How to Buy Works of Art For the Home
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Art Buying 1011 of 7
A piece of original art can make a room—and it can be surprisingly affordable or very expensive. "Artwork has to be one of the hardest things to price," says Kate Singleton, founder of Arthound. "There's no standard framework for art as there is for a pair of jeans or a bottle of champagne." The artist, gallery, medium, style and rarity of a piece all can impact how much it costs. Here are three expert tips on what to buy, how to set a budget and what determines the price—all broken down so you can effectively buy art for your home.
Do Your Research2 of 7
Go to galleries and exhibits, and ask a lot of questions. People in the art industry are passionate about their work, and you can learn a lot about what goes into a piece. Looking at a lot of art will also help you develop a style and understand what the costs are and why. Visit design and art websites to see what emerging artists are doing and how art is being used in homes.
Price Is Right3 of 7
An artist's career, popularity and scope of work have a big impact on a piece's price. Look at their education, past exhibitions and sales history. Many base their prices on what previous pieces have sold for. Prices are often lower when an artist is fresh out of school," says Rebecca Wilson, director of Saatchi's London gallery. "As an artist sells more works and has more exhibitions, their prices will increase." Where the artwork is sold—directly through the artist, in a small gallery or in a high-end gallery—will also affect the price, as the price from a gallery will include a commission.
Material World4 of 7
The medium plays a big part in pricing. Farkas says paper works tend to be the least expensive, and drawings tend to cost less than paintings. Consider how much time it took to complete, how large the piece is, how much the materials cost and what the demand is for this particular style—all these factors will affect the price. Wilson says photography is usually less expensive as a genre, since photos come in editions and it's rare to purchase a one-of-a-kind work.
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Creative Framing5 of 7
Framing can be the most expensive part of the art-buying process for some. Skip the framer and try hanging it as-is instead. "We encourage our artists to always finish the edge of their pieces so the work can be hung unframed," says Farkas. "I've been hanging art unframed in my house for years and have seen a great trend towards this in decorating."
Pay Plan6 of 7
Visit local galleries, art fairs, student shows and online galleries to see what different types of art cost on average. Once you set your budget, you can decide how much artwork you want to buy: one big piece or several smaller pieces? What can you afford in the medium you want? If you've found "the one" and it's beyond your set budget, talk to a gallery staffer to see what custom payment plans are available. "Depending on the price of the piece and the client's budget, we're happy to work out a custom payment plan," says Farkas.
For the Love7 of 7
All three experts agree that first-time art buyers should avoid purchasing solely for investment reasons. While something you purchase from an emerging artist may increase in value, there are no guarantees. "It's a mistake to buy art as a financial investment," says Singleton. Ultimately, buy what you love. If you feel strongly about a piece of art or it really speaks to you, buy it, regardless of trends or any potential future value.