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15 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing Art

  1. Where is the artist from?

The above question will help you learn more about the artist’s background. Art from certain regions are “trendy” and may have higher or lower resale value. You can talk to an art advisor to learn more about region-based art sale trends.

  1. Where, when, and with whom did the artist study with?

This question gives you a reasonable idea of who the artist is and their investment into their career.

  1. How long has the artist pursued this field professionally?

The answer will help you understand if art is a passing phase for the prospective artist or whether the artist will create an identifiable canon. Ideally, you want to purchase from an artist who a unique style that would be imitated by others.

  1. Where can I see the artist’s previous work?

If the gallery lists the artist’s client base, you will have a sense of clients who buy the art, such as famous collectors, corporate, or public buyers.

  1. Could you tell me more about this specific work?

The above question is a general open-ended question to learn more about the artist. It can be substituted with another or could be strung with a series of other open-ended questions. It allows you to have a sense of the artist’s ideas and conceptions of the world. There is nothing more beautiful than knowing the inspiration behind the work that you buy.

  1. What’s next for the artist?

You should find out how to follow the artist’s career. The purchasing of even a single artwork is a long-term investment in the artist’s career. The artist should rise in prominence within the art world because that would be the most significant indicator of your acquisition’s future resale value.

  1. Did the artist exhibit artwork anywhere prominent?
  2. Did the artist receive any popular awards?
  3. Do you have a price list available?

The above question will allow you to know the comparative prices surrounding the artist’s work. A good rule of thumb is to aim to negotiate for an at-most 10-percent discount. At a gallery, the discount will most likely hurt the artist rather than the gallery owner. So intend to buy at the price point that would help the artist and the future resale value of the artwork.

The more sale records that you can find, the more accurately you can assess a fair current value. There should be a minimum of five to determine the price range accurately.

However, you should also be aware of where the majority of prices fall. If you’re thinking about paying $10,000, but find that most sale prices of record are under $2,000, be careful. The art may be overpriced, and the seller should reasonably be able to justify the new price point.

The price list will also allow you to see how many artworks remain unsold. If the majority of the artist’s work is unsold, it may not measure to be a worthy financial investment.

  1. Can you buy prints?

Although prints have little to no resale value, it can be used to understand if the artist has mass-market appeal.

  1. Does the artist have auction records?
  2. Can I pay in installments?
  3. Are there any additional costs?

There is some wiggle room in the pricing here. If the gallery sets you up with its preferred transportation vendors and installers, you can research and choose your own methods. Researching pricing in this area may help cut back on some costs.

  1. How do I display the work?
  2. Can you provide me with documentation on its authenticity?