It depends on what you mean by cheap. Here’s my advice on how to buy cheap abstract art.
The bigger the painting, the more it’s going to cost, so the best way of sticking to a budget is to buy small, or buy prints. I’m in favor of buying small originals, though. They tend to hold their value better than prints. The market can also fluctuate by area (art sells for more money in big cities, especially New York and London) and whether the economy is doing well or not. But here’s a rough guide:
$20: won’t buy you much any more, not even a velvet Elvis. You could get some printed postcards or notecards for this much.
But $25.33 will get you this little abstract drawing by Frederic Belaubre. Matting and framing it will cost you more, as framing can be expensive.
$50-100: it’s possible you could get a very small, very basic painting or sketch for this price. But don’t expect much. You could get a decent little print, like Dusk by Mary Mills McIlroy ($67.55)
$100: it’s possible to buy a small abstract painting for $100.
$100-300: won’t buy you a large painting in most cases, unless you buy one of those paintings on Ebay that are mass-produced by slaves in China (please don’t). I offer a few of my little paintings for this price point.
$300-500: Now we’re getting somewhere. You could get a medium-sized painting from a relatively unknown, emerging artist for this price. The quality can be uneven.
$1000-2000 Even bigger and better in this price range and you will start to see artists who are more skilled and better known. Most of my large paintings are in the lower end of this price range.
$2000-3000: you will see more work by established artists. This is basically the upper limit of the emerging artist. Pieces in this price range can be good investment opportunities, but the art market can be unpredictable, so always buy a work because you love it, not because you think it’ll make money.
$3000 and up: This is where the serious money begins.
Of course you want to get as much bang for your buck as you can, but remember that buying original art is not like buying cheap mass-produced prints at Wally World. Buying art, even small pieces of art, is an investment. You’re not just buying a piece of canvas with some paint on it. You’re also buying a piece of the artist, of the artist’s labor and love. Mass production and cheap imports flooding the market have left us with mountains of inexpensive junk, and a shriveled sense of appreciation for the value of hand-made things.
Don’t just look on Ebay: Ebay is the online equivalent of a garage sale. There are many online galleries now. You can search by price, size, color, style. Fine Art America is one example of a big site where you can find just about anything, though they focus on prints and not on originals.
If you want more consistent quality, try searching some of the art sites that evaluate the artists’ work before letting them join. Artfinder does this and so does Xanadu Gallery: both are well worth a browse. Artfinder offers artwork beginning at less than $100, while Xanadu is a bit more expensive but high quality.
You might not know this, but many brick and mortar galleries offer payment plans, so they’ll hold the art for you and you can pay them something every month until it’s paid for. Self-representing artists will usually do this too, so if you see something you love but can’t afford, ask about a payment plan.
And there you have it: a quick guide to buying cheap abstract art.
Related post: Why does art cost so much money?
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below.
- Why does art cost so much money?
- I got interviewed by DesArtsUK