Marcus Ashley’s Guide to Buying Original Art Online

person buying art online on a laptop

Whether you’ve envisioned an ideal piece of original artwork for your living space or you’re not even sure how to start looking for one, there’s a lot you need to know about buying original art online. The world of art collecting is vast and fraught with pitfalls, but with this guide, it doesn’t have to be complicated. 

Our knowledgeable art consultants have decades of experience finding and displaying original artwork for homes and collections around the world. 

This Marcus Ashley Gallery guide is here for you as a resource, providing guidance as a learning tool and great checklist to ensure you have all of the essential information for buying art online.

1: Determine Your Artwork’s Authenticity

If you’ve been on the internet for any period of time, you should know that just because something claims to be true doesn’t mean it really is (or that it’s legally obligated to be). It serves that the primary concern most collectors have when buying original art online is determining its authenticity.

The internet is far more regulated nowadays than it once was. There are ways to ensure your artwork is an authentic original without having to see it in person. Here’s how:

  • Require a Certificate of Authenticity (CoA) AND a Certificate of Replacement Value. A CoA will verify the legitimacy of the artwork. In some states, these are required by law. A Certificate of Replacement Value will ensure its worth for insurance purposes, further legitimizing the artwork. 
  • Require an artist signature. If your artwork is unsigned, an appraiser cannot begin to validate it. Without a verifiable signature, it could be as worthless as a poster.
  • Look for free returns. A dealer who can guarantee authenticity should also guarantee free returns in case of dissatisfaction. 
  • If possible, consider a private showing. If you want to learn how to buy and where to buy original art online, you are likely not close enough to the artwork for this to be an option. Just know that a private home viewing is a likely possibility if you live close enough to the seller in question.
    • Note that if you are not local, our art consultants can meet with you virtually via a video call. We will look over artwork together on this call, offer our insights on what we would recommend, and also help you select your custom framing.

2: Hire an Art Consultant

This may seem like a daunting amount of research for a beginning collector, especially if you have limited prior knowledge or experience buying original art online.

That’s where an art consultant comes in. A consultant will have the expertise and knowledge you need to make educated decisions regarding sourcing artwork, procuring it, acquiring insurance policies, and more. Perhaps most importantly, they will have the historical and technical knowledge regarding fine artwork that will allow you to verify the worth and authenticity of artwork beyond its intrinsic value. 

Any experienced collector will proclaim the importance of a skilled, experienced art consultant. If you’re in doubt when learning how to buy and where to buy original art online, trust the professionals whose job it is to make these decisions.

3: Perform the Necessary Due Diligence, and Be Skeptical of Low Prices

Scams exist. Forgeries exist. It’s an unfortunate truth in the art world, and it’s existed for centuries. In the world of online art collecting, these problems multiply. While the fault of selling fake originals ultimately comes down to the seller, buyers do have a certain legal and personal responsibility to protect themselves. Don’t neglect to perform due diligence and consult experts when learning how to buy art online. 

Furthermore, fine art is valuable, and not just for its aesthetic appearance. You’re paying for the skill and expertise of the artist, the often dozens of hours of labor they put into the work, and their own creative mind, which is irreplaceable and invaluable. Hence, if the price of original art online is too good to be true, it probably is, unless you find a seller who is totally unaware of the value of their piece. Always have a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to low online prices. 

4: Find a Seller and/or Gallery with a Longstanding Reputation

Image of a gallery wall at Marcus Ashley Gallery in South Lake Tahoe

As with making any purchase online, a key technique for buying original art online is to look at the reputation and experience of the seller via third-party accounts. Look for unbiased reviewers on sites like Yelp or their Google page. 

Your best bet is purchasing art from a gallery that has been trusted by professionals and collectors for decades, such as Marcus Ashley Gallery. With a long-standing reputation as a trusted destination for fine art, you can trust our online gallery for premier service and consultation.

Buying original art online is simple with the help of the knowledgeable staff at our gallery. Contact us with any questions. We’re here to help!