5 Tips on Buying Your First Piece of Art

Alt: a woman observing three large paintings in a museum

So, you decided to purchase your first piece of art. You are probably overwhelmed with excitement. After all, it is not every day that you have the opportunity to invest in art! Precisely because of this, we will talk about a few things you should consider when buying your first piece of art.

It is almost a non-sequitur to discuss in which medium or genre you should invest. Simply put, there are myriads of valuable but also not so valuable artworks in every genre you can think of. So, this line of research is unlikely to get you anywhere definite. If you do not decide on some selection criteria now, you could easily get lost in the dense labyrinth of artists, periods, movements, art market trends, etc. In this sense, you need to follow your guts, or even better, your personal aesthetic preferences.

However, following your intuition is just part of the game. Since your pursuit is probably oriented towards buying a piece of art that will start off your curating journey with a home run, you surely do not want to make any mistakes and purchase something of little artistic (and perhaps even little financial) value. Luckily, there are a few collector tricks you can make use of to ensure you are on the right track to finding the perfect first piece of art.


Focus on a single genre, movement, or artist rather than price

So, you probably want to find art that could serve as upscale decor on a relatively small scale budget. Or, on the other hand, you might be chasing the ideal piece of high-priced high art for you to invest your hard-earned money. Whatever your primary motivation may be, focusing solely on the price is limiting yourself unnecessarily. How so?

Essentially, taking the pricing of the artwork as your primary criterion might obscure its artistic value. In other words, you could end up focusing more on the price tag than the artwork’s essence.


Keep your priorities in check when buying your first piece of art.
Alt: a woman searching for her first artwork


Consider your budget nevertheless

Of course, this is not to say that your budget is not an important consideration. You might want to make a reasonable budgetary limit for buying your first piece of art,especially since you are so new to the game. However, do allow yourself some leeway if you assess you have found something truly outstanding. So, as you can see, buying art is almost like an art form in itself.

You also have to prepare for a number of additional costs. For example, framing is vital when it comes to preserving canvases in their original form. If you have purchased the artwork abroad, you have to look into shipping procedures to ensure your first piece of art reaches its destination unharmed in the transfer. Also, do not forget about the taxes and other necessities, such as the cost of installation.

And it is not just the logistics of transferring the artwork that you have to figure out. If you have invested in art of significant value, you might consider renting a safe storage unit. Many art collectors recommend renting storage of high quality and safety to keep your art safe from harm and theft. If your first piece of art is really old or fragile, you can even find a smart storage space where you are able to change the temperature and humidity yourself.

Be sure to investigate how you should look after your pieces of art.
Alt: an orange-blue abstract painting


Develop your taste with the help of self-reflection and research

One way to approach buying your first piece of art is to work on developing your own taste. Start by pinpointing the period or the genre of your liking. Which movement or school within the genre suits you best? Are you more inclined towards classic or contemporary artists? Are you more excited about headhunting for relatively unknown artists or more interested in the life and work of ‘bigshots’? Are you more into intricate or minimalistic art? Do you prefer Nordic styles or Oriental?

You might want to support local or younger artists, especially if you are on a limited budget.

Alt: an art museum full of paintings

Ask yourself these and similar questions while you explore what the art scene has to offer. We believe that this kind of reflection is fruitful even when you already have a developed taste. By reevaluating your art ‘value system’ in this way, you might discover something that provokes your unrestrained interest.

The added benefit of exploring art by using this bottom-up approach lies precisely in the potential to discover different aspects and facets of a particular art scene or period. Do this every time before deciding which piece of art you are going to purchase. Slowly but surely, you will gain the ability to successfully mix artwork from different artistic styles and still retain a cohesive art collection


Do the footwork

So, exploring your artistic preferences is extremely helpful for finding your way around various media, artists, genres, etc. Once you find out what fascinates you the most, the ‘real’ research actually begins.
Namely, now you have to do the heavy lifting and inform yourself about the technicalities involved in buying your first piece of artwork.You need to find accurate information on questions such as:
  • Is the artist represented by an affirmed or an underground art gallery?
  • Are the artist’s pieces available at art auctions, or do you have to contact them directly?
  • What about the artworks’ provenance?

Find out about the artwork’s provenance

Provenance refers to the artwork’s legitimacy and authenticity. So, no matter where and in which country you might be buying your first piece of art, the art dealer has got to supply proof of provenance. Basically, provenance is assurance that the work of art is undoubtedly made by the given artist.



Meta description: Ready for buying your first piece of art? Read these tips to find out how to buy the best artwork for your growing art collection.



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