How to purchase art overseas: An expert’s guide

Jan 27, 2017

Finding that perfect statement art piece amid a sea of both original creations and replicas can be befuddling. Martin Gerlier, resident art advisor at S Gallery in Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, shares his insider tips on purchasing art overseas and where to bag some cool finds.

 1. Only buy what you like

This is the most important rule of all. You must be ready to live with the artwork you’ve purchased for a long time, and ultimately, you can never go wrong if you love it. You will be astonished at the impact a piece of art can have on your life.

2. Familiarise yourself with art

Art is personal and intimate, but is also an experience that you can share with others. Knowledge is key, and to acquire this knowledge, one has to visit museums, art fairs, galleries and artist’s studios. The more art you see, the more you will understand what you like and ultimately, be comfortable with what you purchase. There are also numerous publications online that can help you better understand the world of art and art history.

3. Do your own research

It is critical to know exactly what you purchase, who the artist is, who he has exhibited with, who he is represented by, and the collectors of his work. There is no harm in asking the seller as many questions as necessary. There are also many ways to check the price; by attending several auctions or doing online research. Most importantly, you must obtain all the relevant documentation and paperwork pertaining to the artwork. These include certificates of authenticity and provenance, and the bill of sale.

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4. Seek an experienced art advisor

It is difficult for a novice to know where to start and how to choose the right artists and art pieces; it is not only a matter of taste. It is critical to seek advice from well-qualified and experienced professionals to navigate the world of art. There are many parameters to take into account when purchasing art, including authenticity, provenance, and condition.