Can I Buy Art From An Art Gallery?

Can I Buy Art From An Art Gallery?

The simple answer to whether you can buy art from an art gallery is: yes, of course, you can. However, things aren’t as simple as that. To prevent any surprises, it is essential to ask the gallery about added costs like value-added taxes or shipping fees. Finally, do a confirmation check that you have all the relevant documentation from the invoices to certificates of authenticity so that it is easy to donate or resell the piece later on. Here are some of the critical steps to follow before buying a work of art from the art gallery.

Shipping Details

The cost of shipping and insurance of the artwork, the method of delivery and the estimated time of arrival are all listed in the shipping details. Shipping is an additional expense most of the time, so it is advised to consider these costs before agreeing to the sale. Also, before buying the artwork, it is possible to ask the gallery for a shipping quote and the estimated time of delivery.


Added Costs

Works of art are also subject to the same added costs like value-added taxes (VAT) and customs duties as any other high-value purchase. These expenses do not involve the gallery and hence do not appear on the invoice of the gallery. It is possible to make a more informed purchase if all of the costs associated with the artwork are taken into account. For example, you might require lighting for the artwork which you can buy from websites like The gallery does not cover this kind of expense. You can also expect to pay some form of import tax if you are shipping artwork to or from other countries.

The Invoice

The lasting record of the purchase of an item is known as the invoice and provides detailed information about the sale, like the name of the artist, the dimensions of the artwork, and the gallery’s address. The invoice is required to demonstrate the ownership of the work and the monetary value of the same. For example, the invoice might need to be provided when buying artwork insurance or consigning the work to an auction house. Once you are completely committed to buying the artwork, you can also ask the gallery to send a pro forma or preliminary invoice for a review of the same which can help double-check the details of the sale before payment. After buying the work, the gallery will provide you with another version of the invoice, which will be marked as “paid.” This invoice is the document that proves the ownership of the piece, so it is strongly advised to save it for your records.