For complete transparency, please click here to refer to our disclosure outlining how we may earn from certain links.

Your Guide to Buying Original Art Online: Tips, Top Sites, and Smart Shopping

Buying original art online is easy and rewarding. Check out trusted sites like Saatchi Art, Artfinder, and Tappan for a wide selection. These platforms offer genuine pieces from independent artists, often at affordable prices, making art accessible for everyone.

Unlock a world of unique art that matches your style and budget by buying original pieces online. This guide reveals how to find authentic artwork on trusted platforms, highlights top websites for purchasing art, and shares savvy buying tips. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, this is your go-to resource.

Understanding Authenticity

Verifying Artwork Authenticity

Dig into the artwork’s history. Uncover its provenance, exhibition record, and any documents proving authenticity. Reputable auction houses and galleries often provide detailed records to verify this information. A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) confirms an artwork’s legitimacy, issued by the artist or a trusted source. It includes vital details like title, size, medium, creation date, and the artist’s signature. Always seek COAs signed by the artist or from reputable galleries with strict standards. 

Artist Background and Reputation

Digging into an artist’s background can reveal their true essence. Seek out those with impressive portfolios, notable gallery exhibitions, and glowing reviews from collectors. Established artists often boast a robust online presence—websites, social media profiles, and features in art publications—that solidify their credibility.

Purchase from Reputable Sources

Purchasing art from trusted online platforms like,, and ensures quality and authenticity. These sites curate their collections meticulously and collaborate directly with artists. With strict artist guidelines and buyer protection policies, they offer a secure buying experience that you can trust.

Beware of Red Flags

Beware of artworks with murky origins or dubious documentation. Online, mass-produced prints often masquerade as originals. Verify the artist’s style and technique for consistency, and ensure prices reflect their reputation and market value.

Seek Expert Advice

When uncertain, turn to art industry experts like appraisers, curators, or seasoned collectors. They offer crucial insights on authenticity and suggest reliable research tools. Online forums and art communities also provide valuable advice and peer recommendations from their own experiences.

Top Online Marketplaces for Original Art

Saatchi Art


  • Wide Selection: boasts an extensive array of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and mixed media.
  • Global Reach: Explore unique pieces from artists worldwide with ease.
  • Transparent Pricing: Transparent costs and detailed artist backgrounds provide confidence in every purchase.


  • Higher-End Pricing: Some artworks come with a hefty price tag.
  • Quality Varies: This platform offers varying quality, so diligent research is crucial.



  • Curated Selection: showcases top-tier artworks.
  • Affordable Options: Find affordable pieces perfect for new collectors.
  • Direct Support to Artists: Every purchase directly supports independent creators.


  • Limited Availability: Some artworks may be limited in availability due to the curated nature of the platform.
  • Shipping Costs: Shipping costs can vary depending on the artist’s location.

Tappan Collective


  • Emerging Artists: showcases fresh, innovative works from rising and mid-career artists.
  • Curation: Enjoy thoughtfully curated collections by seasoned art professionals.
  • Personalized Service: Benefit from personalized art advisory services designed for discerning collectors.


  • Limited Inventory: The selection is smaller than what larger platforms offer.
  • Higher-End Market: Artworks might primarily target upscale buyers.

Navigating Pricing: Finding Affordable Original Art

Assess Your Budget

Start by setting your art investment budget. Factor in your overall collection funds, the type of artwork you desire, and extra costs like framing or shipping.

Explore Different Price Ranges

Online art marketplaces cater to every budget, offering a vast array of artworks. Dive into different price categories to discover pieces that suit your wallet. Even with a tight budget, you’ll find affordable gems easily thanks to user-friendly filters and categories.

Consider Emerging Artists

Discover unique and affordable masterpieces from emerging artists on platforms like Artfinder and Tappan Collective. These sites spotlight fresh talent, offering original artworks at prices that won’t break the bank.

Utilize Filters and Search Tools

Unlock the power of filtering and search tools on art websites. Sort by price, medium, style, or size to quickly zero in on your perfect piece. Efficiently streamline your hunt and focus only on artworks that match your exact taste.

Negotiate When Appropriate

When dealing with smaller galleries or independent artists, there’s often room to negotiate, especially if you’re buying multiple pieces or the artwork has lingered on the market. Don’t hesitate to politely ask about a price reduction.

Watch for Sales and Promotions

Watch for sales, promotions, and special offers on art websites. Many platforms roll out discounts during holidays or events. Subscribe to newsletters or follow them on social media to stay updated and snag the best deals.

Tips for Buying Art Online: What to Look For

Artist Reputation and Background

Dig into the artist’s background to verify their credibility. Seek out those with impressive portfolios, glowing collector reviews, and accolades from exhibitions or awards. Established artists typically flaunt their achievements on websites and social media, making it easy to gauge their reputation.

Artwork Description and Details

Carefully examine the seller’s artwork description. Look for details on medium, size, creation year, and unique traits. Clear descriptions show transparency and professionalism, helping you grasp the artwork’s essence before buying.

Return Policies and Buyer Protection

Review the platform’s return policies and buyer protection measures. Top online art marketplaces provide clear rules on returns, exchanges, and refunds if the artwork disappoints. Know how to return an artwork, including costs or time limits, for a smooth experience if necessary.

Shipping Considerations

Check the platform’s shipping policies, focusing on delivery times, packaging quality, and costs. Original artworks need secure handling to avoid damage in transit. Platforms with dedicated shipping services or reliable carrier partnerships ensure your artwork arrives safely and gives you peace of mind.

Authenticity and Certificates of Authenticity (COA)

Ensure your artwork’s authenticity with a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from the artist or seller. This document, often signed and dated, verifies the piece’s origin and legitimacy. A COA not only confirms authenticity but also serves as vital documentation for future verification.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Dive into customer reviews and testimonials to assess the platform’s reliability and satisfaction levels. Previous buyers’ feedback reveals valuable insights into the shopping experience, from seller communication to packaging quality and artwork condition. Glowing reviews highlight trustworthiness and top-notch service.

Payment Security

Choose a platform that guarantees payment security with encrypted gateways and secure transactions. Opt for trusted methods and never share sensitive financial details through unsecured channels. Top platforms use robust measures to safeguard your personal and financial data.

How to Support Independent Artists Through Online Purchases

Purchase Directly from Artists’ Websites

Support independent artists by purchasing directly from their websites or online portfolios. Skip third-party platforms to ensure they keep more of the profits, fueling their creative endeavors.

Explore Artist-Centric Platforms

Discover a treasure trove of handmade and unique artworks on This platform connects you directly with independent artists, offering an eclectic mix of styles and mediums—from stunning paintings and prints to intricate sculptures and crafts. Dive in and find your next masterpiece!

Attend Virtual Exhibitions and Art Fairs

Many artists now thrive in virtual exhibitions and online art fairs. These platforms spotlight their latest creations and offer direct engagement through virtual studio visits and live chats.

Commission Custom Artworks

Commissioning custom artwork from an independent artist lets you co-create a unique piece that mirrors your vision. It supports the artist financially and sparks a creative bond between you both.

Final Thoughts: Pros and Cons of Buying Art Online

Buying original art online offers exciting opportunities, but it’s crucial to weigh the benefits and risks to make a smart purchase:


  1. Accessibility and Variety: Discover various styles, mediums, and artists globally.
  2. Convenience: Buy art anytime from your home or office.
  3. Transparency and Information: Artist bios, descriptions, and reviews help make confident purchases.
  4. Direct Support for Artists: Empower independent creators by buying directly from them.
  5. Affordability: Find artworks that fit every budget.


  1. Risk of Misrepresentation: Online images can distort the artwork’s true appearance.
  2. Shipping Challenges: Care is needed to ensure safe delivery.
  3. Inability to Assess Quality Firsthand: Online images and descriptions can’t capture the artwork’s full essence.
  4. Return and Refund Policies: Returning or exchanging can be a hassle with different policies.
  5. Limited Interaction with Art: Online shopping can’t match the thrill of seeing art up close.

Grasping these pros and cons empowers you to navigate online art buying confidently. You can enjoy the convenience and vast selection while minimizing risks with thorough research and smart choices. Buying original art online is an enriching, rewarding experience that enhances personal enjoyment and supports digital-age artistic expression.

Note: This article has been peer reviewed and held to the highest editorial standards.