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An image of a private view event at the Zimmer Stewart Gallery

Art Buyers Guide

There are many reasons people buy contemporary art, here are a few:


  • To decorate a home or office

  • To build a collection, feed a passion

  • To celebrate a special occasion - such as an anniversary, wedding, birthday or retirement

  • To support an artist or gallery


Whether you love a piece or not may depend on a gut reaction, it's comparison to other pieces you already own or merely that "it goes with the sofa" - All are valid reasons in our book.


We believe that each piece of contemporary art we sell should stand up on its own. That is not to say that the artist is unimportant; it is his/her training and experience, which enabled him/her to create the work in the first place.


If you do love a piece, you should buy it there and then to avoid later disappointment. We do not suggest that an art purchase should take precedence over other things, but if you come back later, your first choice may be gone.


Finally, and most importantly, there is no requirement for you to do anything but look and enjoy the work here at the gallery. Artists want their work to be seen by as many people as possible, and we love showing it!

Factors to Consider


  • Visit a few galleries, talk to staff and try to find out some information on the artist.

  • Use the internet, read publications - find out about artists, art movements and mediums.

  • Galleries normally have a price list on display, if not ask to see one.

  • Set yourself a budget, this will help you select work to choose from.

  • Check to see that the price displayed is the price you pay - does it include VAT/delivery?

  • Buying for investment can be risky, research the market fully or obtain independent advice.

  • When looking at prints, avoid high editions & look for "original prints".

  • Decide how your collection is to develop - do you want many varied pieces, work from just a small number of artists, or just a few distinctive pieces?

  • If you like the artist's style but do not see any individual pieces that you like - ask to see more or to be told about future exhibitions.

  • Practicalities are important - will the piece fit in the space available? Will it hang easily?

  • All artwork should be signed by the artist - sometimes this is on the back. Always retain a dated invoice or receipt which fully describes the work and price paid.

  • Artists are often at the private view for their exhibition, and this is a good opportunity to meet him/her and find out more about their work.

  • Sometimes the gallery will be able to arrange for you to meet the artist at the gallery or at their studio, this can be an interesting way to develop your own thoughts as well as seeing further works in progress.

  • It is not all right to go to a gallery, view work and then try to contact the artist directly. Some artists have open studios which are advertised, but many prefer to have their work handled by galleries.

  • Pricing work is dependent on a few factors - the artists experience, the size of the piece, the materials used, time spent creating it - there is also a subjective element as well (two similar works may have different prices depending on how pleased the artist is with one more than the other).

Art Buyer's Guide: Welcome
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