Handy Tips for the First Time Buyer of Art

All of us love to have art in our homes. It immediately changes the whole appearance of the room, and gives it personality and character. Despite our best intentions, art is not easy to incorporate into our homes. It is not in any way easier to purchase art either, when we are confounded by the mind-boggling variety in style, color, size and type.

All forms of art are lovely, provided the art you have in your home is something that you understand, appreciate and love. Also, it should be something that adds to your interior décor and increases, enhances and complements its beauty.

Art can be bought to fit into a room or you can decorate a room to support and supplement the art you plan to place in it.

You should first zero in on the type of art that you would love to have, and for this you need to have a good understanding of the different art forms out there. There are drawings, prints, paintings, sculpture, installations, photography, mixed media and crafts, to name a few, for you to choose from.

Paintings are obviously on top of the list of art you would like to have in your home. So let’s explore the amazing world of paintings, and art in general, through the eyes of a first time buyer.

Get Familiar with the Oldest Art Form of Paintings

Paintings are loved and appreciated for the unique charm and grace they exude. There are different types and styles of paintings, and each of them has its own special characteristics.

Technically, a painting is a two-dimensional form of art that consists of expressing an idea, thought or feeling using pigments on a surface. A painting can also capture a live scene of action or scenery, recount an incident or occurrence, or have subjects pose for the painter.

In olden times, stone was used as surface to paint on. Paintings have been discovered in South France that date back by about 40,000-10,000 years, right to the Paleolithic Age. Canvas, cloth, wood and paper are other surfaces on which you can have your painting.

Based on the kind of pigments used, there are different types of paintings including the more well-known watercolors, oil, acrylic, pastel and spray paintings.

You will get a better idea if you make visits to nearby art galleries and studios. You will get to see the various styles and will also be able to identify the type you really enjoy.

Also there are several reputed online galleries who offer works of various artists, and sell beautiful pieces in all styles and medium. So do browse online to find the perfect art you are looking for. There are also chat services available with all quality online sellers that will dispel your doubts and answer your queries.

How Do You Make up Your Mind about the Painting You Want to Splurge On?

‘Sofa art’ refers to choosing or buying art to suit the beautiful sofa in the room. Obviously it is not very hard to guess what the homeowner loves the most, his prized sofa or the yet-to-be bought art.

Old school art professors and interior designing colleges taught that art should be bought as a standalone piece, something that is not influenced or defined by the Oriental rug on the floor, the color of the walls, or the sofa.

You should buy a painting because it speaks to you. Each painter sends out a message through his art work which he yearns to be recognized and appreciated by the one who possesses it. So if you absolutely love the vibe that the painting or the art piece exudes, go for it.

And, if ‘sofa art’ is your thing, definitely go that way because you do not want to end up all unhappy and hot under the collar if the painting does not match your sofa. Be true to your tastes and you will find the perfect buy.

First Time Buyer, Art Is Not an Investment!

You may have heard stories of paintings fetching buyers millions of dollars in the secondary market, and probably want to buy a painting that may prove to be blockbuster investment a few years down the line. But the truth is that many paintings do not reach the secondary market ever.

First time buyers should absolutely avoid purchasing paintings or any other forms of art for investment purposes. If it is for investment the whole buying process needs to work at a totally different level. You need to bring in experts, professional advisers, seasoned art collectors, art appraisers and other knowledgeable minds into the buying process, because you need to stay safe from being ripped off and making a dumb buy.

Also the rarefied world of art market functions discreetly and away from the public eye. Secondary markets are not easy to gauge and auctions are another ball game altogether. Unless you are extremely knowledgeable about investing in art, do not consider your buy as a form of investment.

So buy art only for your enjoyment and happiness, and leave out anticipated monetary gains out of the picture, literally.

What Determines the Cost of a Painting?

The pedigree of the artist has a huge say on the price of his artwork. If he is a seasoned professional with a number of exhibitions under his belt and very good sales history, his paintings will be expensive. An upcoming or an emerging artist yet to have sell-out exhibitions will be primarily looking to notch up his sales. He may even quote a lower price hoping to get a buyer. In a few rare cases, such artists do go on to become famous and sought after resulting in a dramatic increase in the price of his creations.

Style and originality also affect the cost of paintings. Expressionism, Impressionism, Cubism and Abstract are some of the various styles of paintings and depending upon the popularity of the period, prices will vary. This is particularly true in the case of expressionist works.

Original artwork is always expensive. It is one of a kind created by the artist. Once he sells it, it no longer belongs to him. So he will definitely quote a premium price for it.

A limited edition print is one of a limited number of prints of the original painting, where each is numbered and signed. An open-edition print is one of any number of prints. Limited edition prints are more expensive than open-edition prints.


Do not dwell too much on your art buying process. Visit local studios, galleries, art fairs, online stores and student shows. This will train and equip your eye, and help you develop your taste and style, so that when you finally do set you eye on ‘the one’, you will recognize it!