Buying anything online for the first time can be a daunting experience. When that ‘anything’ is art and you are taking your first steps into this intimidating world, you really need to do your research. It’s one thing to be able to physically see the piece you’re buying, but when you are conducting business over the internet, it holds a whole new set of challenges. 


Whether you are a seasoned art collector or stood firmly at square one, if youre buying art online youll generally fall into one of two categories. Youll either feel passionately about the piece, or you are buying it as a financial investment. Whichever camp you fall into, there are a number of factors to bear in mind before you commit your money.

James Devlin , Travelling next to Melancholy

James Devlin, Travelling next to Melancholy

 Buying art online has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. One of the many benefits to buying online is the sheer choice available to you. The internet crosses international boundaries like no other medium. 

We recommend you  choose your gallery carefully. Do your research before spending your money. Once you’ve picked your gallery of choice, it’s time to delve deeper. A Returns Policy is crucial when buying art online. Buying art without the ability to physically inspect the piece is a huge leap of faith for anyone. So any reputable gallery will have a Returns Policy in place. When you receive your new artwork, you must be able to return what you’ve bought, no matter what the problem with it is. No Returns Policy? Move along.


Once youve seen the painting you love, its make your mind up time. Before you commit there are a number of simple steps to take. We wouldnt want your heart to overrule your head too quickly. No matter what youve decided to buy; a painting, sculpture or photograph, there are still things to be done. Make sure you have access to high resolution photographs. As many as possible. If they are available on the website, make sure the equipment you are using is capable of displaying the image to the best of its ability. Most computer monitors and tablets these days are more than capable of display HD images, but not all. Be sure that the colours you are seeing are a true reflection of those used on the piece. It will never be 100% accurate, but ensure youre getting the best possible representation. Whilst were on the subject, it never hurts to double-check the size of the piece before you buy. Seeing it on a large screen can often skew your perception. It may seem huge on the screen, but always check its dimensions. If you cant see them in the item description, contact the gallery to find out.


So you think youre ready to commit? Not so fast. Have you read the small print? This doesnt necessarily mean the contracts terms and conditions (although they are important too), it also refers to the little details that are easily forgotten. If its a painting you want - is it a painting youre getting? Have you checked that its not a reproduction or a print? Does it come with a frame? Will it be packaged and protected adequately in transit? Will it be insured appropriately? All these questions should be answered before your purchase.


By following these simple steps, you should be able to avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls when buying art online. Art is a fascinating world with endless possibilities that bring joy to millions of people. Why shouldnt you be one of them. Happy buying.

ArticlesClaudia Elliott