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Purchasing art from private dealers and art galleries

The Great Artist-Gallery Debate

Find a reputable and knowledgeable art dealer. As anyone familiar with art can tell you, you can find art anywhere, from the door of your refrigerator to walls in the Louvre.  And art galleries can pop up like mushrooms overnight only to shrivel the next day.  So how does one find good art, art that defines a trend, or is not trendy; art that is substantive, durable, and worthwhile; art that you like and enjoy and want in your home?

It begins with education.  And this site can help.

The dealers on this site are scholars, curators, exhibitors, and publishers of fine art catalogues.  They have developed relationships with artists, other dealers, and collectors of art.  They are knowledgeable about art history, art restoration, and appraisal.  They know the aesthetic, historical, and economic merit of the works they show and can guide clients who wish to build collections.  Their ideas are rooted in the knowledge of tradition, canon, established genre, research, and scholarship.  They have experience developing artists, identifying master works, and establishing fair market value for works of art.

Dealers may operate privately from their home or office or run art galleries. They may be members of art dealer associations, may have websites, or install exhibitions at national and international art fairs. 

This website can help you find both promising and established art dealers. It can help you find the best of each dealer’s inventory.

Visit association, dealer, and gallery websites. The individual dealer’s website  is preferable to large art sites because mega sites list thousands of dealers and are generally designed in a "one shoe fits all" manner. Individual dealers’ sites allow you learn about the focus and speciality of a specific dealer.

Many dealers install exhibitions in their galleries and take booths at national, international and world internet art fairs. Some dealers maintain their websites and only show their wares at these fairs. The art fair is an excellent source for learning and it is a place where one is guaranteed that the best of each dealer’s inventory is being shown.

A good gallery spends considerable time looking for good art and exercising critical judgement as to what to show. Visit the galleries of your choice. Get on a gallery email list to receive announcements about shows and invitations to openings. Galleries display works where a client can examine them frequently and without embarrassment if he/she should decide not to buy. This avoids a difficulty often felt when a client goes directly to an artist. A gallery vouches for the condition of works and guarantees their authenticity. This differs from the situation when one buys at auction. By means of its contacts a gallery can have access to art that is available elsewhere. A gallery can evaluate prices, make estimates and assess values better because it is closer to the market. 

Let us know how you feel about this article and your good/bad dealings with galleries