Buying art isn’t always easy. In fact, that’s very rarely the case at all. Not only do you have to contend with finding the piece for you, amongst many other offerings, but you need to find a source for the art. Unless you’re a professional buyer – or a seasoned collector with a book full of contacts – it’s unlikely that you have the resources to find quality artists directly. That’s one area where galleries can shine.
The real question though, is that in this internet age, with all the world’s information at our fingertips, what do galleries really offer us?
Knowledge & Experience
Those who own or work for art galleries offer you something beyond what the artist themselves may be able to provide. It’s the same way with most luxury services, like employing an interior designer for your new furniture, or an expert web designer to rebrand your business.
An art gallery provides a service. If you’ve ever bought art, then you’ll know that for most of us, it’s not just about finding a painting and seeing if you like it. You’ve got to think about where it might be displayed, or what theme you’re trying to cater for. There could be a dozen considerations and a professional art seller could be your answer. Their knowledge can direct your search towards artists whose style complements your needs, for example.
An obvious alternative to visiting a gallery – or hunting down the artists themselves – is to shop online. While there are pros and cons to both sides, purchasing through a gallery offers a unique selling point: they only present the finest pieces they can find.
Galleries spend countless hours reviewing work, attending fayres and evaluating artists so that they can offer their clients the very crème of what’s available. Even if your perception and understanding of the art world is as honed as the gallery owner (and let’s face it, very few of us possess such knowledge), do you really have time to do a comparable study?
When you pay through an art gallery – and yes, the prices will be higher – you are investing in the time, knowledge and analysis they have expended to put you face-to-face with top quality art.
Guaranteed Delivery of Your Exact Order
There’s no denying that buying online does offer certain advantages, namely cost. However, viewing a digital image of a piece of art can never replicate seeing it in person. The colour settings and auto-correction of the camera, your own screen, the lighting in the room – all of these things can mislead your eyes and play tricks, and there’s nothing worse than the nasty surprise of unwrapping a piece of art to find it doesn’t match your memory.
Galleries also give you a better perception of scale. Particularly when investing in large pieces for mounting on walls, a physical examination of the work can help you place it (mentally) in your room, prior to purchase.
Most simply, you know exactly what you’re buying, down to the last detail (well, if you examine it closely enough)! Since many pieces of art fetch quite high prices, this is a consideration worth remembering.
Secure, Simplified and Approachable Payment
Often the defining moment for a prospective art buyer is when the big discussion starts: price. Buying quality art is not a matter of nipping into town for a quick perusal. It involves deliberation, haggling, hesitation…and it usually comes down to price.
It’s inexplicable, but when purchasing art, many of us tend to favour the one piece that’s just on the very rim of our budget. Perhaps even slightly out of it. By going through a gallery, your payment burden can usually be vastly alleviated. There are monthly payment options, sometimes loyalty schemes and, of course, payment protection if something goes awry before it is delivered.
This often-overlooked feature is one of the most tangible benefits of buying art through a gallery instead of looking elsewhere.
Fostering Relationship in the Art World
Buying a beautiful piece of art isn’t a chore; it’s a journey and an experience which should bring fulfillment. Being inside a gallery, talking with the owner and immersing yourself serves to enhance that experience. More than that, you get a chance to meet real people who share your interests.
This doesn’t need to be a famous art dealer or the gallery curator, but just other, regular people who are trying to break into the art world. You can speak to others, learn their opinions, gain insights and, perhaps, make new friends.
If you’re thinking of become a collector – even an intermittent one, for low-medium value works – then being involved in that culture can really alter the buying experience. Making the switch from online buyer to gallery peruser can be quite eye opening!