How do art galleries buy new art

Buy art? 10 tips for your first work of art, even if you have little idea about it

10 practical tips for your entry into the art world

Then you can:

  • Find out which art you like and which suits you.
  • Judge for yourself whether it is good art.
  • Dive into the world of art with fun and have a say.
  • Find the art vendors that fit you and your budget.
  • Bring your favorite work of art home with ease.

Imagine you see a picture that you really like

Your gaze is riveted. You are blown away.

But unfortunately you don't know that much about art and ask yourself:

  • Is that good art?
  • Is it worth the price?
  • Should I really buy this or should I leave it so I don't go wrong?

Should I buy art even though I don't know that much about it?


I say that as the founder of a special art gallery. My goal is to whet the appetite for art in precisely those people who otherwise don't dare to go to galleries. Unfortunately, many believe that they don't know enough about art or that it is way too expensive.

I used to feel the same way.

I once had a very intimidating experience when I went into a gallery curiously. Everything was so sterile and the lady there wasn't particularly friendly. When I saw the prices, I was out pretty quickly.

About vernissages it is said that the chic and weird birds from the art scene meet to drink a few glasses of champagne. If you are invited to one yourself because your friend's boyfriend is an artist, you don't even know what to wear or what to say about the pictures there. Today I see things differently:

Art is an enrichment for everyone.

I think a work of art should not be missing in any good household. But admittedly, a bit of knowledge and experience can't hurt the first time you buy art. Don't worry, it's not difficult.

Step 1: start small

  • You don't have to study art history and know everything about each art era
  • You don't have to be chic or hip or trendy and be in the art scene
  • You don't have to invest thousands of euros in your first work of art

Start with small steps:

With the knowledge as well as with your first work of art.

There are more affordable and good works of art than you realize

You can get many works such as etchings, screen prints and photo prints for less than 100 EUR. For your search I recommend you to do a little bit of the Immerse yourself in the art world, even if it seems a bit strange or aloof to you.

Don't worry, you will find that Art can enrich your life a lot

But beware! Art can be addicting

Is it the same with you? Find out and try the next steps.

Step 2: Take a conscious look at a work of art every day

What is triggered in you happens only to you. It is one totally subjective experience.You experience everything with your senses, especially with your eyes.

The eye, well, actually your brain, gets used to structures quickly. What you see often and repeat itself can soon become boring for you. So that you get to know your preferences, it brings a lot, ie "pull in" a lot of pictures

The good side effect: At the same time, you can find out what's out there.

You will notice that your personal taste in art changes over time and experience. It is a little like enjoying coffee, cheese or chocolate: first you start out soft or sweet, later you like it tart and more pronounced.

We humans get used to new habits well, but only if we have been doing it for 4 weeks do it regularly. That's why I give you a very specific task:

Take a conscious look at a new work of art every day for 30 days

You can do this by looking in an art book or looking at photos on the Internet. But in real life, every picture and every sculpture looks best.

You can find display objects in many places.

You can visit exhibitions in museums and galleries in a very classic way.

Some artists exhibit their works in restaurants and cafés and pubs, doctor's offices, law firms and university clinics.

You come across paintings on the wall of friends, in universities and especially often in banks. The reason for this is that many banks invest in art and then hang everything in their offices and branches. In Leipzig, for example, there is the Sparkasse's art gallery, which even offers guided tours.

You can also find a lot of art on the street. Banksy's street art is legendary, and you can now find it on posters and T-shirts. Banksy has become world famous with it.

Almost nobody knows their real identity, they are still anonymous to this day.

Consider consciously: how does it work?

  • You grasp with your senses what is happening between the picture and you.
  • Do you feel something Are you attracted to it or not?
  • You think about why you feel exactly that.

Your experiences, your view of the world let you perceive the work in a very special way. If you find a picture boring, then it doesn't appeal to you. That's perfectly normal and okay.

Look closely and listen inside yourself: Good works make you feel something, and that doesn't necessarily have to be positive.

Is it because of the colors, lines? Is there something missing or is there too much going on? Do you recognize a deep beauty or do you see something repulsive? Are memories awakened in you, of a person or something that you have already experienced?

Every good picture has one Entry point that the artist consciously set. A small imperfection that magically pulls you into the picture.Try actively to find this position in some works.You look at at least one every day now.

Get an art notebook

Get a little book and write down all the works of art that you see from now on. You could dedicate a page to each work of art, maybe two. So you keep track of things.

How about these bullet points? You can shorten, expand or adapt them as you wish.

  • date
  • place
  • Work of art: title / medium / format / year of creation / artist

These questions will help you to look at it consciously:

  • What do I see?
  • What do I particularly notice about it?
  • What technique was used?
  • What colors can be seen?
  • How is the picture structure?
  • Do I see an entry point of imperfection?
  • What am i feeling
  • What thoughts do I have about it?
  • Is it magical to me?

What others say about art

Background information about the pictures is always valuable. But don't let art critics, museums, or galleries give you an opinion. There is no right or wrong, beautiful or ugly.

Your own ideas, feelings and connections to the picture are most important. So decide for yourself which works you would like to experience longer and more intensely.

The historical classification of the artist and the knowledge of how the picture was created will help you to decipher art. But even if you don't know the time, culture, place and the history of its origins, the image can speak to you today.

What does this method do for you?

A work of art every day, that seems to be time-consuming to you and you will never be able to see everything. Your views will evolve and change over the years, just like you as a person.

In return, this new beautiful habit gives you a lot of thought-provoking stimuli and a different view of things. Looking at art makes you think again and again about the world and yourself.

This is how you recognize the right work of art for you

You have found your favorite work of art if you want to look at it again and again and it is better every time.

Step 3: Attend a vernissage next week

At an exhibition opening, you get to know the actors in the art market. The gallery owner will be there, maybe also the curator who put the exhibition together and the artists. And of course many guests interested in art.

Some vernissages are only accessible by personal invitation. The exhibition afterwards is mostly public. To be invited, vitamin B often helps:

  • You are friends with the artist or gallery owner.
  • You are a celebrity in your place, e.g. politician, artist or entrepreneur.
  • You're from the press.
  • You are a regular customer of the gallery.

Fortunately, there are also many public vernissages.You can find dates in the local newspaper or in city magazines. For Leipzig these are the LVZ, the cruiser or Ahoi. As an extra overview there is “Art in Leipzig” and the “Art Index” with all important dates.

This is how the vernissage is more fun:

  • Take friends or acquaintances with you, so you can discuss the exhibition together.
  • Don't worry too much about your clothes. Just wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
  • You don't have to bring a present. But don't forget your glasses in case you need them.

The classic way of doing it goes something like this:

  • Standing reception (usually with a glass of sparkling wine, maybe also champagne)
  • Laudation (the gallery owner or a speaker praises the exhibition and the artists)
  • Sometimes there is an artist talk, live music, a reading or a performance
  • Viewing and discussing art
  • to round it off, drinks and snacks

But do not rely on this process and under no circumstances go hungry. You should also have some money with you, because the drinks are not always available for free. A good bar makes up for it.

Especially in smaller galleries or exhibitions in unusual locations, you can sometimes expect something really crazy. Just today I received an invitation to a vernissage in Leipzig. The flyer said: With massage and haircuts. I don't think that means a particularly hairy variant of cuts, but actually an artful hairstyle for the brave.

The best thing about an opening is: You can calmly watch how other people approach the matter and talk to them about the works of art

  • Think what you want about the pictures.
  • Ask, ask, ask.
  • If the exhibition appeals to you and moves you, please tell the artist, he will definitely be happy.

Which you should rather not do

  • Please be considerate and do not tear up the works towards the artist, because he has put his heart and soul and a lot of work into it.
  • Loud gossip or laughter would be very rude. If necessary, save this for later if none of the organizers hears it.
  • If you don't like the pieces at all, ask yourself: Why is that?They are a mirror to you. It's like telling about your problems and only the picture is listening. Maybe there is an interesting insight for you behind it. It may even be that this is exactly what the artist wanted, who knows?

If you don't like the exhibition at all, you can just go and do something else nice.

Step 4: Go on a university tour

Is there an art school near you? Art universities usually exhibit their students' work once or twice a year.

There are a lot of advantages for you:

  • The chance to see a lot of pictures at once in real life, so your notebook will fill up quickly.
  • The chance to see new currents and directions. Who knows, maybe even the star of tomorrow's art scene will be there.
  • The chance to talk directly to artists.
  • The chance for a low price if you want to buy a work. Many of the students are at the very beginning of their careers and do not yet have a gallery to work with.
  • The chance for good entertainment, because the university is transformed into a large, lively exhibition space, mostly with music, drinks and performances.

In Leipzig, the University of Graphic Arts and Book Art briefly shows HGB, often diploma and master craftsman exhibitions. In addition, Burg Giebichenstein, the art college in Halle an der Saale, invites students to an annual exhibition.

Step 5: read three books on art

This tip is great for anyone who enjoys reading. If you're not a book fanatic, just skip and try the next step with the cinema films.

But you're missing out, because books are a great way to get some deeper insight. For this task I present 5 suitable books. I have specially selected some that do not come across too much in technical jargon or as a scientific work, but are written in an understandable language.

You don't necessarily have to buy them. I found all of the suggested books - and many more - in the Leipzig City Library. Check your local library to see if you can find suitable literature. You will probably find many books on individual art movements as well as exciting artist biographies.

“Understanding painting” by Norbert Wolf

This book takes a different route. Here, works of art are not explained to us on the basis of the epochs, but the author introduces techniques, materials, colors and image structure. He describes everything very clearly with well-known examples. A good preparation for your personal art review.

“What does art want?”, By Stehen T. Kittls and Christian Sahrendt

The authors give an interesting insight into all important art eras. It's always about the question of what art wanted to achieve, how free the artists were and how they were sometimes dependent on their clients. The fact is: art has fascinated and moved people through the ages. The book is written very clearly.

For those who like it entertaining and want an insight into the art market: The two authors also wrote:

  • "I can do that too"
  • "That tells me something"

"Art for Dummies", by Thomas Hoving

The well-known "... for Dummies" series has taken on the visual arts. The book was written by Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, who likes to get people excited about art.

It presents important works of art from the epochs and provides interesting background information. He also has practical tips for visiting museums. As usual in the series, the text is very loose and easy to understand. Above all, it conveys fun in art.

"Mythos Art", by Michael W. Driesch (Ed.)

Different authors deal with the questions:

  • Why is that art?
  • When is someone considered an artist?
  • What do we learn from counterfeit art?

The book tries to explain how the art market works and how the sometimes absurd prices arise. Art forger scandals are reported and the question of whether a work of art only receives its value from its creator is investigated.

People in the art scene discuss the definition of art and artist.

“Art in the 20th Century - a crash course”, by Jochen Poetter

If you want to understand the developments in modern art, this book will help you. The author shows with many examples, illustrations and with a lot of stories how the art movements have developed in the last century.

In 1922, the Surrealists tried to sleep as much as possible because they wanted access to their dreams in order to transform them into pictures and sculptures. They experimented with hypnosis and many mind-expanding agents.

Step 6: watch movies about art

There are some good films about art and artists. I will briefly introduce three of them here:

Loving Vincent (2017), directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman

The production of the film alone was a masterpiece. The scenes were first played by actors and then painted in oil by 125 artists from around the world. 65,000 individual images were created in the style of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. These were then photographed. This creates a wonderful illusion of moving images for the viewer.

The story of the film is also moving. As in a detective play, a postman follows Vincent Van Gogh for the last months of his life to find out why he killed himself.

Beltracchi - The Art of Forgery, directed by Arne Birkenstock (2014)

The material is ideal for a feature film, but the protagonists rejected the planned film project. This documentary was then made.

Wolfgang Beltracchi is a very talented art forger who knows how to imitate the very own style - he calls it the handwriting - of famous artists.

Together with his wife Helene and other helpers, they brought counterfeits into circulation and upset the art market.Quite interesting is the fact that the market also wanted to be cheated because enough players made good money in the process.

Who has got a taste for it: In the documentary series “Der Meisterfälscher” Wolfgang Beltracchi portrays celebrities in the style of old and modern masters, including Harald Schmidt and Christoph Waltz.

Frida, 2002, directed by Julie Taymore

The Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who only became famous worldwide after her death, is played energetically by Selma Hayek. She lets us empathize with and experience the life story of Frida. In the film, the artist's visual worlds suddenly come to life.

Your biography contains all the ingredients for a rapid love and life story:

It all started with a serious accident, followed by ups and downs with her husband Diego Rivera, well-known painter and faithless womanizer, garnished with affairs with famous men and women and, last but not least, her political stance.

Step 7: Find 5 local galleries that suit you

Online galleries are a dime a dozen. The Catawiki marketplace, for example, has established itself, but you can even buy art on Ebay.

The advantages

  • You have an almost infinite choice.
  • You can view all the pictures comfortably at home
  • Comparing prices is easy.

The disadvantages

  • You have an almost infinite choice.
  • You don't see the work in real life, a photo can hardly give you the actual impression.
  • Asking questions is difficult.
  • Most importantly, it's only half the fun.

So my advice is: Find a local gallery that you feel comfortable in.It should fit your budget, exhibit works that you like and be close to you. But you can also discover great art galleries while traveling.

In this blog article, I'll give you more tips on how to find the right art gallery.

Find suitable galleries for you

You can Ask friends and acquaintances and research in the city magazine or in the local newspaper which galleries in your city are suitable for you.

Searching online is easiest:

A good starting point are overview pages that list the city's galleries. You click through and mark your favorites. Admittedly, some of the galleries' websites are difficult to look through, and I often find it that way.

In that case you can use the following 2 options, to save time:

  1. Call and ask specifically what you would like to know in advance, e.g. B. in which price range the exhibited pictures are and which style to show, so that you do not go there for free.
  2. Or just keep looking. Of course, with this method you will miss one or the other stroke of luck. But your time is precious. I call that the courage to leave the gap.

You can make a list in which you write down the interesting galleries and the most important facts. Pick 5 galleries you'd like to visit.

  • Do you want to invest in investments? Choose a gallery with a reputation.
  • Do you want food for your soul? Make sure that the works move you.

Step 8: Visit at least 3 galleries

Now it's getting really practical.

You picked 5 suitable galleries, yes. Then go ahead, go in at least 3 of them.

Don't worry, art doesn't usually bite. Just go in, say hello and take a look around. If you don't understand something, ask.

Goal of the exercise: You get a feel for the direction and the valueswho represents the gallery.

In addition to the price range and selection, the soft factors are also important:

  • Do you feel good?
  • Do you like the gallery owner?
  • How are your questions responded to?
  • Are there any extra services such as delivery or frame service?
  • Can you try a picture in your home?

Step 9: Ask As Much As You Can.

Do you particularly like an art movement, a certain technique, art from a certain country or an artist? Wonderful, you can find your own direction.

Try to learn as much as you can about it:

  • Read books and magazine articles.
  • Search the internet for information.
  • Visit the galleries that exhibit this species.
  • Look at as many paintings in this direction as possible in real life.

The gallery owner or artist will be more than happy to give you more information. The following applies to gallery visits as well as to visits directly to the artist in the studio:

  • Don't be shy.
  • Ask anything you want to know.

Every artist is different. Some like to talk about their work, others don't. The artist will surely be happy if you find his work impressive. Not every artist will explain their work to you.You decide what you see.

Ask the work of art what attracts you to it. Sure, basically you ask yourself. If the picture gives you something and becomes more interesting and bigger from day to day, then it suits you wonderfully.

It will inspire you and let your thoughts fly.

Here you will find background information and tips on how to care for your work of art. If you still need a suitable frame, you've come to the right place or you can get in touch with a good frame builder. If the artist is not there, the gallery owner can tell you something about him.

Dare to do it, and ask for a discount in a charming and friendly manner.Sometimes there is this option. Especially if you buy several works together or have bought something in the gallery several times, up to 10% can be included.

If you don't succeed with this, please don't be too hard on negotiating.

Remember that artists and gallery owners have worked a lot for it and have to earn a living. If the piece of desire has cast a spell on you and it is unique, you won't get it cheaper find on the internet.

Step 10: does everything fit? Then buy your work of art

The time has come, you've discovered a piece of art that makes your heart beat faster. It fits your budget and you want it. Then go ahead, you are ready to buy art for your first time:

Now it's time to clarify the terms. Sometimes the picture remains in the exhibition until it is over. If you want to reserve it for yourself, you still have to pay it in advance, at least a deposit is usual.

You will receive an invoice with all the information about the work of art. This is also your proof.

Some of my customers want a certificate of authenticity, then I also issue it. But this is not absolutely necessary, because with the invoice you have all the important information. In online trading, attempts are often made to generate trust through certificates. Remember that every gallery can print and stamp a certificate.

The pay takes place quite normally, as in the store. You can usually pay in cash or with an EC card, or you will receive an invoice and can transfer the amount.

If you've chosen a large painting or sculpture, you can usually have it delivered to you. Additional costs are often incurred here because fragile art has to be for the transport well packaged and insured. The gallery will be happy to organize this for you.

For me, for example, delivery within Leipzig is included in the service. A good solution has always been found for all other locations.

Hang up or stand up

Now comes the best part: You probably already have a good place in mind for your new work of art. For final positioning, it is advisable to try out what it looks and feels like. Here you will find three good tips from an interior designer to really bring out the art.

Some galleries even help you hang up or find a good craftsman - I've already installed a few pictures in Leipzig. When your new work of art has found its place in your home or office - congratulations!

Have a lot of fun with it :)

Done. It's not that hard, is it?

In any case, you don't need years of study to get really interested in art.

Look around, look at all the great works of art and enjoy how they affect you.

If a work has captivated you, just find out as much as you can about it. With these steps you will very soon be able to have a say about art - if you want to.

If you want to buy something, follow the basic rule:

Only buy what moves you and what you really like.

I hope my 10 tips for buying art helped you

Feel free to write to me in the comments:

  • How are your experiences with the art world?
  • Do the tips help you?
  • Do you have any questions about buying art?

Kind regards from Leipzig,

Your Susanne Höhne

from the Marsupial Art Gallery

You might also be interested in that

Find an art gallery that suits you in 5 steps

How to find an art gallery in your city that suits you and your wishes in 5 easy steps.

Read more ...