Where and How to Buy a Painting In Dubai

So you’re looking to buy paintings in Dubai, are you? Well, I don’t live there, but I’ll try to help if I can.

In the following article, I’ll offer a few suggestions on how you can find paintings to buy for your home or business, regardless of your locale.

The first section will cover some local, physical suggestions; the second section will cover online suggestions, so pick what suits you best.

How to Buy a Painting in Dubai Locally

Before going online, I’d try to find some art or paintings locally.

Many artists – especially older artists and introverts – are afraid to sell their art online. Many have a fear of learning the processes to do so, whilst others, sadly, don’t wish to do the work. This can make finding buyable paintings a challenge.

Not to fear. There are still some options here.

Buy Paintings in Dubai from Galleries

The most obvious place to start would be galleries.

Almost every town has a couple, even if they are small or privately owned. Larger cities – or more scenic/touristy ones at least – tend to have more or larger selections, but even in smaller areas it should be a simple place to start.

The advantage to going to a gallery in Dubai is that you get to see work first-hand. This is hands down the best way to experience the type of work you’re looking to purchase. Pictures or video of an item is great – but it only tells half the story. To be able to stand before the type of work you want to invest in is quite another. And from personal experience, it’s kind of exciting to be able to peruse many works from many artists at once, to get a feel for their different styles. I love being surrounded by other people’s work.

Another advantage to buying from a gallery is this: You can see multiple artists in a short amount of time. It takes only minutes to peruse a gallery, and you can really get a feel for an artist’s work by seeing a handful at a time. Some galleries will even group specific styles together so you can compare works side by side. This is especially helpful if you’re looking for a specific type of painting whether it’s a landscape, or a surrealist piece, or an abstract painting.

The one caveat to buying from an art gallery is this: you tend to pay higher prices due to the commission they receive from the artist. In most galleries, you could pay up to double the artwork’s price elsewhere, simply because the gallery takes 50% off the sale, whereas, if you bought the piece directly from the artist, you might save a significant amount. It really comes down to how much you like the piece.

Buying a Painting in Dubai from Art Fairs and Festivals

The other significant way to find reasonably priced artwork, including paintings, is to buy them from art fairs and festivals.

Many times, if you go to an art fair, you’ll tend to find a lot of work by a lot of people. While this can bit a little overwhelming, it also allows you to the work of hundreds of artists in one day. This is great if you’re serious about buying.

The other way is from art festivals. Even my city has at least one a year. Artists – painters, musicians, photographers – come together and sell their items to local buyers. It’s a great way to buy locally and support local artists.

The advantage to buying at one of these events is that you will probably get that work much cheaper than buying from a gallery. You can also see a wide variety of talents.

The disadvantage is that you’re only getting a glimpse of people’s work, and there may be many similar styles as well, so much of the work might start to look the same after a while.

When in Dubai, buy… online?

So let’s shift our focus now to online ways to buy paintings. There are three main places I suggest in a nutshell:

  • Directly from an Artist
  • From an online gallery
  • Online marketplace

Below, I will cover each one in detail, and the order that I cover them will be in order of least suggested to most suggested.

Let’s move on.

Buying Paintings in Dubai from an Online Marketplace

First, let’s establish what I mean by “online marketplace.” While not an official phrase, per se, it refers to any website that sells a wide variety – including art, but not limited to it.

Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy are all examples of online marketplaces, and I’ll cover each briefly.

Although Amazon has basically everything available on its digital shelves, this is also it’s biggest flaw: it doesn’t specialize in any one product. While you can find paintings to buy on Amazon, you can also find just about everything else. Sure – this sounds great in theory, but it also means that they don’t focus on art itself. It’s staff isn’t trained to deal specifically for it; it processes for selling and shipping it don’t make the buyer feel like they’ve invested in the artist, so much as they’ve just bought another good. And it’s really hard to support or feel like you’re supporting an artist when you’re buying it there. It becomes more about being another transaction for Amazon than it does exchanging money for something that someone labored over. I personally don’t sell art on Amazon for this reason. You’ll find art there – and everything else. It just feels less special (I think) and robs some of the joy of the process.

Ebay is similar but almost worse. The common mentality of buyers on eBay “to get a great deal.” The issue with this mentality is that the sellers (the artists) are also trying to match that mentality to sell their work.

What this leads to is cheaper work at lower prices. If the artist is trying to make any money at all, and they have to lowball every sale, is it really worth it for them? And is it really worth it for you, the buyer?

Honestly, I have listed paintings on eBay that were lower than my normal price, and still have not sold after years of time. I’m not a fan of eBay for selling unique items, quite frankly.

Lastly is Etsy. Etsy isn’t that bad. There are some talented artists on Etsy, and I even suggest giving them a look. At least on Etsy, it is MOSTLY art, and some of the artists create full time, which means their focus is on creating decent products. Also, the staff at Etsy are geared towards helping both the artist AND the buyer. While not my #1 pick, I still approve.

Buying from Online Galleries, even from Dubai

Next we move into online galleries. Essentially online galleries are simple, and are exactly what they sound like:

Online databases of multiple artists on one website. That’s it.

Online galleries are great because you can even narrow down what you’re looking for in terms of type of painting, the size of the piece, and even the range of money you’re willing to spend on said piece.

Some examples of online galleries are Saatchi Art, ArtFinder, and Zatista – all of which are very similar in function and aesthetic. (if you want to see my work, here’s my profile on Saatchi Art).

What’s nice about online galleries is that you can really find what you’re looking for very quickly and easily, although the sheer amount listings can be a tad much at times. You may have to keep narrowing down your search to find what you’re looking for.

Another great thing about them, is that the major ones (the aforementioned and few others not listed) support almost worldwide buying, selling, and shipping. This is great news since some of the marketplaces I talked about don’t support some countries.

A further advantage is that since these sites surround art sales only, everything about them is geared towards helping the whole process feel smooth and enjoyable. What I like about Saatchi Art is that they care about the buyer and have very strict shipping standards. While a little cumbersome for me as the artist, this is great for you because they want your piece to come unhindered and undamaged. It says a lot about the brand.

Really the only downside about selling via an internet gallery is that there is a 30% (or close) markup on the items, so you will pay a little more usually than you would dealing directly with the artist, but it may be worth it, knowing that the gallery is helping protect you as the buyer – especially if you’ve never bought artwork before.

As a whole, I’ve personally sold multiple pieces via SaatchiArt, and I’ve had no problems. I’m okay with following their terms, if it means a good experience for the buyer. And I’ve heard no complaints from the buyers of the work either.

If you don’t which artist to buy from (you simply have an idea of the style you wish to peruse), then an online gallery is a great place to start.

Buying paintings directly from a Dubai Artist

It doesn’t really matter where you are, Dubai or otherwise, probably the absolute best way to buy paintings is directly from the artist. Usually this is from their website, or via their social media accounts.

For example, you can order one of my original abstract paintings from my store on this very website.

But I know of other artists that simply show the work on social media, then name a price, and have buyers send them the money via PayPal or something similar.

The reason I saved this as the last entry, is simply because for most artist (including me), it’s the easiest, most affordable way to sell our art AND for you to buy it.

Think about it:

If I don’t have to deal with markups for a gallery or listings on a marketplace, I don’t have to raise my prices, and thus you get the piece for less money while still supporting us the same amount.

Also, by buying from us artists directly, you don’t have to go through separate channels to reach us, which is usually – again – easier for us.

While I still like getting sales elsewhere, when they’re directly from my site, it’s just easier for me to track and manage it all, and to get it out according to my own policies as opposed to the policies of others.

But it’s totally your call.

If you don’t know what artist to buy from, I’d suggest starting which the aforementioned online galleries – Saatchi Art, Art Finder, Zatista – narrowing down your search results to what you’re looking for, then looking up a few of the artists who’s work interests you. Then, if you can buy directly from them – do so. If you can’t, simply buy from the online gallery directly, OR sadly, find another artist.

Hope this helps!

All the best,

Coty Schwabe

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