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5 Questions to Ask an Artist before Buying Art from him!

You are in an art gallery and you are browsing through the various art paintings, suddenly one art piece attracts your attention. This art piece is so beautiful that it strikes your senses, it’s the most alluring art painting you’ve ever seen, it’s so stunning that you can’t keep your eyes away from it, its charm alone is worth thousands and you decides to buy it. If I were you, I would definitely learn more about the artist first. Because that’s the only way you can better estimate value of a painting. If you are not sure what questions to ask, here is a list of top five questions we recommend. If you get satisfactory answers, go ahead with your purchase. Otherwise, move on.

The Questions You Should Ask

  • Where is he from? How long has he been painting?


An artist displaying her artwork in the studio


You should get to know where he studied art how he became an artist and what motivated him to become an artist. Ask about his early childhood. Get to know whether he created any art during that time? Who was his favourite artist? What type of paintings did he like? Ask whether he studied in any popular art institute. If yes, ask him about the wonderful experiences he had during those days.

Next, ask about his favourite paintings. Ask him why he loved those particular paintings. Then ask him about his own favourite paintings. Why should you ask all these? Well, if you really want to dig deep about this artist, you need to ask these personal questions. When you ask these friendly questions, you will open up the artist. And when he opens up, you will surely know how passionate he is. And if he is passionate, one thing is definite you don’t have to second guess your purchase because passionate artists generally become popular later in their life.

  • Did he exhibit his artworks before? Did he receive any popular awards?

When you ask this question, you are asking about his popularity. Since curators are better judge for an artist’s reputation, you should ask this to a gallery curator. A popular art gallery doesn’t randomly select art for display. An artist must be experienced and somewhat popular to be selected for the exhibit. So, when you ask this question to a gallery curator, he will tell you more about the artist. He will also tell you about the important exhibitions this artist has done to date. He will talk to you about artist’s major achievements. The more exhibitions and the more awards received means only one thing that the artist is climbing his career ladder and he is sure to become popular.  In other words, we can safely invest in his artwork.

  • Where can we see his previous works?


To understand an artist’s painting styles, you need to see his previous art paintings. So when you ask this question, you will know where you can see his previous creations. However, that is not the only benefit. When you ask this to a gallery curator, you are querying artist’s client base.  Although, the gallery curator may not be able to give you complete picture of artist’s customers, you get a sense of who buys his art. For instance, if museums or other galleries bought more paintings in the past than collectors did, you can ensure that majority of his artworks are more suited for public display purposes. That is, his paintings have some unique quality that’s capable of attracting the masses. On other hand, if private collectors bought majority of his previous creations, then these paintings are more of an investment material than just wall décor. So what can we learn from here? A popular artist needs to have a balance of customers. If only private collectors bought his paintings, the artist would remain lesser known throughout his life. So, we should invest in paintings of artists who also have art displayed at museums and galleries.



  • Do you have price list available? Can you buy prints?

It’s a truth that unless you are a popular artist, you will have unsold paintings. So, when you ask a gallery about price list of an artist’s paintings, you have two advantages. You will know the comparative prices of all his creations. You will know how many unsold art pieces are there from same artist. You could compare the prices of your potential purchase and all his previous creations. It will also tell you the prices of his recently sold creations. So, you can quickly compare the prices and make a decision. Just like how you estimated popularity of his artworks, you can estimate the same by asking for prints. A smart artist would always sell prints to market his original creations. So, ask him about art prints. If the answers are satisfactory, you can ensure that he is still climbing his career ladder. Soon he will be break out and become famous. If you received satisfactory answers to all the above questions, we should now proceed to the final question in the list.

  • Could you tell me more about this please?

Ask this question to gallery curator or artist and ask them to tell you more about your potential purchase. For better results, I recommend asking this to artist himself. Ask him about the meaning of this painting. Ask him what he liked. How he created this painting. Ask him what inspired him to create it. Talk about the things you liked in this painting.  Ask lot of related questions. If he’s truly passionate about his line of work, this would be the most pleasing question one has asked him. He would explain to you all the things about that painting. He would enthusiastically tell you the inspiration behind that painting. If artist’s ideas and your thoughts match, you can go ahead with purchase. And guess what? You have found an investable art that you truly love!


An art exhibition which sells artworks


As you saw, there is no straight-forward method to decide whether to invest in a budding artist. You need to know the passion and popularity of the artist before deciding your purchase. You must also look at artist’s previous paintings and their prices to understand whether you are paying the fair price for your purchase.


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