Why buy an original piece of art?
A work of art is a product of human genius. The work of a great artist can touch our emotions and make us understand things about the world and about being human, about shapes and about colour.
A work of art can give you pleasure everyday of your life. One should never stop finding new aspects within a work and new responses to the work. In buying a work of art from us we hope it will give you pleasure and fulfilment every time you look at it in the same way a great piece of music does every time you listen to it, or a great novel every time you read it.
The difference between a work of art and a novel or a piece of music is that you are the only person in the world to have that work of art (although in the case of an original graphic you may have to share that pleasure with another hundred or so people). This uniqueness contributes to the powerful economic value of a work of art, and for a whole complex of reasons and over time, the works of certain artists become more highly esteemed and desirable than others, therefore creating the varying market values of different works by different artists.
Deciding where to buy: galleries, auction houses, the internet
There are three main places where one can buy a work of art: at a gallery, at auction, or on the internet.
One of the advantages of a gallery is that the dealer will have already made not only a preliminary choice for you but also a commitment, both professional and financial, to the work of art, or to the artist, in the case of living artists which the gallery may choose to support.
- There are hundreds of galleries, so which one should you choose?
Each gallery will be committed to a different type of art and to different artists. You should find the gallery with a specialisation that accords to your own taste.
The ambience of the gallery is also important and the director and staff should be people with whom you feel at ease. It is important that you work with people to whom you feel comfortable posing questions, as you will undoubtedly have many queries and requests.
Not every dealer is as reputable as the next, so it is important to thoroughly check the credentials of the gallery i.e. length of time in business, membership of regulatory trade associations, representation at art fairs, and reputation within the trade.
Buying at auction can be great fun for those who completely understand what they want to purchase. However, it can be the cause of extremely expensive mistakes for those who do not.
An auction house does not commit to a painting in the same way as a gallery. They simply take a commission from the buyer and the seller. Obviously the higher the price that a painting achieves at auction, the bigger the commission they receive.
The auction houses are used by collectors and dealers to bring liquidity into the art market, providing a valuable resource for the exchange of works of art.
As with any open market, bargains can be found, but for those who do not know what they are doing they can end up paying substantially more than if they had walked to the gallery round the corner. For those who are beginners and are thinking of spending a reasonable amount of money it is advisable to ask the dealer with whom you have struck up a relationship to act on your behalf. This will cost, but will be very little in comparison to making an expensive mistake.
Purchasing works of art directly from the internet should only be done by those who are absolutely confident with the gallery or source from which they are buying, who are familiar with the artist whose work they are acquiring and who are relaxed about the work not being exactly how they see it on the net.
The role of the internet for the art market is far more useful in terms of introducing a wider clientele to particular galleries and their works and providing easier and wider access to this information and to the world of buying works of art.
Deciding what to buy and why:
The first and most important reason to buy any particular work is because you really like it and want to live with it.
Art can be a good investment but be careful as this should very much be a secondary consideration. Remember, the interest you will receive is the enjoyment you have from the painting. However, if you carefully choose good works of art that you love, which are by well-known names and which you are prepared to hold for the long term, you should obtain a reasonable return.
The amount you commit is a totally personal matter - just spend the amount you believe you can comfortably afford.
To assist you in your search we have given price indications for all the works on the site. You will see that we have included some sold paintings and drawings, just as there would be some sold works if you visited the gallery. Our aim is to give you an idea of the range and quality of art works in which we deal. If you so wish, you are able to exclude the sold works when you are conducting searches for available art works that meet your interest and requirements.
Thirdly, there is the question of whether you should buy a big name or someone less well known. There are no hard and fast rules here. You have to consider your budget, the size and quality of the work that you are looking to purchase and we will then assist you in securing the highest quality of work that meets your criteria. There is no point in buying an exquisite little drawing by Matisse or Picasso if, every time you look at it, you are frustrated that it is not a large painting.
Using this site as a starting point:
We have aimed to recreate on-line the experience of visiting Connaught Brown gallery.
In the Exhibition section of the site we invite you into the gallery to view a show-case of our recent acquisitions from our specialist field, or to view one of our special exhibitions focusing on a particular artist or theme (you can see an archive of the special exhibitions held in the past at the gallery in Exhibitions Programme). This should give you a good idea of the quality of works in which we deal in and a feel for the period and artists in which we specialize.
If these appeal then we would next invite you into the Stock Room where you can see more pieces, browse or search using more specific criteria.
Please note however that we are constantly buying and selling and the works that are featured on this site represent only a proportion of our holdings, so please Contact Us if you cannot find a particular work on the site to suit your requirements. Over the years, we have successfully located many works to meet more particular requirements of our collectors as they develop their collections.
Once you have chosen the works that you like, here are some pointers to additional things you might like to think about and to talk to us about:
- Getting an idea of what the work is actually like from the image on screen:
We would recommend that you try to view the work before buying it. However, this is not always possible and we have much experience in talking works through with our collectors to the extent that they can comfortably buy a work without viewing. With practice you can begin to get an idea of what the actual work would look like from the reproduction on the screen. The following hints should also assist you:
It is often difficult to imagine the size of an art work, so do take out the tape measure to help you visualize this.
These are a vitally important component to the overall visual presence of a work but they can always be changed. If you want to see the frame of any picture on the site we will email you a photograph of the picture in the frame. There is no right frame for a picture so if you do not like the current frame on a painting you are interested in, we will work with you to choose one which closer matches your personal taste.
- Condition of the work:
We only present works which are in good condition and which have not already been extensively restored.
We will of course answer any questions you may have about the condition of a work, and talk you through and explain any restoration work that may have been necessary.
- Authenticity of the work:
Connaught Brown presents for sale original and authentic works of art which we have ourselves verified and in which, with our experience and continued research in the periods in which we specialise, we have absolute confidence. We verify the reputed provenance, exhibition and literature history of the work and register it with the appropriate expert, where an expert exists for the artist in question. The majority of the works we deal in are either recorded in the Catalogue Raisonné for the artist in question or are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Where neither exists for an artist, Connaught Brown is happy to provide a guarantee of our authentication of the work.
- A particular feature of the gallery is that we provide texts on artists and particular works for our visitors and publish catalogues to accompany our important exhibitions. In this site we have provided information about the artists and particular works, and these sections link to articles on the movements and periods to which they belong. These articles are also available to browse directly through in the Art Movements section.
The other main part of enquiring more about a particular work’s value and potential interest for you is to find out more about the artist. A particular feature of the gallery is that we provide texts on artists and particular works for our visitors and publish catalogues to accompany our important exhibitions. In this site we have provided information about the artists and particular works, and these sections link to articles on the movements and periods to which they belong. These articles are also available to browse directly through the Art Movements section.