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By Saira Kalimuddin-May / The Discerning Palette
Outside of the world of art and interiors, the idea around ‘Art’ can be quite an intimidating subject. There is often a preconceived notion that in order to be able to buy and enjoy art, you need to be in the know when it comes to artists’ names, you need to have lots of money and very large walls, and that you need to have a background in art or art history in order to understand what you’re looking at.
Having worked in the art world for over 10 years now, we’ve come to the firm conclusion that it doesn’t have to be that way. While trawling markets and auctions, we’ve come across so many wonderful forgotten painters with real talent, who by chance just haven’t been picked up by a high end gallery or dealer, and so don’t cost sky high prices.
When sourcing art for your home, you’ll want to be choosing pieces based on quality, subject matter, and most importantly a visual connection.
So here are our top tips for sourcing art that you can treasure for years to come:
1. Look at a variety of platforms when looking for art. Besides the usual route of going to an art gallery, have a browse online. Buying online might sound risky since you won’t be able to see the artwork in person, but there are ways to prevent erroneous purchases. Make sure the seller you are buying from has a returns policy which covers you changing your mind. In the UK and Europe, sellers are legally obliged to let you return an item for any reason within a 14 day period. Also feel free to ask sellers to send you more close up photos or videos of the artwork you are interested in.
Image by Fawn Interiors Studio
2. Prints are very trendy right now and are certainly an affordable option. But it is worth bearing in mind that you can buy original art at very decent prices as well. An original work will mean that it is one-off and completely unique. No one else will have the same hand painted artwork you have and that definitely makes it more special!
3. Don’t worry too much about imperfections. Sometimes original art that is on the older side can have areas of paint loss, or cracks in the paint, or scuffs to the frame. These can often add character and charm to a piece, and show off its age.
Image by Anthropologie
4. Don’t be afraid to mix and match when choosing art pieces to add to your collection. Quite often when pictures are of different mediums or styles, or are within different types of frames, this mix can tell a story and add an eclectic charm to your space.
5. There are a wide array of online shops and galleries that offer a wonderful selection of art, both vintage and contemporary. Lots of artists and galleries have their shops on social media platforms like Instagram where you can follow what they bring in regularly without having to physically leave the house. Our recommendations for vintage art include The Discerning Palette, Medium Room, Tarn London, Selency, 1st Dibs, Vinterior, The Saleroom, Etalage, eBay and Etsy.
6. Take a trip to a local auction house! There are several provincial auction houses dotted all over the UK and you can bid on items both in person and online. You can quite often get vintage painting and prints for a steal. Look up www.the-saleroom.com to view lots of vintage items that are up for auction in the UK and Europe.
7. We’ve mentioned choosing art based on a visual connection. If you’re buying your first piece of art and are not sure where to start, choose a piece that reminds you of a place, a piece of music, something you love or someone you know. You’ll keep it forever.
8. If you’re sourcing for art it often means you’ve found a spot on your wall that you need to fill. It is worth being open to the idea that art doesn’t always need to hang on a wall. It can be fun buying smaller pieces of art that you can lean on a kitchen shelf, a bookshelf, or a bedside table. This means you can move your art around easily and always change up the look of your space.
Written by Saira Kalimuddin-May, owner and director of The Discerning Palette.
Based in the UK and Singapore, The Discerning Palette is an online vintage art gallery that sources 20th century modernist paintings for home and interiors at affordable prices. It also regularly publishes tips and advice around how to buy, collect, and display art. Visit their website www.discerningpalette.com and follow them on Instagram @discerningpalatte.