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How To Buy Affordable Art

So you can finally afford an “It” bag (though you loathe the term), a vacation to another continent, and a couch that doesn’t require assembly. So why pray tell do you still have that sappy Klimt poster hanging over your bed? It’s time to outfit your pad with some REAL art. I’m not suggesting you hit Christie’s just yet. But somewhere between Damien Hirst and DIY-nude’s is a bounty of gorgeous pieces perfect for poshifying your home. Read on to find works at every price point..If you have $20 to $200, buy prints. Prints are reproduced works on paper, which are limited in production and signed by the artist. Prints are ideal for first time buyers, because they’re relatively inexpensive, but still retain their value in case your taste changes.

Check out 20×200, where you can buy a print beginning at $20. If you have a wee pad, visit tinyshowcase, where they sell petite prints.

If you have $200+ to spend, look for original works from students. Ugallery.com features works from art students across the country. What’s cool about this site is that you can choose by price point and genre. I love that it offers a tool that shows you how big the piece will look in your living room. Also, If you live near an esteemed art or design school like The Rhode Island School of Design or Cranbrook, check out their art shows that are open to the public. Maybe you’ll buy from the next Elizabeth Peyton?

If you have $300+ in your pocket, buy big name photography. The trick to scoring serious photos is to buy through non-profits which sell them at fundraisers—nearly all of the top contemporary photographers donate prints to some non-profit or other. Check out The Museum of Contemporary Photograpy, Aperture, and the Humble Arts Foundation.

If you’re will to spend $500 or more, invest in original work from unknown artists. A good place to comb is Charles Saatchi’s “Your Gallery” website. The bonus? Because artists show their art for free, you pay no commission. That said, it can be a bit exhausting to peruse pages and pages of works. But so worth it when you find a piece you love at a price you can afford.

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