Top Tips For Buying Art Online


Thinking of buying art online, but not sure how to go about it? StateoftheART Gallery shares their expert advice to help get you started.

What are the key factors to consider when purchasing something as visual as art online?

People are still very much engaged in the visual arts, but more and more they’re doing it from their lap as buying art online affords them the opportunity to discover and buy art that would not otherwise be easily found. Access to good photographs that show you exactly what you’re looking at are crucial when making a purchasing decision. A reputable online gallery will also provide additional photographs of the work such as a close-ups of the texture on canvas, or a side view so that you can clearly see the depth of the work. But before you even look at any artwork, make sure that the gallery offers a sound return policy.

Look for an edited selection of artists. Whether this is a small number of artists permanently selling work, or a curated online exhibition, you want to be sure exhibiting artists have been handpicked with care and discernment and that the selection isn’t overwhelming to navigate.

How do you decide which artists are represented on your website?

As a curated gallery, our panel of six art professionals select artists based on the following key criteria:

  • A clear, easily identifiable, fresh style and a unique identity. Artist Claude Chandler and his Binary Visage series is a good example.
  • A cohesive body of work that makes an impact as a whole. Is there a dominant theme that unites the work? An example of this would be the environmental theme seen in Janet Botes’ work.
  • A sophisticated technique: You need to see depth in the work. It’s fine, good even, for the artist to reference other artists, but very much as re-invention within their own unique and identifiable style.
  • The quality of production (of both ideas and materials, as well as the time put into individual works).

Any tips for safety and security when purchasing art online?

With the market now flooded with online retailers of original art it is advisable to veer towards the galleries that put their exhibitors through a selection process and are willing to enter into a dialogue with the buyer. Establish the credibility of the online platform and make sure there’s someone behind the platform. Check the biographies of the founders and artists.

Make sure that the site is 3D Secure and that the site prompts you to register for Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code. If a website uses these services their emblems are normally displayed somewhere on the site. Opt for websites that make use of reputable third-party payment processors such as PayPal and MyGate. Establish that their policies (damage, delivery, as well as returns) are clear and reliable. Ask for certificates of authenticity for works of art when you purchase editions. Check feedback from other clients, both on their own website and elsewhere on the web.

How soon could you expect to receive your artwork once purchased?

Artworks sold on StateoftheART are dispatched directly from the artist or our gallery, which means that the delivery times will vary from piece to piece. We allow up to 10 working days for delivery within South Africa, and 14 working days for international delivery.

What art styles do you see as currently being the most popular or sought after on your website?

Large scale contemporary portraiture by artists Chris Denovan, Floris van Zyl and Claude Chandler, as well as works with a leaning towards urban and street art such as pieces by artists Lisette Forsyth and Michaela Rinaldi are all very popular.

We are always keen to hear from new artists interested in showing their work and our submission process is simple. Details can be found under the ‘Join’ button on the menu of Applicants must be South African residents.