Buying art from a gallery: Brick and mortar, auction or online

You would like to make a change by adding accents to the beauty of your home without the expense or interruption of remodeling. What better way to do this than to add a decoratively framed painting or a high-quality print, or perhaps add a beautiful silver or bronze sculpture by a famous artist to enhance the decor of any room in your home. An unusual or unique work of art would certainly capture the attention of anyone who enters that room. Now the question is where to find the ideal unique artwork that will blend perfectly with your tastes and your home décor at the most reasonable price.

Whether you’re looking for a perfect original painting, a high quality lithograph, a giclée or heliogravure print, a bronze sculpture or any other work of art, you must now decide where you can get the best value for your money. Should you visit an art gallery, attend an auction or search the Internet? There are advantages and disadvantages to each option, so let’s take a look at some of those differences.

If you live near one or more art galleries or if there is an auction being held nearby, you may like to stroll around and look at your selections. The great advantage here is having the ability to examine the artwork in person. However, many people do not live in an area where art galleries or auction houses are plentiful, so they may be limited in their opportunity to find a work of art that is more attractive and adds an appropriate accent to their home or office décor. An online search does not give you the chance to see the artwork firsthand, but you would certainly have a much larger selection of fine arts, including unusual and unique rare paintings, high quality engravings and sculptures by famous artists that you might not find when limited to limited offers found in a brick and mortar gallery or at an auction event.

A greater selection to choose from gives you the opportunity to find what really appeals to you.

You can overcome the disadvantage of the inability to examine the artwork first hand by making an online purchase, ensuring that the return policy is favorable in the event that you are disappointed with the artwork once it arrives at your home. When shopping at a brick and mortar art gallery, the return policy must be carefully determined, as most do not allow returns unless the artwork has been damaged during shipment. Purchases made at an auction (online or in person) never allow returns. All sales are final.

Therefore, when shopping at a brick and mortar art gallery or auction, you must be sure you will love that beautiful painting, print or sculpture in your home or office. If not, you will suffer much from the buyer’s remorse and will be burdened with the burden of having paid for something with which you are unhappy or do not compliment the decor of your home once you have it. Although many online art galleries also state that sales are final, not all are. It’s just a matter of doing the homework to find one that has a liberal return policy.

Buying in a brick and mortar store means higher costs for the buyer. There are overhead costs, such as rent, heating costs, and much more. These costs are obviously part of doing business for these galleries, but naturally it is the buyer who must cover those costs that are included in the price of the artwork for the company to survive. The more unusual, unique or rare a painting, engraving or sculpture, the higher the price. Buying at an art auction also has its costs built in, but that additional cost is made clear to the art collector or buyer. An auction company will include a buyer’s premium of between 10% and 20% that is automatically added to the price of their art purchase. This buyer’s premium will be imposed by some online sites as well, so it is very important that you read the fine print or ask the right questions before making any art purchase.

Another expense to consider are shipping and handling costs. If you are buying at a gallery or auction you attend, you can certainly take your art purchase with you, if possible. If not, there will certainly be a shipping charge, including insurance costs for you, the buyer. If you buy online, you may or may not be able to avoid shipping costs, although it is possible to find a rare art gallery online that will offer free shipping and handling.

Finally, the buyer will have to pay sales tax on the purchase whenever he selects that beautiful unique painting, high quality print or sculpture in silver or bronze from a gallery of bricks and mortar or an auction house. Since fine arts are rarely insignificant in cost, sales tax can take a big chunk out of your budget. The only way to avoid this cost is to buy the artwork from a dealer who does not have a gallery or who does not conduct an auction in your state. If you buy your artwork at an online gallery, you can usually avoid the sales tax that can be a substantial savings.
By reviewing the three options, you can certainly see that, even if you can see the artwork first hand in a brick and mortar art gallery or at a live auction, the final purchase price will cost you more for your final selection of artwork.

Your artwork will carry one or more of the following additions: overhead, buyer premiums, shipping and sales tax. It is also likely that you will be subject to a no-return final sales policy. On the other hand, when shopping at some online galleries, your costs may not include these additional charges.

Your money will go directly toward that unique work of art that you love and that appeals to your taste in decorating your home. This will not only make the unusual or rare works of art you chose for your fine arts collection more affordable, but will also allow you the possibility of stretching your budget to buy a work of art by a famous artist that you could not have afforded if you had bought it elsewhere. Shipping may or may not be free, but a search for the right online art gallery will also benefit you. Also never underestimate good customer service.

Author: John Wright