How to Buy Art Online

June 22, 2022

Why Buy Art In The First Place?

For those interested in purchasing art, there are several reasons why someone would want to buy art. Typically, art has always been used for a decorative aspect to help elevate an interior to the liking of the owner or resident. 

Art has, and especially more recently, been seen as a  means of investment. This has led to a massive uptick in art prices and purchasing volume, especially in the last quarter of 2022.  

The first step to buying art is defining your intent. It should be clear as to what is driving your purchase. 

Preparations take place at Christie's ahead of the Prints andMultiples Online Credit: Guy Bell/Alamy Live News
Preparations take place at Christie’s ahead of the Prints and Multiples Online. Credit: Guy Bell/Alamy Live News

For Pleasure

Interior design is not a new-fangled subject or reasoning as to why someone specifically buys art, as it was a trend that began centuries ago. Art has been bought for the sheer pleasure it can evoke. A lot of art buyers will respond to why they purchase art with “it’s because I like it”. 

For Investment

Purchasing art is also not solely to appease an emotional satisfaction but has also been regarded as a sustainable and steady investment. Buying art as an investment is the most common practice with art that falls under the blue-chip variety. Buying art for this intent can be seen in two ways: buying the physical piece of art, or investing in a piece of a larger painting.

 A visitor observes art in galleries. Credit: Alamy
A visitor observes art in galleries. Credit: Alamy

How Do I Buy Art?

After deciding the reasoning for buying art, there are several additional steps that come into buying a piece of art. Whether it be for pleasure or investment these steps apply to both scenarios. 

Do Your Research

It is more important than when looking to buy art that you do your own due diligence and research the reliability of the dealer, gallery, or platform. You want to be absolutely certain that the artwork you are buying is genuine and from a legitimate source. 

Research also comes into play in regards to what in particular you want to purchase, whether it be based on taste, value, or future value. Doing some desk research on an artist or a particular style and movement 

Understanding Your Space 

While searching for your perfect piece to add to the collection online, it’s important to take into account your space and where you would want the piece to live.  One of the most challenging aspects of collecting is finding an appropriate space for the artwork. If space is not a concern, or you are purchasing through the tokenized version of art then this may not be a  concern for you. 

Shipping & Insurance 

Regardless of when you are buying a work of art you love or are viewing it as an investment, you want it to be handled and shipped by professionals. Ideally, when you buy art online, you should pay attention to which professional art handler will be used, as well as the art insurance that comes with it. 

Returns Policy 

Find out if the work of art you’re purchasing has any return policy. The vendor or marketplace should have a clear and set period where the item can be returned by the buyer should they not want the artwork anymore. 

Why Buy Art Online?

Although there have been many skeptics of buying art online in the past, the rise in popularity of online art platforms has made the process of collecting art far less painstaking. Individuals have noted increased pricing transparency, variety, and efficiency as major pros of purchasing art online. In addition, many have expressed how the ability to purchase works through these digital spheres has encouraged them to buy works by artists outside their country or region. 

Etsy is an American e-commerce website focused on crafts and art
Etsy is an American e-commerce website focused on crafts and art.

How Do You Buy Art Online?

When looking to buy art online, there are several different places to look. A variety of websites can serve as marketplaces for art and vary in quality, size, and medium based on what exactly you are wanting to purchase.

The first attempt at buying art online could be through print-on-demand sites that offer more affordable art including art prints and other prints from different retailers. Examples of these are Society 6 and Etsy.  Etsy can also cater to finer art through independent artists that use the site as their own personal marketplace. On these sites, you can purchase original artwork directly from the artist.

For those looking to buy artwork that is of a more specific variety then there are online galleries. These include websites such as ArtFinder. These online galleries will have original works for purchase from represented artists of the website or with a gallery partnered with the website. This option offers greater differentiation of artwork for sale, like art prints, limited edition prints, ceramic, sculptures, and more.

A new technique that is often used is to buy through social media. Social media sites such as Instagram offer creators and users through their marketplace function to sell and buy art

woman browsing to buy art online
Woman browsing to buy art online.

Great Places to Buy and Invest in Art Online

If you wish to buy or invest in art – online platforms can be a very good choice when wanting the accessibility and ease of mind when you’re not close to a gallery, auction house, or fair to purchase. With a steady rise in demand, the digitalization of art commerce has been booming for years, thus changing the art world forever. 

Whether you are looking to buy contemporary or impressionist, by emerging or well-established artists, prints sculptures, books, or designs – buying or investing online can l give accessibility to a wider variety of art to buy and may offer more reasonable prices. 


Artsy is an online art platform used by art lovers, patrons, collectors, and educators, specifically designed to connect its users to art. 

With an extensive database of contemporary art, and pricing beginning as low as $100, artsy provides an opportunity for art lovers to buy art online that best suits their taste and budget. 


Masterworks is an art investing startup that offers a different approach to investing in art.  We offers the accessibility for people to invest in pieces of multi-million dollar blue-chip artworks from artists such as Bansky, Andy Warhol, Basquiat, and more. Masterworks also has an extensive database with over 3 million data points dating back to the 1960s. With pricing starting at $20 per share, Masterworks provides a great starting point for investing in iconic works for a reasonable price. 


Widewalls is an online art gallery and marketplace. The platform prides itself on featuring a variety of different pieces from a wide range of artists in the contemporary scene. Some of the artists featured include Takashi Murikami, Yoshitomo Nara, Jeff Koons, and more. 

Prices vary, and to be able to view them one must sign up on their platform to be able to purchase. 

Art handlers working behind the scenes of a sale Credit: Malcolm Park/Alamy Live News.
Art handlers working behind the scenes of a sale Credit: Malcolm Park/Alamy Live News.

Is It Safe To Buy Art Online?

Buying art online can be a safe and practical process if done correctly. Make sure you are purchasing from a reputable source and that your financials are settled before making any hasty decisions. 

Like purchasing items from other websites, you want to be certain that the method of payment is secure. Credit or debit card payments tend to be the safest, with alternative forms of payment such as PayPal as another option. 

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This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as investment advice

Masterworks is a fintech company democratizing the art market. Our investors are able to fractionally invest in $1mn+ works of art by some of the world's most famous and sought-after artists.