How to Become an Online Art Dealer

Art Dealing

Do you have the knack for deciphering illegible handwriting? Do you enjoy using clues to solve puzzles? Do you have the time and patience to undertake some basic research? If you have answered yes to these questions, then you may well have the skills and attributes necessary to become an art detective and make money buying and selling old paintings.

In this article we will talk about how to sell art online and make money from it. You probably never pictured yourself as an art dealer, and in the past, you would have been forgiven for assuming that only those with specific experience and expertise in the art could make money at it. However, the evolution of the Internet both as a marketplace and as an information resource has provided the layman with all the tools necessary to do just that.

Old Paintings

Old paintings can provide great opportunities for entrepreneurial traders in the online market place. The value of a painting lies not necessarily in the materials used to create the piece, but instead in the reputation of the artist. However, in many cases the identity of the artist is not immediately apparent.

Perhaps the painting was signed with his or her initials, or the signature is indistinct and difficult to read. Over generations, as the painting passes from owner to owner, place to place, and year to year, the history of the piece becomes lost and forgotten. In such cases, research may be necessary to work out who the artist is, and therefore what the piece is worth. However, in this fast-paced world, many online sellers either don't bother with this or don't know-how.

Online Auction

As a result, online auction sites list hundreds of paintings by unknown artists, in all price ranges, styles, shapes, sizes, and conditions, from all periods in history. Many will not have any significant financial worth; however, research may show some to be attributable to lesser-known listed artists. These probably could be bought cheaply and then sold, possibly for a good profit.

If you fancy yourself as something of an artistic Sherlock Holmes and think you would like to try your hand at seeking out those online bargains, then here are some basic steps to help get you started:

Step 1: Searching online for paintings to buy.

Always remember that you are searching for original paintings (not prints or modern reproductions) that can be bought cheaply and then sold on later for a profit. Your best chance of doing this is to identify paintings that, with a little research, can be attributed to known or "listed" artists.

Use search terms that will lead you to paintings that are signed but where the identity of the artist is not immediately apparent or has not been included in the item description by the seller. Paintings signed in monogram or those with signatures that are hard to read, is a good place to start. Search terms such as "ineligible," "unreadable," "unidentified," "indistinct," "can't read," or "monogram" may all help to do this.

If the seller has provided good images of the painting, and the signature, then these can be Listed as a basis for your research. At this point, the countdown is on, as you are in a race to complete your research before the listing expires or the online auction ends.

Step 2: Paintings Research

Researching paintings for sale and identifying artists. Websites that collate art auction results and artwork images are the most valuable information resource for researching and identifying artists. These websites exist primarily as commercial enterprises, providing services for auction houses and art appraisers all around the world.

However, the information they maintain can be accessed by anyone, and amateur art detectives can get all the information needed to carry out their research. Many of these sites, such as Art price or Invaluable are subscription-based and incur a charge to access their records. However, most provide short-term access that is relatively inexpensive.

There are also a small number of online resources that offer free access to records, such as websites have flexible search engines that enable you to search for an artist's name using only those letters you know are correct, and replacing letters you aren't sure of with "wildcard" symbols, such as an asterisk or plus. For example, you might begin your research of a painting signed "H.B." by searching H*B* on the website search engine. The website search results will provide you with a list of artists whose names start with those letters.

One of the best websites for using wildcard symbols in this respect is Findartinfo. Searching auction records in this way will narrow down your search considerably, providing you a starting point for your research with a list of names that match your criteria. By researching the work of each artist on the list in turn, and images of examples of their work, it should be relatively simple to identify those artists with the correct letters in their names.

Arts & Culture Business

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