Online Art Sales – How to Buy Quality Originals For the Price of Prints

Browsing online art sales in search for original paintings to add to your private collection or to decorate a wall could be tantalizing and time consuming experience. Part of it comes from the prices, which are usually too high for a casual art collector to afford unless she is ready to compromise in some way.
One compromise to consider is to sacrifice canvas size. Depending on the goals of the collector, this may not be always desirable. Besides top artists would sell even small pieces for high prices.
Another approach is to be less picky in terms of quality. When considering a painting posted on eBay or any other art sales website, the buyer is guided only by her taste and personal perception of the quality of art. Art is subjective and if the buyer feels confident, such approach is completely acceptable.
However in most cases a wise buyer would look for some additional support for her decision, some kind of endorsement of the painting quality. This may come as credentials or established reputation of the painter, size-able following and alike. But, as expected, popular accomplished artists rarely sell their art directly through general online auctions. And when they do, they usually fetch a high auction price anyway. In other words, bidding on traditional online auctions for an original painting of good quality usually results in premium price on anything worth bidding for.
Settling for prints instead of originals may be viewed as a solution to this. Sadly, this least resistance approach reinforces a centuries-old stereotype – originals are not affordable, they belong to the museums and to the living rooms of millionaires or people of royal blood.
To make more sense of what we about to propose, consider a quick break down of economics of buying prints. A typical good quality print costs around hundred dollars or more. To compensate for cheaper look of the print, a fancy frame – may be even a custom made one – is usually purchased. Such frame may come at the price of couple hundred dollars. In this scenario the print and the frame together may easily total to something well above two hundred dollars.
Now consider a completely different approach. The buyer cuts expenses on framing by buying a mass-produced regular frame. But instead of a print she goes after some original painting for a price comparable to that one of a print. Leaving the aspect of art quality aside for a moment, it is possible to buy a painting through online auctions for just few dollars. It is hard to argue that a print is no match to an original painting even when the original is framed very inexpensively.
But is it possible to buy high quality original art at such low price? A number of prolific accomplished artists united under a group name Undisclosed Artists sell their peer-endorsed art anonymously for exactly such inexpensive prices. The catch is that the paintings are sold unsigned. (Yes, there is still a compromise to make.)

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