The Best Places to Buy Art Online
You don’t have to be a Medici or a Microsoft co-founder to buy a masterpiece. These sites offer great art at great prices.
Courtesy Noel Kerns/ArtStar; Frame: Corbis
One of the thrilling things the Internet has given mere mouse-wielding mortals is access to a huge range of affordable art. “The traditional art world may have spent centuries trying to convince us there’s a direct correlation between price and taste,” writes Maria Popova on brainpickings.org, but now the Web is shaking things up. In other words, you don’t have to be a Medici or a Microsoft co-founder to buy a masterpiece. These sites offer great art at great prices.
This site virtually invented the online model of selling limited-edition, budget-friendly works by emerging artists to novice collectors. Look for a new photograph and a new work on paper twice a week, at prices as low as $20.
The idea here is to cut out the middleman and sell work from top artists, both established (like Eric Fischl, Sally Mann, and Chuck Close) and little known, without the gallery markup. “The best art site around, by far,” blurbs Neil Vogel, CEO of the Webby Awards. Prices start at $100.
This site sells everything from Old Master engravings to antique maps and vintage advertising posters. The pages are a bit hard to navigate, but the reward is over 3,000 pieces of art, most under $1,000.
Limited-edition prints and original works by over 30 artists are offered here, and an online tool lets you view your choices hanging in a virtual room ($25 to $250 for prints; $300 and up for original art).
By offering photographs, digital art, and prints in larger-than-average editions of 500, this gallery keeps costs down: Prices are $30 for an eight-by-ten-inch print, $60 for one that’s 11 by 14 inches, and $120 for one that’s 16 by 20 inches, regardless of the work. The site is relatively new, so its stable of artists is small (but growing).
You have to be a member to buy the ready-to-hang, stretched-canvas prints by top contemporary artists (from $100 to $600 or so). The mostly digital prints are often sold in limited-time open editions — that is, whatever is purchased during the online sale period (usually four weeks) determines the number in the edition.
New, limited-edition contemporary art and photography from fresh faces and famed artists alike go for $72 to over $40,000 (prices are in pound sterling).
Any artist can upload his or her work for viewers to buy and vote on, with the most popular work appearing on the home page. No bells or whistles here, just the art and the chance to promote and/or own it, generally for $20 to $60.
All the limited-edition prints here cost under $100, and 15 percent of the proceeds from each sale is donated to a charity of the artist’s choice. A new print is released every week.
The prints sold here — a new one is added every week — are by up-and-comers, and many measure no bigger than a piece of typing paper. Which means, as the owners say, you get to own “[a] piece of artwork for around the same price as a CD, book, or record.” Plus, a percentage of each sale goes to a charity chosen by the artist.
This site sells original drawings, paintings, and photography at prices that start below $250. Its Art Explorer tool lets you click on works you like and then sends you suggestions. An Art 101 section teaches you the basics on everything from how to shop for art to how to frame and hang it.