale are now increasingly browsing and buying online. The Hiscox Art Report 2019* states that the online art market grew to $4.64 billion in 2018.

So buying online from the comfort of your home has never been easier; you can even attend a live auction and be part of the fast paced action.

Whether the artwork you choose to buy is a painting, sculpture, poster or a photographic print, the key is to choose something you love and buy it with confidence. Here are seven things to consider before making your purchase:

  1. If you like a particular style, it is better to buy the best example you can even if it’s from an up and coming artist, rather than settle on second rate from someone well known.
  2. Following artists and galleries on Instagram and other social media networks is a good way of keeping up with current trends.
  3. Do your research on online galleries, read the reviews, look at their credentials, reputation and where they are based. Talk to them about how your piece will be packed, shipped and the cost. A good quality online art trader will be transparent about their prices.
  4. If you are concerned about fakes and forgeries use large auction houses, their reputation was built long before online sales and they will have stringent controls in place to minimise any risk.
  5. Find background information about the art and artist, look for digital condition reports, details of any previous sales.
  6. Before committing, visualise the piece of art in your home, does it need a large white space, could it be grouped with other similar pieces. (but please avoid hanging art over fireplaces or in direct sunshine)
  7. Take care with the framing; the focus should be on the artwork. A mount or frame should be kept simple. Consider using an art framer and if the piece is very valuable or large and heavy then use the services of a professional art hanger.  One of the most common claims we see if damaged artwork where it has fallen from its fixings.

As soon as you buy a new piece of art it is important to let your insurance broker know so that cover can be added. You may also need to insure the item whilst it’s in transit to your home.  At Aston Lark we have access to good quality high value home policies that automatically provide all risks insurance protection from the minute you click ‘buy’.

To speak to us about how best to insure your art, call 020 8712 8076 or email [email protected].


* https://www.hiscox.co.uk/sites/uk/files/documents/2019-04/hiscox-online-art-trade-report--2019.pdf