Find a reputable dealer
The first tip on how to buy art prints online entails finding a reputable company. Get recommendations from friends, read reviews on the Internet, and make sure the business operates in an ethical manner and has been around for a while. Take your time and explore the options. If you have a particular artist or work in mind, look for sites that offer you the facility to search and browse by category such as style, artist, price, size, color, theme, and even technique.
Understand the different kinds of prints
The second tip for how to buy art prints online concerns your ability to distinguish the various types of prints out there. They come in a wide array of formats that greatly affect the price of the print you want to buy.
Original art tends to be the most expensive art prints to purchase. They are not reproductions but unique handmade works of art that include paintings, woodcuts, etchings, engravings, screen printing, lithographs, serigraphs or linoleum cuts. They are typically numbered in a limited run because the materials wear out in time. The first print in the series is often called an artist's proof. Most runs of such prints are less than 200. A 'limited edition reproduction' is a series of prints, in smaller print runs, which makes the image more exclusive. Each print should be signed and numbered in pencil and be accompanied by a certificate or other guarantee that no other reproductions will be made of the image. Artists who work in the medium of digitally-produced works often produce larger runs because the materials involved do not wear out over time.
Reproductions usually cost much less than original pieces of art. An 'open edition reproduction' refers to a series of prints in the form of posters that can be of any quantity, and the image might also be reproduced on other objects such as mugs or plates. In some cases, the dealer will be using digital print-on-demand technology, that is, the number of images produced is determined based on current demand. If you are interested in limited edition original art, use Google and search for "buying art prints online." The results are impressive!
Check the print quality and condition
The next tip for how to buy art prints online has to do with the product's quality and condition (even more so, if you intend to purchase an antique print). You want the print to endure over time, which means you need its material to be of sufficiently high quality, so ensure the following:
- Paper should be archival quality, that is resistant to light for 100 years or more
- Paper should be at least 67lb, the basic weight in the US, or 250gsm (grams per square meter) in countries using the metric system
- which is the basic weight in the US or 250gsm in countries using the metric system
- Have acidity between pH7 and pH10
- Have a lightfast ranking of 6 or more on the Blue Wool Scale.
Protect your investmentThe final tip on how to buy art prints online describes how to safe-keep your purchase for many years to come. The best way to protect your investment is to have it framed using preservation methods (also called conservation or archival framing).
- An important component in framing is the use of acid-free matting, which comes in a variety of colors and textures that enhance the visual appeal of your print. But the primary purpose of matting is to create a space between the glass and the print in order to prevent the image from coming into contact with any condensation that might form on the glass. If matting does not suit your taste, then the use of acrylic spacers will achieve the same level of protection.
- Another factor to consider is whether to display the print behind glass or acrylic, which may or may not include glare reduction.
- Most essential in protecting the image are the various types of glazes that can be applied, all of which provide different levels of UV protection. If there is any chance your print will be exposed to UV light, choose a product that offers maximum protection. The options are many and range from no protection at all to filtering out 98% of UV rays. And of course, the greater the level of protection, the greater the cost.
If you intend to buy your art print online, ensure that proper packaging will be used to ship it - for posters, a sturdy cardboard tube will do. Have fun shopping!