Thoughts and ideas from Matt Kaplinsky
A step-by-step guide to buying your first big piece of art
August 7, 2019 at 12:00 AM
by Matt Kaplinsky

5 Points to Consider Before Buying Your First Big Piece of Art

Just as art is subjective, a person’s reason for wanting to buy a work of art may spring from a unique connection or source. It can be something as simple as liking an artwork enough to want to purchase it. It may also be because the art piece will complement the theme of the prospective buyer’s home décor. Or perhaps the artwork will serve as a start or supplement to an existing collection.

Whatever the case may be, if you think you are ready to buy your first big piece of art, there are a few things you need to know.

1. Ascertain what type of art moves you

Are you into painting, sculpture, photography?

Perhaps the medium does not matter as much as the overall visual impact of an artwork. The best way to refine your taste for art is by frequenting art galleries, exhibits, and museums, and by browsing through the art section of your local library. Get to know dealers, art enthusiasts, and artists, too.

A vast amount of information is available to immerse you in the art scene. In fact, everything is so much easier now with the internet – you can visit various art gallery and artists’ websites effortlessly. This way, you can learn more about the different styles, mediums, and periods or movements, and get some valuable pricing information along the way.

2. Make an effort to see the real thing, in person

If you have a specific work in mind, such as a still life painting which caught your eye in an art feature, make arrangements to see it in person – whether it’s in a gallery or exhibit somewhere. You may find (as is usually the case) the actual piece looks a bit different than the way it does on your computer screen.

Make time to research the artist as well. What does the art world say about his or her work? Has he or she been featured in any art festivals? Is the artist lesser-known but promising?

3. Come up with a budget and prepare for additional costs

What may be termed a ‘big piece of art’ rarely has to do with the actual size of the artwork. In general terms, it usually implies the price of the item as dictated by the art market.

For some, an artwork priced above US $10,000 may be considered a major purchase. However, avid art collectors who buy for investment purposes make purchases reaching well into six figures or more.

On top of the actual price of the artwork, you also need to factor in extra expenses such as framing, shipping, and insurance. If you buy through an auction, you will need to consider the buyer’s premium.

4. Make room for the art you are buying

You need to make sure there’s space for your art acquisition. You also need to factor in the lighting and possible ventilation and temperature requirements to help preserve the work of art for posterity.

If there are specific care instructions you should know, be sure to ask the artist, gallery owner, or agent right away.

5. Keep all documentation safe

While you may have no plan of reselling the art piece, you never really know when documentation regarding its origin and ownership as well as any receipts may come in handy. So make sure you carefully keep the paperwork filed away under lock and key.

Ready to buy your first big piece of art? Hopefully, the above tips will prove helpful in your decision-making.

However, if you need professional advice about your planned purchase, don’t hesitate to contact Matt Kaplinsky.