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How To Buy Your First Artwork

ByThe Artling Team
How To Buy Your First Artwork

Image courtesy of Noord

Congratulations on making the decision to buy your first artwork! This is undoubtedly an exciting moment, though it's natural to feel a bit overwhelmed by the vast array of options available in the art world. Navigating through numerous artworks to find one that truly resonates with you can be challenging. Various factors such as the medium, genre, and size of the artwork should all play a role in your decision-making process.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to ensure that you're making the right choice for yourself, and we're here to assist you in that journey. At The Artling, we've curated these tips to help you find your perfect first artwork.

Know What You Want, Know What You Like

The first and most important thing to make sure before you purchase an artwork is to be sure of your personal preference and liking. Have a think about what types of artworks you’re truly attracted to. Consider their medium. Are you someone who prefers the depth of oil paintings, or the lightness and flatness of prints? Do you like bright eclectic hues, or are you more of a minimalist? The first artwork you buy for yourself should appeal to you and only you! 

Image courtesy of Decorilla

It is also important to consider why you have decided to buy your first artwork. Are you trying to fill a space in your home, or are you buying art for investment? Maybe you’re after an artwork that fulfills both? All these factors should come into play during your decision making as it determines the route you would need to take when purchasing an artwork. 

Do Your Research 

Once you have a gauge of what kind of art you’d like and why you want it, it’s time to do some research. Look for artists and works who tick all your boxes and find out more about them. Are they represented by a gallery? Do they have more of a presence at auction houses? It’s always handy to take a look at the artist’s CV to have a secure sense of their career and accomplishments, be it an emerging or established artist. Emerging artists can be vetted against their website or through the gallery they are represented by. You can find out more about established artists through their recent exhibitions, the collections that their works are in, and also through the gallery or galleries that represent them. 

Image courtesy of Artsper Magazine

If you’re looking to support your local artists, why not schedule a studio visit? Getting to know an artist directly provides a deeper level of assurance, and allows the artist to get to know their collector too. This will no doubt give you a greater understanding of their practice and their works. If the artwork you’re after is by a deceased artist, make sure you are either buying from a reputable gallery or their estate. The person you liaise with for the purchase should be well informed about the artist, their work, and its history. 

Doing your research also includes a little footwork - quite literally. Artworks look different in images so get out, visit galleries, museums, art fairs, pop-ups, anything art-related. There’s no such thing as being too informed. Often times collectors themselves find that their tastes evolve from what they thought they originally liked - the same might happen with you. With more exposure to the art world comes more insight, and this might be what steers you away from what you think you want towards what you really want. 

Budget For Your First Art Purchase

It’s safe to say that only a very small percentage of the population have the privilege of an unlimited budget when buying their first artwork. A conservative budget is encouraged with regards to a first purchase, but always be prepared to spend a bit more. Make it a point to incorporate some flexibility when deciding on your budget. 

Image courtesy of Hizkia

Certain costs that might not immediately present themselves might arise. This includes the cost of framing, for example. If you are making an international purchase, it is important to make sure you have the appropriate standards with art handling, packing, transport, and insurance. Taxes on the artwork and cost of installation might also come into play. All these are costs that accumulate towards the process of acquiring an artwork. 

But, what is its provenance? 

Always do your due diligence. Whether you’re buying an artwork from a small gallery or renowned blue-chip one, provenance must always be questioned. Good provenance provides an undoubted assurance that the work of art is genuine and produced by the artist that is stated, and should always bear their signature. Make sure that the work you’re about to purchase is from a reliable, established source. This could mean anything from buying directly from the artist, from notable galleries and dealers, or at art fairs that provide proper vetting. 

Here at The Artling, we research all of the galleries and artists featured on the site. Purchasing any work from us comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, providing all our customers with confidence and assurance that the artwork is authentic. Click here to find out more. 


To put candidly, you’re going to want a piece that you won’t be tired of looking at in the years to come. This might not apply so heavily to those looking to buy art for investment as there is less intent for the artwork to be in their possession for the long-term. If you foresee your first artwork to be one that you’ll be attached to and will continue to be attracted to, then consider its versatility with regards to your taste. This goes back to being sure of what you want in an artwork. Being confident and knowing your taste is key!

Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

Trust Your Gut 

From determining what you want, why you want it, and how much you’re willing to pay for it, always trust your gut. Falling in love with an artwork should be a simple ordeal. If you find yourself going back to the same artwork over and over again after having perused multiple works, then most likely be the one. 

There are so many stories of art collectors out there that speak of how their biggest regrets aren’t with the artworks they bought, but rather the ones they missed out on. Keep an open mind, a flexible (albeit realistic) budget, and always trust your gut. 

Envision the Artworks in Your Space

For those new to art buying, envisioning artworks in your space can be challenging. Why not experiment with The Artling's visualization tool, also known as our "Try it in your space" feature? This tool enables you to effortlessly mock up an artwork on an image of your wall.

Artwork: Kaleidoscope By Anna Selina, available on The Artling.

It's an ideal solution for anyone seeking art, particularly for those who may feel hesitant about committing, have space limitations, or simply wish to see their chosen works to scale.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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