How to Buy Art Online

How to Buy Art Online - 701gallery

The rise of buying art online has democratized the art world by allowing anyone to purchase artwork and giving more artists the opportunity to showcase their work. 

While thankfully we have more access than ever before, it can be daunting to know where to start if it's your first time purchasing original artwork. 

That's why we've put together a couple of tips to help guide you in your online art-buying journey.

Know the art terms 

Original: Artwork that is considered to be an authentic example of the artist's work, not a reproduction or imitation. While typically the term 'original' is used to refer to one-of-a-kind artworks, 'original' is not limited to unique artworks and can be used to describe limited-edition prints as well. An original artwork should be signed by the artist or come with a COA.

Limited-Edition Print: A reproduction of an artist’s original painting. Mostly printed using specialized inkjet printers on canvas or premium grade paper.  A limited-edition print means only a certain number of those prints exist. The number should be specified and every print within an edition should be the exact same. As mentioned above, limited-edition prints are considered original artworks and are either signed by the artist or come with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity).

Open-Edition Print: A reproduction of an artist’s original painting. Mostly printed using specialized inkjet printers on canvas or premium grade paper. The difference with an open-edition print is there are no specific edition sizes, meaning there could be thousands of the same print. An open-edition print is typically not signed by the artist nor does it come with a COA, and they are less valuable than a limited-edition print.

Reproduction: A copy or replica of an original work. Typically when a professional artist creates a copy of another artist's existing work.

Medium: A medium refers to the materials that are used to create the piece.

Surface: The surface is the material a painting is painted on. The most popular surfaces include canvas, paper, cardboard and panel. 



If you have a limited price range or budget in mind then consider looking more closely at works on paper or prints as they are typically more affordable.

Keep in mind though that works on paper and prints require framing which is an additional cost, unless stated otherwise. You can always contact your local framing shop and ask for an idea of starting costs based on the size of the artwork. 

Shipping is another additional cost to be aware of and can vary with the size of the artwork. The larger the artwork, the more expensive it is to ship, as it often requires different materials, methods and extra care.

A good budget-friendly option is to create a gallery wall with a mix of smaller, original artworks, photographs and even ceramic plates.

Find an artwork you love

This one might sound obvious but a lot of the time people will go into their art search with an exact space or spot in mind, we suggest to look for an artwork that you really love instead.

If you really love a piece, you will find a spot for it and it will bring you a lot more joy and better reflect you. It should be a meaningful purchase and something you can speak to when someone asks about it.


All original artwork should either be signed by the artist or come with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity). This should be noted in the description or details of the artwork. 

Shipping and framing

There are many different ways to ship an artwork. Don't be afraid to ask the gallery or platform how exactly the artwork will be packaged and shipped. 

Smaller or medium sized artworks can typically be shipped in padded mailers or cardboard boxes.

With larger artworks it can be safer and less expensive to have it shipped unrolled and get it stretched at a framing shop.