How to buy your first pieces of art (on a budget)


The art world is a scary place – especially for first timers. Perhaps you want a small piece to sit in your living room, or maybe you want to begin a full art collection. Either way, the prospect of galleries, collectors, museums, auctions – not to mention the price of it all, can be pretty daunting. But buying your first piece of art should be a fun and momentous occasion that will hopefully spur you on to buy more, it doesn’t need to be a chore! And if you clue yourself up before you buy, you can also buy what you want on a budget. What more could you want?

Do your research

The biggest mistake any first-time art buyer can make is not doing their research beforehand – because it will be like walking into a Lion’s den, and you may find yourself spending a fortune on an ugly piece of art you didn’t even want! So before you go to an auction or buy online, always take a look around museums, galleries and online portfolios to work out what you really want, how it would look in your house or apartment, and how much it will cost. Make your own budget and work around it, scouting out the artists, sizes, and genres that fall within your budget. But be careful not to stray, as you may find yourself falling in love with a piece that is way out of your price tag. If you can, talk to art collectors and experts to get a better understanding, making sure you keep your budget at the forefront of the conversation.

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Go to an auction, but don’t buy anything!

If you’ve never been before, auction houses can be both intimidating, and scary. The whole process of the auction house is fast, quick-paced and intense, so you need to have your wits about you. If you venture along to an auction before you intend to buy something, you can get a feel for how it all works, how quick you need to be, and when to stop. The aim of the auction house is to get the highest bid, so you do not want to get into a trap where you are bidding more than you can afford. This will also give you a little insight into how much certain pieces of art sell for on average (of course, you will never be able to tell until the day).

Take a look at emerging artists

All of the biggest and best artists had to start at the bottom – that is just the way the world works! So if you’re looking to buy your first piece of art on a budget, we’d suggest taking a look at emerging artists’ work, as these are often unique and a form of investment, because this artist could end up being the next Pablo Picasso! As they are less well known, these pieces and artists will also be cheaper, and you can often haggle with the artist directly to get the best price. Why not buy something nobody else has?

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Be aware of extra costs

The rule of thumb is that art is not cheap, and there will normally be extra costs on top of the actual painting or sculpture. Before you enter into a deal, make sure you are aware of any of these hidden costs. Ask questions, or get it in writing, but make sure you know what you are paying for. Also be aware of the costs of owning a piece of artwork – as you may need to fork out for insurance, frames or shipping.

Buying your first piece of art is the start of a brand new adventure, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done on a budget!