Buying Fine Art From A Gallery: Brick And Mortar, Auction Or Online

You would like to make a change by adding accent to the beauty of your home without the expense or disruption of remodeling. What better way to do this than to add a decoratively framed painting or high quality print, or perhaps to add a lovely silver or bronze sculpture by a famous artist to enhance the décor of any room of your home. An unusual or unique work of fine art would certainly capture the attention of anyone who enters that room. Now the question is where to find the ideal unique work of fine art that will blend perfectly with your tastes and home décor at the most reasonable price.

Whether you are looking for that perfect original painting, high quality lithograph, giclee or heliogravure print, bronze sculpture or any other work of fine art, you must now decide where you can get the best value for your money. Should you visit an art gallery, attend an auction or search online? There are advantages and disadvantages to every option, so let’s take a look at some of those differences.


    • If you live near one or many art galleries or if there is an auction that is taking place nearby, you might enjoy wandering about and looking through their selections. The big advantage here is having the ability to examine the artwork in person. However, many people do not live in an area where the art galleries or auction houses are abundant, so they might be limited in the opportunity to find a work of art that is most appealing and would appropriately add accent to your home or office decor. An online search does not give you the ability to see the artwork first hand, but you would certainly have a far greater selection of fine art, including rare unusual and unique paintings, high quality prints and sculptures by famous artists that you might not find when confined to the limited offerings found at a brick and mortar gallery or auction event. A greater selection from which to choose gives you the opportunity to find what truly appeals to you.
    • You can overcome the disadvantage of the inability to examine the work of art firsthand when making a purchase online by ensuring that the return policy is favorable in the event that you are disappointed with the artwork once it arrives at your home. When purchasing from a brick and mortar art gallery, the return policy must be carefully determined, since most do not allow returns unless the artwork was damaged in shipping. Purchases made at an auction (online or in person) never allow returns. All sales are final. So, when purchasing from a brick and mortar art gallery or at an auction, you must be certain that you will love that beautiful painting, print or sculpture in your home or office. If not, you will suffer a great deal of buyer’s remorse and be burdened with having paid for something with which you are unhappy or does not complement your home décor once you got it home. Although many online fine art galleries also declare sales to be final, not all do. It’s just a matter of doing your homework to find one that has a liberal return policy.
    • Purchasing from a brick and mortar establishment means higher costs to the buyer. There are overhead costs, such as rent, heating costs and far more. These costs are obviously part of doing business for these galleries, but naturally it is the buyer who must cover those costs which are built into the price of the artwork in order for the company to survive. The more unusual, unique or rare a painting, print or sculpture, the higher the price will be boosted. Purchasing from an art auction has its built-in costs, too, but that added cost is made clear to the art collector or buyer. An auction company will include a buyer’s premium of anywhere from 10% to 20% that is automatically added to the price of your fine art purchase. This buyer’s premium will be imposed by some online sites as well, so it’s very important that you read the fine print or ask the right questions before you make any purchase of fine art.
    • Another expense to consider is the shipping and handling costs. If you are purchasing from a gallery or auction which you are attending, you can certainly take your art purchase with you, if feasible. If not, there will certainly be a charge to ship, including insurance costs to you, the buyer. If you purchase online, you may or may not avoid shipping costs, although it is possible to find a rare fine art online gallery that will offer free shipping and handling.
  • Lastly, the buyer will have to pay sales tax on the purchase whenever selecting that beautiful unique painting, high quality print or silver or bronze sculpture from a brick and mortar gallery or auction house. Since fine art is rarely insignificant in cost, the sales tax can take a big bite out of your budget. The only way to avoid this cost is to purchase the artwork from a dealer that does not have gallery or run an auction in your state. If you purchase your artwork from an online gallery, you usually can avoid the sales tax which can be a substantial savings.


In reviewing the three options, you certainly can see that, although you might be able to see the work of art firsthand at a brick and mortar art gallery or live auction, the final purchase price will cost you the most for your final artwork selection. Your artwork will carry with it one or more of the following additions: overhead costs, buyer’s premiums, shipping costs and sales tax. You also will probably be subject to a final sale policy of no returns. On the other hand, by purchasing from some online galleries, your costs may not include these extra charges. Your money will go directly toward that unique work of art that you love and which appeals to your home décor taste. This will not only make the unusual or rare artwork that you chose for your home fine art collection more affordable, but it may allow you the ability to stretch your budget to purchase a piece of art by a famous artist that you might not have been able to afford had you purchased it elsewhere. Shipping may or may not be free, but a search for the right online fine art gallery will find you that benefit as well. Don’t ever underestimate good customer service either.

My last and final word of advice, regardless of where you purchase the fine art or how much it costs, is that you fall in love with that work of art. It will be yours for a long time and you should always look at it with admiration and joy.

My name is Lorraine Bellagamba and my husband and I proudly manage a business, Fine Art at Discount Prices. As an art lover and art collector myself, it is important to me that others have the opportunity to purchase art that they love without unnecessary added costs. Our online fine art gallery has discounted prices for the artwork, many professionally and decoratively framed paintings and prints, the cost of which is already included in the price, free shipping and no sales tax (except to residents of Nevada). We also give our buyers the opportunity to return the work of art, if it does not meet their expectations once it arrives. Just click on the link above and see what we have to offer

An Art Gallery Analysis

One of my projects in my university art class was to visit an art gallery and organize an analysis of the gallery as well as to select one artist’s work which is on display. I was to discuss the merits of that selected work of art for all to see. As you drive towards the ocean, east of Lewis Delaware, you encounter a quaint little art gallery on your left with a full size sign above the gallery reading, “Peninsula Gallery”. After parking at 520 Savannah Road and entering the shop, you first encounter the friendly owners and operators, Carol and Tony Boyd-Heron. Both of these individuals are very knowledge in the field of art and in particular those clients with whom they represent.

The gallery is composed of four major sections, the main gallery with its general selection of art work, a separate featured artist exhibit area and two business sections for building frames and art restoration. On entering the gallery I was at first disappointed for I had expected the business to be larger than what it actually was. I felt it was unusually small however in all fairness; there were some unique and interesting paintings on the walls from some of Delaware’s outstanding local artists. I saw some harbor scenes in acrylic painted by Tara Funk Grime. Her works appealed to my whimsical nature however, my goal was to review the work of Frank Schoonover who was scheduled for an exhibit at the gallery between February 2nd and the 28th. Unfortunately, the paintings for Mr. Schoonover had not arrived at the gallery as of the time of my arrival.

Being somewhat of an artist myself, I inquired about the lack of any sort of modern styles of art being displayed in the gallery. In response, Mr. Boyd-Heron informed me that the studio’s customers who frequent the gallery were more conventional in their taste; therefore most contemporary art work was usually not available. Being a small gallery there were no specific tools in place to guide one to any significant displays. In lieu of a central focal point, I would have to state that if any art were of exceptional value above the others, it would likely be those which occupy the front display areas. These are the first works viewed as you enter the gallery.

I continued to take a short walk through the main section of the gallery and alternately chanced upon the works of Howard Eberle. I previously had never viewed any of this gentleman’s art. Although Mr. Eberle’s watercolor compositions were generally simple seascape scenes, he produced some very dramatic paintings with solid perspective and firm form. The longer I gazed at his art work the more appreciative I was to his style. His use of simple humble objects produced a spontaneous freshness in his composition and hinged closely to an abstract style. Even Mr. Eberle refers to his particular painting style as “abstract realism”. Viewing his work for any length of time provides a new found peacefulness for one’s soul.

Several of his art works feature such common objects as weather vanes, an old abandoned rocking chair, a badly weathered rowboat or other objects often overlooked by the non-artist eye. In his art we can view empty deck chairs as if they are inviting us to sit and observe the ocean from which it faces all within a type of surreal environment.

Much of his projects feature strong shadow textures and a certain amount of graphical influence perhaps as a result of his heavily inspired architectural background. I was very impressed by his use of lights and shadows to project a sense of time into the paintings.

Although Mr. Eberlie has several excellent works of art that I could select to analyze and discuss I have managed to break down my selection to one only. I will talk about his watercolor painting referred to as “Sunset Bay”.

This small painting is less than two feet by three feet, but packs an abundance of artistic strengths in its small package. It sits on the wall with other works from Eberlie’s collection of art. The only identifying data for the art work is a small card attached to the wall indicating the artist’s name. I was forced to do additional research in order to identify the piece of art accurately and place a specific name upon it.

As with keeping with the artist’s practice of simplicity we see white sand based against a receding sun. The horizon is clearly shown, indicating by both color and light that evening has approached. The darkness of the chair in the foreground reveals not only a measure of shadow but a sharp contrast against the lighter shades of the painting. The design aspects of the piece fit together perfectly and provide the observer with a feeling of closure and balance.

When I view this work of art I am first impressed at how my eyes are drawn into the declining sun on the horizon. The straight lines associated with the solid chair compliment the roundness we see in the fading sun. Both horizontal and vertical lines blend together in harmony while the artist has successfully transferred a feeling of calm with his weak and light shadowy effect. These cold black shadows of the chair contrast perfectly with the warm skylight shades. We can not view this painting without realizing how Eberlie has maintained an abundance of space on his canvas yet has overlapped that space with firm, solid objects with accurate proportions.

As we look at “Sunset Bay” we realize how often we have been in this particular scene without appreciating the full impact of what we were seeing. I have frequently taken my own folding lawn chair and visited the coastal towns along the Delaware shore and sat calmly at the edge of the ocean listening to the waves and hearing the gulls above while watching the distant sun go down slowly beyond the horizon. To do so, reveals a calm life at the shore with no human intervention other than me and Mother Nature. I truly have to thank Mr. Eerlie for bring back so many fine memories of my past years.

The website for “Peninsula Gallery” is clearly laid out and can be easily navigated without difficulty. Within its pages you will find samples of the artwork which is on display at the gallery and a list of upcoming exhibitions. Assuming that the art work had arrived to the gallery as planned the web site would have proven useful for this trip. It is unfortunate that the internet site could not provide a better view of the art pieces and further explanation of the art contained within the gallery, as that would have been very helpful prior to my visit. However, the owners have done as well as can be expected and no problems were experienced. Even though the expected exhibit was not present the experience was still enjoyable and worthwhile. I will likely revisit the site in the future in order to see what is scheduled and visit the gallery accordingly.