Top 10 Things To Know About Purchasing Art Online


1. It’s okay to ask questions!


Is it unclear from the photographs whether those spots are paint loss or part of the artwork? Do you know where the artwork will ship from? Can you sign up to be notified when other artworks by the same artist become available? Contact the website’s support team!

2. Do some comparison shopping.


A lot of websites that sell fine art source their inventory from dealers and galleries–meaning that even though you are shopping online, you are still subject to their retail markups. Lofty clearly states “This is a fair price set by Lofty’s Experts” under the asking price for items that are not marked up. In some cases, it may be worth it to pay extra to get exactly what you want, but it’s good to understand what you are paying for!

3. You can trade up.


A lot of sites that sell art online have an option for private collectors to list their own pieces for sale. If you have your eye on something a little bit out of your price range, it may be a good option to consider selling a piece you already own!

4. Good pieces move quickly.


This is true for all online shopping, but especially so when you’re talking about unique and limited edition objects. If something you’ve been waiting for comes available, don’t wait to purchase!

5. Wear different hats- collector, interior designer, investor, art historian.


It will make your search for the right piece more interesting when you consider it from all different angles.

6. Provenance matters!


“Provenance” is the term used in the trade to discuss the history of an art object or antique. An artwork with questionable provenance is more likely to be a fake, while an artwork with a history that can be traced directly back to the artist is more likely to be real.

7. Consider the frame– or lack there of!


Purchasing a framed artwork can save you time and money, but then you don’t have the agency to choose a color and style that suits your space. Decide what’s more important to you!

8. Familiarize yourself with the site’s return policy.


This will make you feel comfortable purchasing an artwork before you’ve seen it in person, and you’ll know exactly what to expect in the event that you decide not to keep the piece.

9. There are no shortcuts in shipping.


You’ll need to ship the artwork fully insured, and pay to have it professionally packed. Shipping fine and decorative art is more expensive than shipping most other objects because it requires special care in packing. This money spent on shipping and insurance is worth every penny, as it will ensure that your item arrives in good shape, and if it doesn’t, you won’t be out of luck!

10. Buy from a source that you trust!


Sites like Craigslist and eBay don’t impose quality standards or make any guarantees about the items sold on their site. By contrast, each Lofty item is reviewed and valued by Lofty’s carefully selected network of experts, which includes qualified appraisers, current and former auction house specialists, reputable dealers, and other art world professionals with decades of experience evaluating items in their specialties.

Featured Image: Abbott Lawrence Pattison, View from Waterloo Bridge 11, oil on canvas, signed lower right, 20th century