Fine Art: Learn, Look, and Buy
The list of topics in fine art is as long as the line to see the Mona Lisa. And while at the Louvre you have no choice but to wait, on the Web, you can explore at your own pace, whether you're a beginner or an expert. If you want to learn about art and its history, explore online museums, research galleries, read art magazines, or buy and sell artwork, the Internet has all the resources you need.
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Visit any contemporary art museum or gallery and you'll see that technology has become a part of the artistic process. So it makes sense that your options for buying and selling art are more technologically advanced as well. Some online-only galleries hold solid credentials, possess fine collections, and allow you to view and research works online before you make a purchase. But if fine art is not in your budget, or not something you feel comfortable buying online, you can also find sites that sell prints or works of unknown artists. There are plenty of sites that will help you find art for reasonable prices or, if you're an artist, promote your own work.
- As you probably know, investing in art can be a serious endeavor. For tips on how to approach the market, check out this BusinessWeek article, "The Art of Buying Art".
- Any reputable online art gallery guarantees their artwork and has a fair return policy. Be wary of any site that won't allow you to send back unsatisfactory pieces.
- You can read the "Find a Gallery" section of this guide to determine whether a specific gallery has a Web site or online features.
For online galleries ...
is a well-regarded online art gallery that carries over 40,000 pieces of artwork. If you're new to Internet art purchasing, the site's best feature is a guide
to buying art online. If you're more experienced, you'll benefit from the easy-to-browse site, free membership, and extensive collection.
has two particularly useful features. First, you can select the "Art Galleries" tab at the top of the screen and browse through a directory of galleries categorized alphabetically or by type of gallery. You can also search a directory of online galleries. Once you've found sites you like, join Artbuzzer, the site's art community where you tag sites and share them, or bookmark them and keep them a secret.
is a comprehensive online fine art resource, managed by the Agora Gallery in New York City. You can browse art by medium or use the alphabetized directory of artists' portfolios.
For auction houses ...
may be one of world's best-known auction houses, but there may be things you still want to learn. Whether you want to research the company's history, find out where to pick up your auction paddle, or get an estimated auction value of your current collection, the resources are on the Web site. Also visit the site to check out what's being auctioned in the future.
is another famous auction house. If you can't make it to one of their worldwide locations, you can view the collections and place absentee bids online. If you click the "Sale Categories" tab at the top of the screen you can browse through an alphabetical list of past and current auction items. Don't miss the teddy bear going for $180,000.
provides a list of many other auction houses beyond the two listed above. The site lists auctions houses all over the world in addition to houses that specialize, such as the rare book auction house. You can connect directly to homepages from the site.
is an online auction service that most people are familiar with as a place to sell unwanted furniture or sports tickets, but it's also a site where you can buy art. This link takes you directly to eBay's art page.
For prints and posters ...
sells posters and prints to help you decorate your home at a reasonable price. You can search for a specific kind of décor, or you can select famous artists and look for prints of their popular paintings.
has many of the same features as Art.com, but also features sections on music and entertainment posters. For fine art prints, the site groups paintings by style rather than by artist.
sells primarily fine art posters and prints and has the look of an online art gallery. You can search by artist name, type, or style of artwork.
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