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Gallery, online purchase, auction or art dealer: where to buy an artwork?

It is possible to acquire a work of art on the art market in France or abroad.
The art market brings together all players in the art trade: artists, dealers, antique dealers, galleries, brokers, collectors and amateurs. Online shopping for art has become more democratic in recent years.
Acquiring a work of art makes it possible to satisfy an aesthetic need, to invest in an original way or simply to demonstrate our love of art. Galleries, auctions, internet: where to buy a work of art?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different purchasing channels? Follow our guide to buying a work of art.




  1. Contemporary art accessible to all
  2. How to find the rare pearl
  3. Buy a work of art in a gallery
  4. Buy a work of art online
  5. Buy a work of art through an art dealer
  6. Buy a work of art at auction


Contemporary art accessible to all

Contemporary works of art come in different forms: painting, sculpture, photography, lithography, etc.
Thanks to contemporary art galleries, the general public now has access to art in all its forms at reasonable prices. Contemporary art exhibitions take place across France to make art accessible to as many people as possible.

How to find the rare pearl

To find the work you want, you need to be on the lookout for news from sites dedicated to buying and selling art.
Electronic commerce is experiencing unprecedented growth in the art market. You can now enjoy a global view of the art offering in France and abroad without visiting the many galleries, fairs and auctions in person.

Buy an artwork art in a gallery

The advantage of buying an artwork in a gallery is that it will be easier for you to fall in love with a work and time to think about your purchase. The pleasure of seeking, discovering, hesitating and interacting with artists is part of the game.
To do this, first select the art galleries near you that offer interesting artworks. Be aware that the gallery takes a margin for the sale of an atwork.
It is an important intermediary between the artist and yourself. Without the gallery, you probably would never have heard of the artist you are interested in.
buy art in a contemporary art gallery
purchase of art in artists' square gallery

Buy an artwork online

Before buying an artwork online, it's important to prepare for your purchase.
Online shopping for art has become more democratic in recent years. Various means of purchase are available to art lovers and collectors for fun or investment: auctions, online art galleries or direct purchase from the artist. Here are some tips to guide you through your purchase:

The selling price of an artwork

Depending on the price set, it is important to find out about the artist who caught your eye.
Is this a famous or emerging artist? What is its fame or its potential?
In addition, you will also need to have information on the possible selection made by the site and the authenticity of an artwork.

Description of an artwork

The description of the work of art must be clear, precise and accompanied by photos of good definition. The work must be in good condition unless otherwise stated. In this case, the site must clearly indicate any shortcomings or defects in the work.

Additional costs to be expected

Additional costs are generally added to the selling price of an artwork when you buy online (costs of preparing the package, transport, etc.). Remember to factor them into your budget.

Delivery and right of withdrawal

It is essential to take the time to read the general conditions of sale of the site. In particular, you will find legal information on the obligations and duties of the seller and the buyer.
The modalities of litigation are also a point which requires your attention.
The delivery of an artworks usually done within 30 days. You have 14 days from receipt of your purchase to return the artwork for a refund.

Buy a work of art through an art dealer

The art dealer or art broker is an intermediary between the artist and the buyer. This expert helps the art collector find a relevant an artwork by researching the national and international market.
It is the art dealer who contacts the sellers and negotiates the best price with them. They can also advise you on choosing original artworks to suit your budget or whether you want to build a relevant and valuable collection.
The art dealer plays an important role in mediating between the artist and his partners: galleries, museums, collectors and individual buyers.
Its function facilitates the sale of works of art and contributes to the development of the artist's career.

Buy a work of art at auction


There are several types of art auctions in France and abroad.
Online auctions are governed by law and divided into two categories: public auctions and auction brokerage.

Public auctions

During public auctions, the site organizes the entire sale of works of art.
He is appointed by the owner of an artwork.
The artworks goes to the highest bidder.

Auction brokerage

In this case, the site connects the owner of the artwork with interested parties. He does not participate in all transactions.
To sell his artworks, the artist must access the online platform to submit his offer: detailed advertisement with initial price, description and photograph. It is also the artist who sets the terms of the sale (duration and terms of the auction).
These auctions are open to the general public.

Before buying a work of art at auction

There are different ways to acquire artwork at auction. Depending on what you are looking for and your budget, you can access catalog sales or regular sales. In this case, the works for sale are not described.
It is up to the buyer to determine whether the work in question is interesting and offers good value for money.
You must come in person to learn more about the work that interests you. It is important to collect all the useful information before purchasing.

Find out about the market price


Thanks to the development of online art auctions, there are now many platforms that show the odds of the art market.
It’s worth checking out these quotes before buying an artwork to help establish your budget.

How to bid for an artwork?

Depending on the artwork you are interested in, there are different ways to participate in the auction. If you are unable to personally visit the point of sale, you can delegate your purchasing authority to a broker.
This auction expert can help you get your artwork at an attractive price for a commission.
Another possibility is to send your buy order directly to the auction house without any intermediary. Once you have specified your offer to the auctioneer, the latter takes it into account during the auction.
If you win the auction, you are contacted by the auction manager after the auction.
If you win the auction Payment terms for a work of art vary from auction room to auction room.

Depending on the case, you can pay either in cash, by credit card or by check.
The artwork will not be delivered to you until payment has been made. Note that the delivery of an item purchased at auction is a chargeable service that is not included in the sale price.


Keep the purchase slip in a safe place

With the purchase of an artwork, you receive a slip which constitutes the minutes of the sale.
It shows your name, the description of the work of art, the lot number (cataloged sale), the total price, etc.
Keep this slip, which is both a certificate of ownership and of the authenticity of the work.


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