Oceans Wild bronze sculpture by Brian Keith

Oceans Wild bronze sculpture by Brian Keith

Top 10 Things to Consider Before Buying Art

by Brian Keith, Brian Keith Fine Art

Whether you are an experienced art collector, beginning your art collector journey, or simply seeking works of art to make your home or office more appealing, it is vital to take a step back and assess your needs and priorities before making a major purchase. Chances are that you’re not planning to spend millions on a Warhol or Picasso, yet every purchase deserves proper thought, planning and due diligence. 


Here are a few tips to keep you on the right path.


1.     What kind or style of art do you enjoy?  It’s like having a favorite pen.  You just like it for certain reasons. So, what do you like when you view art? 

2.     What size do you want?  For example, will it be for outdoors, indoors, a business, school gift or elsewhere?

3.     Why are you buying it? Will it be a gift, for your own collection, for your business, and will you display it for its beauty or message?

4.     What kind of value are you looking for?  A high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting value or quality.

5.     How soon do you want it?  Are you willing to wait to have one created or recast?  A quick reminder:  Remember that good things come to those who wait.

6.     How easy is it to contact the artist personally or their representative?

7.     Where can you find work that represents your personal likes versus someone else’s preference?  Galleries, online galleries from artists, art associations, magazines, and smart Google searches may help tremendously.

8.     You are buying part of the artist and not just their art.  Would you like art from a grumpy egocentric artist or a joy-filled humble hardworking artist? Or maybe you want a painting or sculpture from an angry person up on your wall or displayed in your entryway? Always keep the creator in mind.

9.     What feeling are you buying?  That is what is really being sold to you.  Just like Coca-Cola sells a feeling in all of its ads, artists are selling you a feeling which is at the core of every art purchase.  What do you feel when you see this artist’s work?

10.    Do you want it handmade or computer-made?  While this may sound like a silly question to ask yourself, especially with sculpture, technology is changing things in this traditional medium. Today, someone can 3D scan an object or person, or work solely on the computer creating a 3D image, then send the file overseas, and have it printed and cast in a cheap bronze-like material without ever having touched the artwork with their own hands.  Some people enjoy the details of a work of art that looks like it was made by a computer while others will enjoy seeing the handiwork and marks of the artists in their artwork. Compare this to the room next to The David where you can see the marks on stone/marble from Michelangelo’s hand himself as it transforms the block of stone into a work of art.


Clearly there are many things to consider when purchasing art and with so many options available today it is important to do your homework, think before you act and be sure you’re buying from a reputable source. Once you find the perfect piece of artwork you are certain to find joy for years to come. As John Updike said, “What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit.”