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Buying Original Art: The Ultimate Guide to Art Shopping

Buying original art for your home can feel like a daunting task. Art is an investment. Adding a new piece of artwork to a room can make or break the overall aesthetic and feel of it. You want pieces that will last the test of time, that you’ll love for years to come. And, if you’re buying art as a gift, you need to make sure that your selection fits the taste and style of the recipient. With so much on the line, don’t go into your next art purchase blind. In this guide we’ll show you how to choose the right work of art for you. Whether you’re shopping for your home or you’ve been tasked with outfitting your new office, Singulart is here to help.

Make sure to check out the rest of our ‘Advice for Collectors‘ columns for more tips and tricks from Singulart.

Buying Original Art: The Basics

To help simplify the selection process, there are a few basic factors to consider: What is your budget? Where will the work be displayed? What movements and styles are you or your client interested in? And when do you need the artwork by? By answering these simple questions before you begin the search process, you’ll be able to rule out works that don’t match your unique criteria.

Buying Original Art on a Budget

When it comes to investing in art, you want to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Cheap artworks, like any other cheap product, are not made to last. But how do you know how much to spend? It all depends on a few important factors.

First, you have to consider the quality of materials used by the artist. Obviously, the better the paint, canvas, and brushes, the higher the price of the work. Second, you need to take into account the artist’s reputation. If they’re an accomplished artist and have already established themselves on the art market, their work will reflect this prestige. While artworks made by established artists are usually more expensive, they are also more likely to accrue value over time and are thus a safer investment.

If you’re looking to add a great quality painting to your home, allow for an approximate budget of 2500€-5000€ (about $3000-$6000 USD). For this price you can expect to get an amazing piece of art made by a talented and established artist. For sculptures, the prices are more varied since sculptures come in a variety of sizes and are made with a wide range of materials. A sculpture could cost anywhere between 300€ to 10,000€. As with paintings, it’s best to invest in artworks made with stable, high-quality materials like stone or bronze which are difficult to damage and don’t easily fade, rust or deteriorate over time.

Buying original art photography is a great option if you want to get something beautiful for less. It’s relatively easy to find stunning, large scale photographs for your home for as little as 200€. The difference in pricing is due to the fact that photography is generally thought of as a less rigorous creative practice than painting, despite the fact that photos require just as much artistic prowess.

How to Choose the Right Art for Your Room

Once you’ve landed on a budget, you can start thinking about aesthetic. When buying original art for your room, make sure that your purchase will look just as great, if not better, in your home as it does in the gallery. This is where a basic knowledge of color theory comes in handy.

Generally speaking, there are two routes you can take when choosing which colors you want to add to your room. You can look for artwork that has complementary colors to the room in which it will appear, or you can look for artwork that will contrast with its surroundings. If your room already has a lot of color present, it’s best to look for a work of art that will fit well with the color scheme you’ve determined. But this doesn’t mean simply choosing a piece of artwork that’s the same color as your couch or bedspread. Likewise, there are ways to achieve contrast that won’t take over a room or ruin the general look of a space.

Complimentary Color Schemes

Original artwork by Michel Suret-Canale, Muriel Napoli and Trine Churchill.
Bottom left: Michel Suret-Canale, ‘Bluescape’, 2018. Acrylic on Linen, 110x150cm.
Bottom right: Muriel Napoli, ‘Blue Sapphire,’ 2019. Acrylic, India ink on Canvas, 140x140cm.
Top right: Trine Churchill, ‘Lake Reflections (old friends)‘, 2018. Acrylic on Canvas, 152x122cm.
Original Art by Koen Lybaert
Koen Lybaert, ‘Changing Seasons – Summer 01 [Abstract N°2262]’, 2018. Oil on Canvas, 130x120cm.

As you can see in the images above, the paintings contain colors that are already present in the room. By identifying two or three colors that feature prominently in a space, you can determine which colors will best compliment the layout.

Take a look at the first mood board. The three defining colors of the room are navy blue, silver grey, and white. The artworks in the mood board all emphasize these colors. The colors of the room as thus reflected in the paintings, creating a cohesive color scheme throughout the space.

In the second board, the example room is more colorful with greens, blues pinks and white all intermingling. In a room that already has lots of colors in play, it’s best to choose an artwork that will not compete for attention or create a harsh contrast with the existing color palette. The chosen artworks in the mood board are soft and emphasize just one or two of the colors present in the room, maintaining the existing scheme.

Contrasting Color Schemes

Using artwork to create contrast is best done when decorating a room with neutral colors. In these examples, the artwork becomes the focal point of the room adding bold colors and excitement to the space.

Original Art by Maxim Fomenko
Maxim Fomenko, ‘Good morning Mister Paul Gauguin #1’, 2019. Acrylic, Oil on Canvas, 120x180cm.
Top right: Andreas Wolf, ‘Ohne Titel 1,’ 2015. Acrylic, Oil, Graffiti on Canvas, 200x190cm.
Bottom left: ‘Ohne Titel 2‘, 2018. Watercolor on Paper, 70x83cm.

Movements, Categories, and Styles

When shopping for art, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various genres, movements and styles that most artworks are organized around. For beginners, a painting category, such as nude, landscape, or portraiture refers to the subject of the painting or what is being painted. Conversely, the style of painting refers to the manner in which the subject is painted like abstract, figurative, pop, and impressionism. Feel free to familiarize yourself with these genres on our ‘explore by’ category and style pages before you begin shopping. A basic knowledge of common art terms will give you the ability to ask for exactly what you want while shopping.

The Logistics of Buying Original Artwork

Buying original artwork, weather online or in a gallery, can be a slightly difficult process. Paintings, sculptures and photographs are delicate. They must be packed carefully before shipping. As with other goods, artworks have to go through customs if imported. This can be an arduous process depending on the size and price of the work, so shipping an artwork across borders can take anywhere from two weeks to a month, sometimes more in exceptional cases.

To avoid any potential shipping problems, make sure you shop with a gallery that has a great customer service reputation. Always refer to the gallery’s shipping policy before you make your purchase. At Singulart, we’re proud to offer free shipping and returns for customers around the world. We also provide customer support during the entire shipping process to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions about buying artwork. Is there anything else you would like to know? Tell us in the comments and we’ll do our best to help. Happy shopping!


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