There are a lot of places to buy original abstract art online, but where do you go? What sites are reputable, safe, and most importantly, affordable?
Well, of course, budget is going to vary from person to person, so we’ll go over that a little more later, but today I’d like to share with you 5 of the best places I’ve found to buy original abstract pieces online.
If you want, you can scroll down to my first result, but before you do, I’d like to establish the criteria I avoided when I picked these five. (Quick word: This list is based off of the US, where I live. I know very little outside America.)
Sites I Avoided
First, I ignored the two biggest marketplaces in the United States; Amazon and eBay.
I skipped these two for a few of reasons:
- They’re not niche specific. Since these two sell anything and everything, I felt that they weren’t the best places to buy art. Yes, they do sell it, but it’s easy to be distracted with ads and links to other things. I feel it’s not as great a user experience as a site that JUST SELLS ART.
For me, it’s a little distracting to search for art, and also be able to buy a new radiator and some cat mugs all at the same time. I don’t know, maybe you’re into that. I looked for websites that were SPECIFICIALLY for art, that way all my results were aimed at art buyers explicitly.
- These sites don’t treat art the same way that a site that deals with only art would. By that, I simply mean that they treat buying office supplies as they do buying expensive, limited edition artworks.
There’s no “reverence for the craft” as I like to say.
Pretty much as long as you get the art there, the order would be considered finished. But with the art selling websites mentioned below, since they specialize in the selling art, their quality for the transactions that take place are higher. How you buy (and sell) the art matters much, much more.
- You’re more likely to find what you’re looking for. When you go to a marketplace like Amazon or Ebay, the results are mixed in with everything else. Sure, you can narrow the results with filters, but why do that when you can just go to a website that sells art, and KNOW that you’re going to find… well… art. (LOL)
When I look for art supplies, I tend to buy from art stores and art sites, rather than general sites – unless I can’t find what I’m looking for. Point? I go to “niche specific” stores to buy it those items. Why? Because the people there are more knowledgeable, the items are more catered, and they’re more likely to have what I want.
- Higher quality items. Since you can literally find anything on Amazon or Ebay, the quality could be questionable. I’m not saying that the quality is automatically bad, but if you buy say abstract art online from one of these sites, it’s more likely to be of higher quality, it tends to attract higher quality artists and buyers.
People who tend to shop on eBay and Amazon are looking for “deals” and “discounts” and oftentimes want cheap art. Well you can only make quality products at such a low cost. It’s like the difference between going to Wal-Mart and Target. You don’t go to Wal-Mart for quality, and you don’t go to Target because it’s the cheapest in town.
If you search an art-targeted website for art, you’re more likely to find more quality products since the price tag is higher. That’s not to say that QUALITY = PRICE every time, but more often than not, it does. You get what you pay for.
Aside from the giants, there were actually several smaller sites that I didn’t include here. They included but weren’t limited to:
- Single galleries that “resold” artists paintings
- Print on demand focused websites (RedBubble, FineArtAmerica, Society6)
- Sites with little reputation or seemed questionable and/or cluttered
I’m sure there are several other great websites out there that I missed, but I really wanted to promote websites I was comfortable mentioning.
I have not personally used all the sites I’m going to talk about. I will specifically state which ones I have and have not, but I just figured I’d throw that out there.
#1. Saatchi Art
SaatchiArt (SA) is exactly what you’d expect of a gallery in real life – online.
The whole site has a sense of austerity to it. They have curators, exhibitions, and artist spotlights. It feels like a modern gallery, if not a little uptight. It’s not for everyone.
What I’ll say in their favor is this: they do have strict standards – which is great.
I have used it as an artist (though I have yet to sell on it – sad face), and while they’re easy to list paintings, they’re very strict on the shipping standards. It must be shipped certain ways in order to be sent out or they won’t ship it. They also don’t pay out right away – they keep the funds until the order is complete and shipped and received.
While this is a pain for the artist, it’s actually a great thing for the buyer. This ensures 1) that your painting (or sculpture or whatever) arrives at your home in one piece, and 2) that you’re satisfied with it.
The only thing to watch out for are the mark-ups. Since SaatchiArt doesn’t charge listing fees to the artist, you (as the buyer) typically spend a little more for a piece than you would other sites, simply because the artist has to raise their price to recoup the cost.
But in all fairness, if you’re going to buy a piece of art, and you want the premium experience, this is the site to buy abstract art on. Or pop art. Or surrealism. Or whatever you’re looking for.
Last thing, they’re customer satisfaction ratings with TrustPilot tend to run high, which is only another plus.
You can visit Saatchi Art Here (affiliate link)
Artfinder (AF) is similar to SaatchiArt.com, but with less pomp. It too is an online gallery that sells direct from the artist. I haven’t used Artfinder, but from what I’ve read and seen, it’s a little simpler than the aforementioned.
One cool feature that AF has is a “commission” feature. If you see an artist with work you’d like work from but just can’t quite find that piece that fits, you can use this option to have the artist create something for you – without having to track down the artist and get the commission made the hard way.
I personally like the atmosphere and the attitude of Artfinder’s website. The layout is clean, easy to browse and has that “every day artist” feel.
Another cool feature that Art Finder has is their “Daily Finds” option, which helps unknown artists get exposure. This is nice, because I have a hunch that most of the items on the front pages of both AF and SA are catered to showing specific artists – probably the people with the most notoriety, publicity or sales.
This isn’t a problem – I fully believe decent artists deserve recognition – but Daily Finds helps the little guy get a chance at being seen, so that’s pretty cool. They also have a Sales tab, so you can find even more possible abstract paintings at a great price.
You can visit ArtFinder Here (Referral Link)
You’ve probably heard of Etsy. I like to think of it as the eBay of the arts and crafts world.
It used to be that you could only sell handmade items on it, but I think that changed a while back, where they started allowing craft materials, or partially handmade to be sold as well (Or something like that, I honestly don’t remember).
I have used Etsy, but I have never sold anything on it.
I do like Etsy as a sales platform. Buying stuff is pretty simple, and they do allow the artist a couple of options for selling variations of the work. Their fees are low, which means the artist doesn’t have to inflate their prices.
I find Etsy is good site for buying abstract art for more casual buyers. Many of the pieces that I see sold are ones that the average person would buy.
That’s not to say that don’t have really good pieces, or even expensive ones, but much of what I’ve seen sell is art that can be accessed by anyone; kind like background art. Or pieces that are more decorative in nature than ones that make a statement.
Another reason I feel this way is because they don’t just sell art on Etsy; they sell apparel and toys as well. While this isn’t a huge deal, once again, it’s the same problem I have with eBay, only a little more narrowed on the selection.
I’ll be honest here: I only recently found Zatista, so I don’t have much experience with it.
From what I can tell, it’s like a cross between SaatchiArt and ArtFinder. It’s got a high TrustPilot score, which is nice, and some of the reviews I found online were favorable, but again, I can’t say for sure personally. I’m not sure if the site is newer or just isn’t that established yet or what, but again I’ve only recently heard about it.
So why am I even mentioning it here?
Well, the site does seem reputable, and it does seem like a legit place to buy art.
One reason I say this is because you have to apply in order to be represented, sort of like Artfinder. That makes me take it a little more seriously.
Also, the variety on this site is good. Stuff ranges from like $50 to $10k. And, it’s got a little more variety than SA and AF, but not overwhelming amounts like Etsy. It’s a good mix.
I’m gonna say this site is for what I call the “Heavy Hitters.” Many of these works are expensive. Or statement pieces. But they’re also from reputable artists across the world. Heavily publicized or highly represented individuals reside here.
Artsy is like a Museum/Gallery/Auction House. It’s like an online version of Sotheby’s and MoMa combined. You can browse art, buy it, and even join in auctions.
I haven’t sold here, but Artsy is where you go if you want something above “normal.” Or beyond “average” (and I don’t say that to downplay any artist, I even include myself in that).
Not better, just… different. Like stuff you wouldn’t normally just buy for hanging up in your dining room.
If it feels like I’m not explaining it well enough, I don’t honestly know HOW to explain it. You can just click here and see it yourself.
(BONUS) #6: Artist’s Personal Website
So I wasn’t going to add anything like this, but I felt compelled to as I wrapped up this article. If you find any work online, by an artist that you like, I would say that if that person has a personal website or social media page, check into buying from them directly via that.
For example, I have a Saatchi Art profile, with available works right now. But, if you buy any piece, I have to sell it for more on that site, than I would here on my own personal website, due to fees incurred by their services.
Also, if you buy a piece from me directly, not only is less due to less fees, but I can also control the price. If I want to discount a piece that I no longer want in my possession, I can do so. I can just throw a discount on it, and still control how much I make from the sale.
But if I sell on another site, and lower the price, it cuts into my profits.
Now, generally, the advantage of buying through a major website gives some sort of customer satisfaction guarantee; there’s buyer protection. This is where some of that extra mark up goes – to protecting you as the buyer.
But if the artist is a genuine person that actually cares about the work or their business as an artist, then it really shouldn’t be a problem.
In full transparency, I’ve sold everything via my website and social media channels. Buy in the way that’s most comfortable to you.
Ultimately, the choice is yours, of course.
If you’re going to go the route of buying from one of the sites listed above, go for it. Check them all out if you want. Do some additional research.
I’d probably recommend Art Finder out of all of them, but they’ve all got great works, just depends on what you’re looking for.
But if you want to support an artist as much as possible, buy from them directly, IF POSSIBLE. If not, then I’m sure a sale from a gallery site is MUCH BETTER than no sale at all for them. It is for me.
I wish you the best in finding the right abstract art to fit your needs.
All the best,