Some Tips for Buying Art on Ebay

By: Edgeworth Johnstone | Posted: 17th August 2011

How to buy a painting that doesn't cost a fortune and isn't commercial. Where do you go?
Art Galleries? Most art galleries show mainly commercial style art, and tend to charge a lot for original work.
A shop offering art prints? You're only getting a print, and again, it tends to be the commercial stuff: Abstract expressionism designed to colour co-ordinate with your bedroom. Cityscape photography. A photo-realism close-up of a cows face, that on close inspection you can appreciate is an incredibly skilled oil painting. Sea-scape watercolours. Rock star portraits.
But if you're looking for something different and affordable, I recommend looking at Ebay.
As with anything on Ebay, it's flooded, but from the comfort of your desk, with a little perseverance, you can find hundreds of artists offering all kinds of original artwork, often for less than what you would pay on the high street for a print. Ebay doesn't tend to have the inflated price of some art galleries, and has a huge range of work.

Some things to bear in mind when buying art on Ebay:
1. Check the sellers feedback rating. The higher the number, the better.
2. Check how much they are charging for postage.
3. Check if they are selling from your country, or abroad, and how long it will take to arrive.
4. Check how they will package and send the work. Will the painting be taken off its stretcher bars, and sent rolled up in a tube? Re-stretching it yourself can be a nuisance, costly, and has added potential for damage to occur to the painting.
5. Read the description carefully.
6. Appreciate that the photograph of the painting, is only a photo. Even if the seller has tried their hardest to make the photograph as realistic as possible, colours and tones may differ on your computer screen, to what they actually are. Computers monitor settings, camera settings, etc all differ. I often spend over 10 minutes digitally adjusting photographs of my paintings, to try to make them look as realistic as possible. But I can't control other peoples monitor settings, and it's not possible to get it looking exactly right. You should expect the photograph to be reasonably accurate, but it's still something to bear in mind.
7. Shop around. If you see a painting you like, add it to your "watch list" and look for some others. One of the advantages of Ebay is the massive amount of choice, so you might as well use it.
8. Don't be afraid to ask the seller questions. I sell my art work on Ebay, and like getting questions, because it lets me know what I haven't made clear in the listing.

I'm an expressionist painter, and used to think the way to sell work was to put on as many gallery exhibitions as I could. So I did, and sold some work. But at the same time I also put work on Ebay. After deducting all the costs of putting on the gallery exhibitions, Ebay was more profitable, and with so much less hassle. My work isn't commercial, and isn't in-line with today's trends in the art market. It's art for a niche market. This is the kind of art, I think is great for places like Ebay. I hope you enjoy searching Ebay for affordable original paintings, or any kind of art, whatever your taste. There's something for everyone.
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Tags: colours, computer screen, perseverance, paintings, photograph, ebay, oil painting, cows, rock star, stretcher bars, art prints, art galleries, camera settings, buying art