As someone who loves interior design, it’s not surprising that I’m drawn to artwork as well. I love it for the unique, sentimental quality it can bring to a space and the way it can transform a room. On a personal level, it’s something Joe and I both appreciate and seek out together. We’d even added a line item to our budget to save for future fine art purchases. The fact that Joe and I really like to browse together means a lot to me. He’s removed from most decor choices in our home but he enjoys browsing for art, which makes the process meaningful for both of us.
We bought our first large piece of artwork for our first home together, a modern apartment. In the first home we purchased, we didn’t buy investment art pieces because we spent most of our money on various remodels and home updates. In our current home, we’ve added several original art pieces over time.
We’ve shared multiple blog posts over the years highlighting various art sources, many of which were intentionally on the more budget-friendly end of the spectrum. And while there is absolutely a time and place for purchasing pieces at lower price points, the focus of this post is on fine art, primarily pieces that are original or limited edition. There are plenty of reasons to purchase original or limited-edition artwork. One of the most important is that it’s a tangible way to place value on the talent and skill of the artists, whose livelihood is their art.
Even if investment art pieces are not in your budget right now, I still recommend browsing art at all price points. I think once you dip your toe into the world of art, you realize the value that art can have, and you get more accustomed to the experience and to what you like. It’s about the relationship you have to different pieces and allowing that to inform the kind of art you may purchase in the future. Art in a home is about the people who inhabit it, their tastes, and their points of view, and it’s a wonderful way of reflecting those things visually.
Saatchi Art is a massive marketplace where artists can sell both their original works and reproductions of their pieces. On a night when I don’t feel like doing anything else, I’ll tuck into my iPad, browse the site, and save pieces that catch my eye. Throughout the process, I have found some artists I love that I never would have come across otherwise. My favorite way to browse is by medium because you can navigate your way through the site with curiosity and ease.
Chairish is a marketplace for beautiful, unique home pieces and its art collection is no exception. You can find vintage pieces, oil paintings, and so much more. Often pieces come framed and ready to hang. I’ve purchased some great Roman reliefs on plaster and some small oil paintings, and I’ve always been very happy with my purchase. The prices are higher than what you’d find at an antique store—although there is the option of negotiating—so that is something to keep in mind! Also, they do have a strict return policy—you only have forty-eight hours after delivery to submit your return.
St. Frank is a really intriguing source for unique art objects or textiles. I think this kind of artwork in particular sparks curiosity and encourages people to learn more about what they’re buying. The pieces they sell are a great way to bring texture, color, and pattern into a home. The print we have in our family room has exactly that effect.
I first heard about Magnum Photos through my friend Leslie, a co-owner of an art gallery in Minneapolis (more on that below!). Magnum Photos sells limited-edition photography prints. I find the kind of documentary-style photography they feature to be so captivating. It’s a freeze-frame in time that can provide a flood of emotion. I like to browse through their prints and save ones I may want to purchase in the future.
Artsy is a large marketplace featuring pieces that range in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up to prices in the seven figures. It is a wonderful place to browse and get acquainted with what you like. Whether or not you choose to buy anything, you can create a profile, save pieces, and build up a library of art that speaks to you.
Exhibition A is a really interesting site with tons of beautiful pieces. While I haven’t yet purchased from them, when I was looking for marketplaces that were really thoughtful about the artists they featured, this one came up time and time again. They carry pieces from a broad array of artists and sell everything from original pieces to limited-edition prints to unique objects and sculptures.
Tappan Collective is meant to be a different way to find original and limited-run pieces from emerging artists. It’s very much about the curators and the artists they’re bringing in to feature. If you like what you see, I recommend subscribing to their newsletter to keep up with the new artists they’re showcasing!
Uprise Art is a somewhat similar site to Exhibition A and Tappan Collective. It’s meant to be a unique way to browse and buy original pieces from emerging artists online. We have a piece by artist Stacey Beach hanging in our main hallway. Again, if you like what you see on their site, I recommend subscribing to their newsletter to keep up with their newest arrivals.
ArtStar is a large art marketplace featuring contemporary art in original and limited-edition prints. The style range is definitely more focused, which can make it easier to navigate. It’s a different way to browse and experience contemporary pieces.
Newer to the fine art space is Minted, one of my longtime favorite places to browse for art. Two of the pieces in our family room are from Minted, hanging on either side of our fireplace—the She’s Blooming print and The Fox Takes Off Her Gloves print. You can browse original pieces along with a wide selection of limited-edition prints on their site.
Weinstein Hammons Gallery is a local gallery where I’ve made my significant art investments. My friend Leslie is a co-owner of the gallery and they’re always curating really interesting shows with amazing artists. I purchased the Venice print in our dining room from artist Gail Albert Halaban and the painting in the peach room from Paolo Ventura’s Quarantine Diary exhibition.
Whether you’re in Minneapolis or a different city, these kinds of galleries are really special to have in our neighborhoods. Wherever you are, I encourage you to make an appointment (or visit during open hours), ask questions, enjoy the art that’s there, and, if and when the time comes, consider purchasing a piece. Being exposed to art in local, curated galleries is something I wish more people did.
The MCAD Art Sale is a great spot for those local to the Twin Cities. It’s long been a rec I’ve received and have given to others who are looking to purchase original pieces from local artists. It’s always an event and really interesting to see the talent coming out of the school. For those not local to the Twin Cities, there are bound to be other sales at art schools around the country. It’s something that’s well worth exploring in your own community!
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BY Kate Arends - February 23, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.