Before the advent of the internet, collectors only had one real way to purchase new artwork. They’d have to familiarize themselves with local artists and galleries, learn from other collectors, read a handful of books or magazines on the industry, browse as many pieces of artwork as possible, develop a budget that took things like buyer’s premiums into account, and then go out and make a purchase — either through a dealer or gallery. But that’s no longer the only way to become an art collector.
Today, it’s possible to begin your artwork collection without leaving your living room. The internet has made it easier than ever to do research, search for art, and make purchases. And with more artists than ever selling artwork themselves; galleries, brokers, dealers and auction houses are often taking a backseat.
But many collectors are left wondering, “Does it make sense to bypass the traditional methods of purchasing art? Are there drawbacks to buying direct from artists?”
Like anything, buying direct has pros and cons. But in this case, the benefits far outweigh any downsides. In fact, the only one who really loses out when collectors buy directly from artists are intermediaries.
So, why should you consider buying art direct? Here are three great reasons…
Buying Art Direct Leaves Artists with More of Their Profit
When you find an artist that you really love, you’ll want to support them. After all, that’s the only way that they’ll be able to continue to make great art. But some collectors don’t realize just how much of the money they pay for great artwork goes to the galleries, brokers and dealers that market it instead of the artists who make it. On average, galleries take 50% of every purchase made through them. And this fact is made even more disheartening when you realize that most artists sell less than $14,000 per year in artwork. It’s surprising that any art gets made it all when you consider those numbers.
But the internet has made it possible for artists to make an actual living with their artwork. And this isn’t just good news for artists. It’s good news for people who love art since it enables artists to spend more of their time doing what both artists and collectors love: art.
Buying Art Direct Puts Money in Artists’ Pockets Now Rather than Later
Another secret that few collectors realize about artists is that most galleries consign artwork. This means that artists don’t get paid until the gallery sells it. And with limited space on the walls, galleries can leave some pieces of art in storage for weeks or even months at a time. This keeps potential buyers from seeing it and forces artists to survive for longer stints without the possibility of payment.
On the other hand, when you purchase a piece of art directly from the artist, you’re putting money in their pocket today — and enabling them to begin work on their next great masterpiece immediately.
Buying Art Direct Empowers Artists to Reach a Larger Audience
It’s not uncommon for intermediaries to demand that artists sign an exclusivity agreement with them. This forces artists into a very narrow position. For example, it’s a position that’s made even worse for an artist when a gallery, broker or dealer chooses to promote other artists over them. This is one of the worst parts about buying exclusively through intermediaries, it perpetuates a cycle that keeps artists dependent on the whims of these uncaring intermediaries.
But when you buy art direct, you’re empowering artists to keep more of their hard-earned money and to broaden their market of potential buyers. In short, you’re helping artists continue to create the art that you love.
So, if you’ve never purchased artwork directly from an artist, maybe now’s the time to start. It’s a great way to get quality artwork at a reasonable price while better supporting the artists that you love.