The Redwood Art Group BLOG

11 Jun 2020

9 Questions to Ask When Buying Art

Important things to consider before buying a work of art.

Whether you are purchasing your first piece or are an established art collector, there are questions you should always ask before buying art.


1. What is the story behind this piece?

Learning the story behind a piece of art can alter the way you view it. Maybe you are looking at a painting of roses in a vase. You may think it is simply roses in a vase, but perhaps there is a significance to the vase or maybe the roses symbolize something special. Knowing the story can help you feel more connected to the work, which is especially important if you are thinking about purchasing it.

Another major thing to consider when buying art is that it will be displayed in your home for a long time. You’ll want to know the story behind the piece so you can educate your guests about the artwork in your home.


2. Who is the artist? Where are they from?

Knowing the artist is vital when it comes to acquiring art. By knowing the artist, you can then research them online, follow them on social media, learn more about how they create their pieces, and maybe even discover more about the piece you purchased.


3. What type of art is this?

This is a very simple yet important question to ask, especially if you are new to buying art. Although there are many types of art, knowing the type of art you are purchasing can help you distinguish your art preferences. It’s also interesting to hear how the artist classifies the artwork.


4. Is the work unique or an edition?

This is a great question to ask because it impacts the uniqueness of the piece and can affect the price of the piece. If the piece is one of a kind, you may find yourself more attracted to it knowing you’ll be the only one who owns it. Or maybe it is part of a series in which you may want to purchase each item in that collection. If it is an edition, it will be important to know how many pieces are in the edition.


5. Does this artist offer any other pieces?

You may find that you like another piece by that same artist more than the one you had your eye on. Or maybe you want to purchase two or three pieces to complete the decor in your home.


6. What is the cost of the piece and are there any additional costs? 

A piece usually has a listing price, which sometimes does not include tax or shipping. Asking the price can help you stay within your budget.


7. Is the price negotiable?

It never hurts to negotiate the price. Trying to stay within your budget will not only make you happier but can also allow you to purchase more pieces in the future.


8. What type of documentation will be provided?

Ask about the type of documentation for the piece that will be provided. All artwork should come with a certificate of authenticity and ancillary documents. They are vital documents for creating value for the piece, as well as assurances about the originality of the piece. They are also important for art insurance or even selling it in the future.


9. How should I display the work?

You want to ensure you are displaying the piece how the artist intended it, so ask if there are recommendations on how to properly display the piece. This may require a home visit, if possible, so you can properly learn how to hang the artwork. Always remember to keep valuable artwork away from direct sunlight or heat to protect it.

Use this checklist the next time you’re interested in buying a piece of art.

Ready to start shopping now? Head on over to our Online Art Marketplace to discover works, artists, and galleries you love.


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