What you should be considering when buying art

Buying art is be exciting, but what crucial steps are you forgetting take?

Image from Ethereal Summit 2018

So you’ve fallen in love with a piece of art, but how do you know you’re making a responsible purchase? What factors should you be considering? Whether you’re a seasoned collector or first-time buyer, there are a few things you should consider before you buy every piece of art. To make the process of buying art easy and stress-free, we outlined the key things you should keep in mind while buying any piece of art.

Provenance — This one is first on the list as it is one of the most important considerations when purchasing any artwork. A provenance tells you the history and past ownership of a piece, and is often the only way you can prove authenticity. No matter how reputable the vendor, dealer or auction house, you always need to see a work’s provenance. Whether the work came directly from the artist’s studio or was once hanging in David Geffen’s office, you want to know where your prospective buy has been. A provenance will also be an indicator to the authenticity of the work and can prove what you are buying is real. Read this article to learn more about the importance of provenance.

Where you buy it — These days, there are countless ways you can buy art; through an auction house, at an art fair, direct from the artist’s studio, over Instagram, on an online gallery, at a winery… Where you buy a work affects what you are paying for. Fees and quality are two factors that vary depending on where you purchase your art. You may pay more when buying a piece from a trendy gallery with an expensive rent, but you have a higher chance of the work being stored in good conditions. You may save money buying work from a street vendor, but you risk quality in condition of the work. There is no right or wrong answer to where you should buy art, but recognize what you prioritize and what you are willing to pay for.

Know the artist — Do a little research on the artist before you buy the work. Is the piece emblematic of the artist’s best work? Is the price fair for that period in his or her career? Does he or she have other pieces you like even more? Doing a little research on the artist’s career can help you be sure you are buying the right work for you. The Hiscox online art trade report shows us that for the second year in a row, Instagram is the #1 used social media app for art, so if you’re buying art from a living artist, head to Instagram for an easy check of their raisonné. There could be some useful information the artist shares that you’ll want to know before swiping your credit card.

Know where it’s going — It happens all the time – people see a work they love, they buy it and bring it home just to find out their studio apartment didn’t expand 6 feet while they were gone. After falling in love (and paying for shipping) it’s the height of disappointment to realize you have nowhere to put your new work. So be mindful of measurements and if you think you’re cutting it close ask the seller if they have any other sizes of similar works. Artists commonly produce works in series, so if you’ve fallen in love with one particular piece, it is not hard to find a similar work in a different size.

Ask for a deal — The answer is always no if you don’t ask. Not surprisingly, sellers (artists, dealers and galleries alike) want to sell their works, and the price listed on the label is not necessarily their final offer. If you love an artwork but it’s a little out of your price range don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.

Track your transaction — As important as having a good provenance was when determining if you should buy an artwork, it’s just as crucial that you take every precaution to track your transaction and maintain the provenance moving forward. As the buyer, you are now the custodian of the provenance and it is in your best interest to manage it properly. This means any receipts, documents or photos should all be kept and stored in one place. Whether you plan on selling the work in the future or show your friends you bought an artist’s work 10 years before they were mainstream, you will need to be able to prove it’s real. Check out this article to learn how you can easily manage your provenance records on Codex with just a few clicks online.

Written by: Corinne Moshy

About Codex

Codex is the leading decentralized asset registry for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (“A&C”) ecosystem, which includes art, fine wine, collectible cars, antiques, decorative arts, coins, watches, jewelry, and more. Powered by the CodexCoin native token, the Codex Protocol is open source, allowing third-party players in the A&C ecosystem to build applications and utilize the title system. Codex’s landmark application, Biddable, is a title-escrow system built on the Codex Protocol, which solves long-standing challenges in auctions: non-performing bidders, lack of privacy, and bidder access. The Codex Protocol and CodexCoin will be adopted as the only cryptocurrency by The Codex Consortium, a group of major stakeholders in the A&C space who facilitate over $6 Billion in sales to millions of bidders across tens of thousands of auctions from 5,000 auction houses in over 50 countries.


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