Buy Art: How to Buy Figurative Art

Figurative art represents images we recognize from the world around us, sometimes faithful and exact, others completelydistorted. Examples of figurative art are: landscapes, portraits, or still life. Contemporary figurative art is an extension and reflection of our lives, helping us to better understand our world.  

When considering acquiring a figurative artwork, we should keep in mind certain characteristics of the artwork: formal elements-line, color, volume, etc; composition-balance, rhythm and subjective aspects such as the feelings the artwork transmits and the aesthetic sensations that they produce in us.

Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking about purchasing a figurative artwork:

Explore: The internet offers the possibility to discover artworks by thousands of artists. You have more options than ever. Explore and see for yourself! If you know what you're looking for, you can search by artist, style, size, price, etc., narrowing down an online selection to meet your needs. If you don't know exactly what you want, you can start by browsing by color or theme. When something strikes your fancy, try looking for similar pieces, until you find just the right artwork. A good gallery should have experienced art consultants who can help you in your search.

Budget: Decide how much you would like to spend. Medium- to large-sized paintings by an emerging artists are readily available from $1,000 / E1,000. As the reputation of the artist grows, so will the price of the artwork.

Discover: Before purchasing an original abstract artwork, read the details available on the artist. Whether the artist is emerging or established, you can get a good sense of her career by looking at a list of her exhibitions. Has she participated in important group exhibitions? Does she have solo exhibitions listed? Does she have any artworks in museums or prominent private collections? Has she won any awards for her work?

Educate yourself about the artwork that you've selected. Learn about the medium (oil, acrylic, gouache, on canvas, on board, etc).

Feel free to ask questions. The same art consultants who can help you with your selection will gladly offer you as much information as possible about the artist and her artwork.

Experiment: The internet offers not only more options to choose from, but some websites also offer sophisticated tools so that your experience of an artwork is as close as possible to an in-person viewing. Share the artwork. Email a link to the artwork a friend or colleague for an opinion you can trust. Try to get a better idea of what the painting will be like in person by taking advantage of special features like PicassoMio's tool that allows you to view the graphic print against a variety of wall colors. A "view-to-scale" option will give you a sense of the size of the artwork, in a realistic setting.

Ensure: Check if the artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity that you feel comfortable with. Keep in mind that some artworks are signed on the front, others on the back, and some not at all. In the last case, it's especially important to have a certificate of authenticity.

Once you're sure you've found just the right artwork, make sure you're buying from a trustworthy gallery. Read about the company and their website. Most credible websites provide detailed information about themselves. See if the website provides you with verified and secured online purchases. Read what their customers and the press have to say about them. Find out if the gallery has a reasonable returns policy. When you have done your due-diligence, buy the artwork and enjoy!

Resale: If you think that you may consider reselling the artwork at some time in the future, it is important to ensure that the gallery you purchase the art from offers a resale assurance for artworks purchased from them. If so, it is important to be aware of the terms - as the commission rates vary. For example, major auction houses and galleries will typically charge a commission of 20% to 50%, while PicassoMio charges only 10%.