Purchase Fine Art Online

Purchase Fine Art Online


In a world where you can purchase fine art online in any medium (thanks to the Internet!) you have to be especially careful that you’re getting what you pay for. Online sales in art are becoming increasingly popular, as many in the industry wish to supply to the masses. There are some very good things about this relatively new market, and there are some definite drawbacks that must be considered. On many art auction sites, there is no policing of the art items being sold; no mandatory authentications, and no guarantees.  Many consumers who purchase fine art online, especially the new audiences being targeted, assume that if the artist’s name is visibly there then the item is legitimate. The sad truth is, some people make careers out of forging art, or faking signatures. These people can easily fool an inexperienced or uninformed buyer.

The good news is there are dozens and dozens of reputable sources where one can purchase fine art online. Industry professionals who want to keep the integrity of the art market, and work very hard to have the right experts and appraisers identifying and authenticating the art they represent usually run these online galleries.

Since you can’t always find what you’re looking for at Christie’s or Sotheby’s, here are some helpful tips that can guide you to be confident and knowledgeable when you purchase fine art online:


  • The most dangerous weapon against a forger: research. You can’t research an artist too much. Know everything about the signature; how condensed the letters are, if it slants and which direction, what utensil is usually used, and where on the art it can usually be found.
  • Familiarize yourself with the elements of style. Pay close attention to brush strokes, subjects, characteristic sizes and proportions.
  • Apart from an artist’s individual signature, sometimes dates or symbols and embellishments can be found. If a date is present (and the artist usually dates his/her work) then research it. Try to find out where in the artist’s career the item came about and what styles they were immersed in at the time. Then compare your item with those dated similarly.


There is a lot to consider when you purchase fine art online, especially because you do not have it front of you. If you have any doubts as to the originality of a piece of art, or if the online seller does not offer any good pictures or information on the signature, it is best to let it go or hire a professional. Authentication can be pricey, but most fine art appraisers can offer a good, well-educated opinion as to whether or not a piece of art is truly what it is made out to be. Remember, when you purchase fine art online, research or an expert’s opinion are your best friends.

CONTACT NUGENT APPRAISAL art appraisal experts if you would like to discuss an appraisal need

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