Art Blog

Affordable art online: where and how to buy

Affordable art online: where and how to buy

Whether you moved into a new home, or just wanted to refresh your space and have something inspiring to look at every day, you will probably start searching for affordable art online.

The supply is enormous. You have probably googled and discovered hundreds of thousands of artworks available for sale on the internet.

Choosing a perfect painting or a sculpture might challenging, although nowadays you can buy art from anyone and get it shipped to anywhere. 

But what if it is not what it looks like? How do I know what to buy? Is the seller reliable? Can I afford art at all? Sounds familiar?

The purpose of this blog post is to bring some clarity into the world of affordable art and provide you with some guidance.

Here is the list all online places where you can buy art and if you read this blog post till the end - you will discover some tips that will help you to make a successful acquisition.

You can buy affordable art online at:

In other words, all these online places can be classified as:

  • websites, where artists sell art,

  • websites, where galleries sell art,

  • online art galleries,

  • e-commerce platforms,

  • print to order platforms,

  • social media.

Still quite a lot to choose from? I will discuss all of these groups in more detail, but now, let’s start from a definition.

What is affordable art?

Affordable abstract art print on canvas

"Spring", limited edition abstract art print on canvas by Aloyzas smilingis - Elis.

Everyone will have a different understanding about what is affordable, because it simply depends on our individual financial situation.

Considering salaries in Western countries and prices of art sold in Europe and USA, I would classify artworks that cost up to 10 thousand USD/EUR as affordable ones. 

In other words, an artwork that costs up to 1-2 monthly salaries falls into the category of affordable art.

However, so called art experts classify artworks that cost up to 50 or even 100 thousand as affordable art too.

I guess you already understood that it all depends on a context :).

Websites, where artists sell art

These are art platforms where you can find affordable original artwork or a print and buy it directly from the artist. 

The most well known and popular ones are:

The process is simple:

  1. artists post photos of their art on these platforms, 
  2. you buy the artwork and pay the platform, 
  3. the artist ships the artwork, 
  4. you receive the artwork,
  5. artist receives the money from the platform (commission is deducted from total retail price).

Please check my earlier blog post if you would like to know more about the operations of online art galleries.

Advantages:

  • there are a lot of artworks to choose from in terms of styles, mediums and price ranges,
  • your payment is processed securely,
  • you may return the artwork and get a refund if you don’t like it.

Disatvantages:

  • you may be overhelmed by the amount of artworks available for sale and find it difficult to choose one,
  • you may not be sure about the value and quality of these artworks, as they are not curated,
  • these platforms charge artists up to 50% from a sale, so your negotiating power is limited. 

Websites, where galleries sell art

If you are looking for affordable art, you may have not considered approaching a gallery and that is quite understandable. 

We all know that awkward feeling about entering quiet and empty gallery space that makes us feel both small and poor at once :)

That is why you decided to browse for affordable artworks online, but you should not underestimate galleries completely. Some of them are offering affordable high quality art.

Galleries sell original art and affordable prints on these online platforms:

Advantages:

  • a lot of art to choose from,
  • the art is curated by galleries, so even the choice is still very wide, gallerists have already done some filtering for you,
  • more high quality art,
  • secure payment,
  • galleries usually document artworks better than artists, so you can expect to receive neat invoices and Certificates of Authenticity,
  • returns, guarantees and in some cases, individual advice are available.

Disadvantages:

  • prices will be higher than buying from the artist direct, because the commission is taken by the gallery and by the art platform (some of these platforms are charging galleries fixed monthly fees),
  • the are still so many artworks to choose from and making the right choice can be challenging,
  • not all galleries are willing to display art prices, so you will need to contact them and ask for price before making a purchase. 

Online art galleries

"Peaches, Pie and Pound", art print on paper, R.Wayne Reynolds (USA).

These art enterprises are selling art purely online and don’t own a physical space, but they operate on similar principles as brick and mortar galleries. Gallerists represent certain artists, they promote and sell their art online. 

On the day when I am writing this blog post, I have come only across two professional online art boutiques and one of them is mine :) 

So, the two 100% online galleries are:

UGallery has been established for quite a while and is offering a wide selection of art in variety of mediums and styles.

ArtGoda specialises in contemporary art - original abstract paintings, bronze sculptures, limited edition prints and affordable artworks on paper. 

Advantages:

  • selected, curated, high quality artworks - saves you time,
  • secure payments,
  • documented art,
  • personal, high quality customer service,
  • returns, insurance and other guarantees are available.

Disadvantages:

  • the choice of artworks is not as wide as on art platforms, as it depends on the number of artists represented by these online galleries,
  • due to smaller volumes of sale, shipping costs might be a bit higher than those offered by larger galleries, especially if the artwork needs to be shipped to the country other than the online gallery operates from.

E-commerce platforms

You can buy affordable art from any popular e-commerce platform, where you usually shop for basically anything.

The most important thing you need to think of, while buying artworks on e-commerce platforms, is authenticity.

Be sure that you know what you are acquiring - a print or an original, created by the artist or made in a factory. 

Having this in mind, head to:

Advantages:

  • art sold on these platforms is really cheap,
  • there are a lot of styles and mediums to choose from,
  • secure payments,
  • moderate shipping fees.

Disadvantages:

  • you can not be 100% sure about the quality,
  • authenticity is also always under the question.

Print to order platforms

If you are not that much concerned about the authenticity of your art, I would definitely recommend to visit one of these and consider buying an affordable poster or a canvas print.

Advantages:

  • very affordable, cheap artworks,
  • variety of styles,
  • secure payment, 
  • returns accepted.

Disadvantage:

  • the artworks are not original, the editions of prints are not limited, so the art is not authentic.

Social media 

If you are willing to buy an original artwork from artist directly, the easiest way would be by contacting it's creator through social media.

Artists do sell their art on 

Advantages:

  • affordable prices for unique art - no comission to galleries and/or online platforms,
  • you have the power to negotiate;
  • emotional satisfaction of discovering the artist you like and supporting an independent creator.

 Disadvantages:

  • payments may get tricky,
  • you will probably have to cover the shipping costs,
  • returns may be complicated.

How to buy affordable art online

Affordable abstract painting for sale

"Blue Abstract No. 3", affordable painting by Gina Vor.

Now that I have reviewed all various places where you can buy affordable art, there are a few universal tips that will help you to make a successful purchase.

Know what you want

Define the style you like, the medium that you will be looking for and set the budget. If you need more tips on this, please read my blog post about buying art that you will love forever. 

Make sure you are getting what you want

Take a good look at the photos, read descriptions and mind the measurements. If questions arise - don’t be shy to reach out and ask.

Make sure the artwork is authentic 

Unless you are buying a poster or a print in an open edition - request Certificate of Authenticity signed by the artist or/and the gallery.

Use secure payment services 

Art platforms, online galleries and e-commerce websites use secure payment systems, but if you are buying from artist directly - use services like PayPal, that offer buyer protection.

Read the reviews

Before you press that “buy” button, take a look at the reviews to make sure the seller is reliable.

It is great that you decided to buy some art, this process is always full of exciting discoveries and results are delightful. 

I hope you have found these tips useful and would like to welcome you to my online gallery that sells original and affordable contemporary art.  

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE for inspiring artsy news (I email once a month).

And don’t be shy to get in touch if you need help in finding your next perfect and affordable artwork!

Leave a comment