Quick Start Guide to Buying Abstract Art

It can be confusing to buy abstract art online, especially if it is your first time. I know it because I have been there about a year ago.

Just after I bought my first appartment, I started looking to decorate it with a couple of abstract art paintings. I began my research by shopping at my local shops, but all I could find was either too expensive, like $1,000 and up, or affordable, but not something I liked enough. So I decided to start looking online.

After all, most of my friends buy clothes and shoes online. Is it more risky that the clothes you buy online don’t fit you or that the painting you get don’t match your room? Normally, if you like the image of the painting, you should also like it when it is delivered to your home.

It’s not exactly that simple though! Of course you want to find something that you like, but there are a few things you should know before you just go to whatever site selling art and purchase something you like and this is what my blog is about.

How Much Should I Pay for an Abstract Painting?

You will find abstract art from a wide range of price on the internet and this is mainly because of the different caracteristics of the paintings.

  • Is it a print, a giclee or a hand painted piece of art?
  • If it is hand painted, do you absolutely want the original?
  • Is the art on canvas or on some paper?
  • Is the product stretched or unstretched?
  • Do you want it to be framed or do you prefer a canvas wrapped art?

If you find some of the vocabulary above confusing, then it’s in your best interest to keep reading before you buy anything! Believe me, it’s really frustrating when you pay like $200 for a painting and what you receive is not what you thought it would be.

Print, Giclee and Hand Painted Art

If you go with a simple print, you are basically buying a photography. These are also called lithographic print.

A giclee, is also a print, but it looks like it was hand painted. They actually use a special printer that reproduces all the details in the painting, even the brush strokes and the relief in the painting.

Hand painted obviously means that it was painted by an artist. A question I encourage to ask to yourself is: Do you absolutely need to buy the original painting? Nowadays there are many artists selling replicas of their own artworks. If you are buying to decorate your home, and not because you are an art lover with an unlimited budget, it makes sense to pay only a fraction of the price of the original painting.

Canvas or Paper?

A print can be on canvas or on cover stock paper. I recommend the canvas option as it will make the painting look more real, even though it is just a print. On the other hand, if you go with the the cover stock paper option, you couldn’t get closer from a photography. There is a significant price gap though!

Stretched or Unstretched?

A stretched painting is a painting that is stretched around an inner wood frame. It has  nothing to do with the actual frame of the painting as many people think. Stretched paintings are usually ready to hang on your wall once it arrives to your place, unless you want to go to your local art shop and have someone frame it.

Unstretched paintings are usually rolled in a tube when you receive them. You then have to go to your local hardware and buy wood sticks to make your own inner frame (a stretcher) , so  you can stretch the canvas around it. It’s more work, but you can save a lot of money with this option. A big part of the savings is with the shipping with large paintings.

Framed Art or Canvas Wrapped?

Many sites offer to add a frame to your painting. Whether you prefer it with a frame or not is a personal choice. But, beware of the thickness of the painting if you choose not to add a frame because not all paintings are beautiful in canvas wrapped style.

I recommend that the painting has a thickness of at least 1.5 inches (3.5 centimeters) to go with the canvas wrapped option. Otherwise, once hung on your wall, it will look like a simple poster.

What Are The Best Sites For Abstract Art?

It depends what are the caracteristics you are looking for, but I would say that these sites are a good place to start shopping:

Art.com : A good place for prints and giclees. They also offer stretched canvas print.

Amazing Wall Art : Hand painted on Canvas only.

Wall Art For Less : Also 100% hand painted on canvas.

italian-paintings.com : Canvas painting. Unstretched.


Abstract Art Online aims to educate people about abstract art and to help them discovering the best abstract artists of all time.
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