A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art

Art Market
By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich
A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art

Adding original artwork can instantly elevate any space while expressing your unique personality and interests. However, if you’re new to art collecting, the prospect of buying art can seem daunting. Where do you find pieces? How do you know if a work is priced fairly? What about fakes and forgeries? 

This beginner’s guide covers tips from art experts on building an art collection you’ll cherish for years. Follow this advice to confidently navigate the art buying process and discover artists and artworks that speak to you.

Set Your Budget

As with any major purchase, deciding on a comfortable budget before you begin browsing prevents “sticker shock” down the road. Consider what you can allocate towards:

  • The first piece(s) for your collection
  • Ongoing costs for additional acquisitions   
  • Framing and installation for your purchases

Remember, you can always start small and build your collection over time. Purchasing artwork should align with your financial means.

Explore Different Art Styles and Mediums

The art world is a huge, diverse landscape spanning endless movements and techniques. Before visiting galleries, view art reference guides online to learn terminology and see examples. Some key styles and mediums to explore include:

  • Painting genres: Abstract, impressionism, pop art, etc.
  • Photography types: Minimalist, black and white, landscape, etc.  
  • Mixed media using multiple techniques in one piece
  • Sculptural mediums: Bronze, stone, metal, clay
  • Traditional mediums: Oil paint, watercooler, pastel, charcoal

Research Artists Within Your Favorite Styles

Once you have an idea of your aesthetic tastes, research artists working in those styles and follow ones you’re repeatedly drawn to. Good resources include:

  • Gallery websites like Artpiq promoting their represented artists
  • Artist pages on platforms like Artsy that organize by style 
  • Art publications and blogs interviewing emerging talent
  • Social media accounts like Instagram showing artist works 

Make note of any artists you want to continue following. This provides a great wish list to reference when you see their pieces for sale.

Find Reputable Dealers, Galleries, and Art Fairs

To find quality original art to purchase, trusted sources are essential. Look for: 

  • Respected legacy galleries with longstanding artist relationships
  • Curators and dealers recommended within the industry
  • Prominent art fairs around the world each year  
  • Auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s to bid on consigned work

Verify Provenance and Authentication

Once you’ve found a piece you’re interested in, due diligence is required to ensure authenticity and a legal chain of ownership, known as provenance. This is for art bought from the secondary market. Always verify:

  • Official authentication paperwork from respected expert bodies
  • Direct provenance records provided by the seller 
  • Inclusion in any authoritative sources on the artist’s catalog raisonné 

Proper paperwork protects against costly forgeries and fakes. Don’t hesitate to request proof. 

Understand the Sale Contract Terms

Reputable sellers always provide a complete purchase agreement outlining:

  • Final sale price and payment schedule
  • Documentation being provided certifying authenticity 
  • Shipping and delivery logistics

Review carefully before signing to ensure alignment. This legally protects both buyer and seller.

browse artwork
A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art

You may also want to read...

Motivation and Expectations of Art Collectors in Today's Art Market
Art Market

Motivation and Expectations of Art Collectors in Today's Art Market By Katharina Wenzel-Vollenbroich

In the dynamic realm of the contemporary art world, understanding the motivations and expectations of art collectors has become increasingly crucia...

Delivery & Returns


Artworks are professionally packaged by us or the artist. Packaging and delivery method will vary according to the type of work. Shipping is free for any artwork. 


If you are a customer living in the European Union, the legal return period is 14 days after receipt of your order. Please note that returns are only possible if in accordance with the Terms & Conditions. If you want to return an item please contact us via info@artpiq.net first. Please note that you cannot return the artwork without contacting us beforehand, as in this case the artwork will not be insured. ARTPIQ is not responsible for any damages or loss occurring through unauthorised return shipping and will in this case not be able to release your refund.


Newsletter signup