Buying Art Online, Is it Safe?

19th June 2020 2 minutes read

Found a wonderful work of art on an online art gallery, nervous about committing to the purchase? You shouldn’t be. Firstly a little due diligence to check the credentials of the gallery and you should be good to go.

Where are they based? If overseas don’t be worried about shipping, not as expensive as you think, it’s quick with express couriers and most galleries know only too well how to pack safely for shipping. Here at White Court Art we ship free in the UK and all purchases over and above £1500 come with free USA/Canada and EU express courier delivery.

Is a phone number email address readily available?

Are they a registered LLC or Limited company? if so great.

Are they marketing on other online platforms? (1st Dibs , InCollect, Artsper , Wide Walls etc) if so good as they would have been verified there as well. Also note that in many cases you will be able to purchase cheaper direct from the gallery than a third party platform as no additional fees for the gallery would apply.

As a rule if you find a piece of art you like online and you are comfortable with the gallery then you will be really pleased with your purchase as in the flesh it is bound to look so much better than on a PC or mobile device. This is the most frequent feedback we get, very happy clients.

Is the work genuine? If the gallery is representing a particular artist then you can rest assured that the work is genuine and comes to you via the gallery direct from the artist’s studio. For secondary market works (i.e this is not the first time a painting has been sold) again the standing of the gallery is important as they will have also done the necessary leg work and a little due diligence if using a gallery for the first time is again useful. Always get an invoice with a purchase as this will then give you recourse whether purchasing online or at a gallery.

Returns policy? Check that there is one. Most reputable galleries will offer a 14 day return policy, not happy send it back. As long as the painting is returned in the same conditions it was sent then there should be no issue. This actually gives you the opportunity to try the painting at home in the space you have earmarked for it. Returning isn’t onerous as you will have all the necessary packing materials for sending back safely from receipt of the painting. Note: Here at White Court Art over the last 15 years of trading we have only ever had 2 pieces returned to us. Once the client really didn’t like the piece and on the other occasion it was returned on religious grounds. It’s worth noting with this latter return that the client immediately swapped it for another piece by the same artist and later came back for a second work by the same artist.

Happy browsing !

Richard Veal