Buying Original Art From Unknown Artists

Buying Original Art From Unknown Artists

Many people do not think they can own original art, either scared off by the higher prices or intimidated by their lack of knowledge. But by purchasing original art from lesser known artists you can save money. Here are some simple tips to selecting good original art for your home.

Original art is art that is the actual artists work, it is not a copy or print. For the purposes of this article I will be referring to 2 dimensional art, such as paintings or drawings. Paintings may be oil, acrylic, watercolor, mixed media, or a variety of other media. Oil and acrylic paintings are generally NOT put behind glass, whereas watercolors, and drawings are.

Original Art is not mass produced in any way. It should be signed. Often a more well known artist will have prints made from his or her original, these are made in limited numbers and are called “Editions”. Limited editions are valuable when done by acclaimed artists. Limited edition prints are always signed and numbered, either by hand or in the plate itself, after which the plate is destroyed. The prints are on acid free paper and will stand the test of time.

Most of the art you see in furniture stores, department stores, and so on, is NOT original art, nor is it a valuable limited edition. This art is often massed produced and usually what you are paying for when you buy it is, in fact, the frame, it may have a signature on it, but the signature is part of the print. When in doubt ask about the artist.

There is also a system of painting that involves one person painting the sky and a mountain, another person painting in some background trees, another painting in a cabin, deer, or creek, and yet another person paints the foreground. These paintings are quite recognizable, and generic. Each one looks a bit like the other. It is unlikely these pieces will even gain value.

Where to Buy and What to Buy

Art galleries and Art shows are the most common places you will find original art, and before an artist is well known you can often find them selling pieces out of their home or studio, or even in smaller consignment stores and places that display local art.
I would like to point out that not all Art Galleries are the same, some, like those in shopping malls, sell prints more than originals, if you are looking for original art in a gallery you need to look for a gallery that has actual art showings by selected artists.
What should you buy? Well for starters buy something you like… Do not buy something only because you want to make money, if you do not like it as a piece of work, there is no point in owning it. Buy something with meaning, a painting that makes a statement is more likely to be worth something than a painting of a pretty little stream. That is not to say pretty pictures do not go up in value, they do, but ONLY if the artist gains fame.

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Lisa Chisum, posted this comment on Feb 2nd, 2008

I was actually reading a forum on yahoo 360 about watercolor paintings, and this site was brought up, It’s exactly what i’ve been looking for, I have original, no copies, paintings framed and ready to sell, I didn’t know how to do it. I’ve been contimplating starting my own webpage just for that. Hopefully this site is my dream come true!

hally, posted this comment on Mar 3rd, 2008

Go for it Lisa Jean

ginger elinburg, posted this comment on Mar 8th, 2008

I have been buying oil paintings for a few years and only have one or two by “Known” artist. The others are unknown but I really like them. 2 are what I call conversation starters because people look at them and try to figure out 1) Why in the world I bought them and 2) Why the artist was painting trees on fire. I told my husband “They may have only cost $15 but one day they could be worth more since they are one of a kind.” Either way I love all of my “Unknown” paintings. I’m thinking of buying this huge antique oil signed “Duvalli” unknown artist but I like the painting.

Catherine Corfield, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

I’m an artist who sells original art. Check out my site
http://www.catherinecorfield.co.uk
I can guarantee originality!

Nancy Jenkins, posted this comment on Oct 21st, 2008

This is a help. I just found some of my late moms art, watercolour, pastel,pencil and charcoal, now she might have signed them or not, none are framed. Should I frame or not and how much should I offer for each to buyer. Found in her portfolio, miscellaneous sketches, paintings, people, landscapes. She has a few unfinished are they worth it? I am gaining like to start doing art, I do photography and have originals framed except one , but have not signed yet, not sure how to do that.

Mark Gordon Brown, posted this comment on Oct 22nd, 2008

Hi Nancy,
It is impossible to tell you what to sell them for, the unfinished ones are not worth anything unless she is well known at this point. You can keep them though. Often times if people frame things they sell them for 3x the price of the framing but there is no guarantee somebody is going to be willing to buy them. Try consigning them some where and have somebody else judge their quality and suggest a price

Mark Gordon Brown, posted this comment on Oct 22nd, 2008

Hi Nancy,
It is impossible to tell you what to sell them for, the unfinished ones are not worth anything unless she is well known at this point. You can keep them though. Often times if people frame things they sell them for 3x the price of the framing but there is no guarantee somebody is going to be willing to buy them. Try consigning them some where and have somebody else judge their quality and suggest a price

James Berger, posted this comment on Apr 19th, 2009

Art that increases in value….kinda reminds me of the current housing issue we’re all involved with at the moment. So many folks purchased homes to flip them with dreams of future riches in mind. They didn’t purchase the home because they liked it and thought it a good place to live. IMHO Paintings can be and should be looked at similarly. Are you drawn to a work of art for no other reason than something about it intriques you? Why not purchase or own something you like. As the above article stated, so many artists will never gain the fame and/or notoriety needed for their work to re-sell for the insane prices many greedy buyers fantasize about.
Stop living the ways of the world and surround yourself with things of beauty and well being. Allow Artwork to permiate your soul and elevates your inner being to higher levels.
I’m so so tired and overwhelmed by all the money mongers on this planet…everything and anything for a buck.
Yes, I know, there will always be those elite bankers ruling and swaying public opinion in their favor…just don’t allow society/the media to brainwash you!
Be different than the proverbial Jones family.
God bless us all.
Jim
http://www.artworkbyjim.com

nadia x, posted this comment on May 12th, 2009

Very good article and great practical advice.

And it really comes down to trusting your own instinct in buying art.

-Another “unknown” artist, Nadia X.

http://hu1der.deviantart.com/
and also “nadia x paints” on facebook.

besos from sunny Greece all!!

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