8 Online Galleries for Art Lovers to Buy Art

 UGallery painting in actual client home
 UGallery painting in actual client home
 UGallery painting in actual client home

If you’re like us, you enjoy seeing the latest art and discovering new artists. But staying on top of of the gallery scene is very time-consuming.

We have a friend who inspires us - He attends at least one First Friday art event each month, regularly visits all of the galleries within a hundred miles, chats with the gallerists and gets on a first name basis, checks out the new art shows, and makes a circuit of the large and small art museums in the Bay Area. We’re so lucky to live in an area with fine art, and we love going with our friend on some of these sojourns.

With physical galleries, you can go in and talk to someone, and you can experience the art in person. However, just figuring out which galleries cater to your tastes can take time, not to mention visiting the rotating shows each month.

Buying art online is a different story and the lack of a physical experience can be off-putting to some.

Buying art online doesn’t have to be an impersonal process. The right gallery will take the time to get to know you, even in a remote environment, and will help find the right piece of art for your space.

Luckily, we know a thing or two about buying and selling art online. We’ve been doing just that since opening UGallery in 2006, shipping thousands of original pieces to happy art collectors. We’re going to share with you the eight best places we’ve found to buy art online and why they made the list.

 

We’ll Assess These Online Galleries Based on the Following Criteria:Curating style - What are they known for?

  1. Curator availability - Can you talk to their art experts when you have questions
  2. Shipping - What’s the process for shipping and how much does it cost?
  3. Packaging - How much effort do they put in ensuring your art arrives in perfect condition?
  4. Return policy - How easy or challenging is it to return a piece if something goes wrong, and who bears the cost?
  5. Finding an online gallery you can purchase from with confidence is critical when you buy art online. These eight galleries can help.

The Best 8 Galleries to Buy Art Online

If you’re looking for:

Small, Curated Galleries:

Large Art Marketplaces:

Art Prints:

1. UGallery - Highly Curated and Helpful Gallery Staff

UGallery has been around since 2006. Land on the user-friendly site and you’re prompted to select your preferred style of art. While clicking through the site, you’re presented with original art curated for you. The focus is on connecting you with artwork you’ll love.Screenshot of the UGallery homepage from 2024

Professional Curation

The vetting process for new artists at UGallery is particularly thorough. Every artist application is reviewed by the UGallery curators, and only about 3% of artists are accepted. With a select circle of artists, you can actually get to know your favorites and follow their careers closely.

Expert Customer Service 

When you call or email, you don’t get an entry level customer service rep. You talk directly to Samantha or Alex, who are expert art advisors. Both have degrees in art history and art business and have served thousands of art collectors in the last 15 years. Meet the team >

Exclusive Art

UGallery offers exclusive artwork. This means two things:

  1. Every piece on UGallery’s website has been accepted by the curators
  2. You’re browsing paintings that are not for sale anywhere else
 

Custom Commissions

Another benefit is that you can commission work from your favorite UGallery artists. Samantha handles the process start-to-finish and works with the artist to make sure you get what you want, on-time and on-budget. Learn about commissions >UGallery commission in actual client home

High Standards of Shippines

All artwork is shipped in custom-made art boxes built by an exclusive box manufacturer. The boxes are built slightly bigger than the piece you purchased and are lined with three layers of high density foam to protect your art. The painting fits in the middle layer, with foam on both sides.

The package includes a card with details about your artwork. The artists may even drop a personal note before closing the box, which really adds to the buying experience. The structure of the boxes eliminates the need for packing peanuts, ensuring your art is secure when it arrives, without any of the mess.

UGallery in Broad Strokes

  • Curating style - Highly-vetted selection of artwork and artists, with the option for customized commissions.
  • Curator availability - UGallery works closely with you to help you find the right piece of art for your space.
  • Shipping - Free shipping in the contiguous US. International shipping is available, as is shipping to Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Packaging - Art is shipped in custom-fit boxes that are lined with high density foam for extra protection.
  • Return policy - Try your artwork at home for seven days. Return it for free if you don't love it. Full return policy here.

2. Affordable Art Fair - Art That Doesn’t Cost a Fortune

In 1999 Affordable Art Fair started out as in-person events held in the UK with the goal of bringing original art to people at an affordable price. It has since grown into a series of worldwide exhibitions with the same mission of making art available to everyone at reasonable prices.

True to their word, they continue to maintain a cap on the price of artwork purchased through their website.

If you’re looking to get started with art collecting, the Affordable Art Fair is a good jumping-off point. As an in-person event, the Affordable Art Fair offers a fantastic experience. They have personal art advisors on site and the gallery staff is very knowledgeable. If you live near an Affordable Art Fair and are in the market for art, it’s definitely worth checking out. (UGallery actually hosted a booth at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City for nine years.)

Affordable Art Fair in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - Affordably priced, original art.
  2. Curator availability - Not available for online purchases.
  3. Shipping - Depends on the seller. They include a shipping calculator on the art product page to help you understand costs. Shipping times range from a few days to upwards of twenty days.
  4. Packaging - Currently, they do not have details on packaging available online.
  5. Return policy - They offer a 14-day compatibility period for all pieces bought via their online marketplace, subject to exclusions.

3. Degree Art - Promoting Students and Young Artists

What’s nice about Degree Art is the opportunity to support up-and-coming artists. As the name implies, there is an emphasis on student artists and recent graduates. If you’re in the UK, you can arrange to view select works from their collection in-person and they offer financing for greater payment flexibility.

Degree Art in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - Supporting students and emerging artists.
  2. Curator availability - They offer art advisory services.
  3. Shipping - If you’re in the UK, you can pick it up. International delivery takes up to 10 days. Shipping prices range from £15 to £100.
  4. Packaging - No information available online.
  5. Return policy - 14 day return policy with free returns.

4. Artfinder - Supporting the Global Arts Community

ArtFinder is all about supporting artist communities. As an added bonus, ArtFinder is a B Corp, which means they measure and share their impact on the environment and their artists. They have an additional focus on planting trees as part of their mission.

Artfinder in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - A marketplace for artists.
  2. Curator availability - Personal shoppers are available for $200, credited towards future purchases.
  3. Shipping - Artists are responsible for shipping their art. They choose the delivery mechanism.
  4. Packaging - Depends on the artist and their shipping preferences.
  5. Return policy - They offer a 14-day return policy and will refund the artwork's value and shipping costs once the artwork has been delivered back to the artist.

5. Saatchi Art - Millions of Pieces of Art to Browse

Saatchi Art was established by Charles Saatchi in 2006 as a social platform for artists around the world. In recent years, ownership changed when the company was purchased by investors.

Saatchi Art offers a little something for everyone, from photographs to paintings, to sculptures and prints. If you want to browse art, they’re a great place to start.

In contrast to some online galleries, Saatchi doesn’t limit the artists that can sell work on their site. Almost anyone can sign up. This is a great benefit for artists looking to share their portfolio online.

On the one hand, you can peruse a very wide variety of works, but it can be challenging to navigate the millions of pieces of artwork that Saatchi Art represents. Their Art Advisor Service is helpful to narrow it down.

Also, Saatchi Art offers inexpensive prints of most of the art they represent. Prints are a good option for people who:

  1. Are getting started with buying art and aren't ready to take the plunge with originals yet.
  2. Want to fill many walls on a tight budget.

Saatchi Art in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - Huge selection of art grouped into themed collections.
  2. Curator availability - Yes, through their art advisor service.
  3. Shipping - They offer global shipping and Door-to-Door Delivery Service
  4. Packaging - Handled by the artist. Packaging options are typically a cardboard box, a wooden crate, or a dent-resistant tube, depending on what you’ve purchased.
  5. Return policy - Refunds within 7 days, with some stipulations such as packaging the art for return yourself and covering shipping costs if Saatchi Art determines the artwork was accurately described on their site and you’re returning because you didn’t like it in-person.

6. Singulart - Art From Around the World

Singulart recruits artists from around the world. If you’re looking for art from Azerbaijan to Zambia, they have a filter that sorts artists by nearly every nationality. With their live chat feature, you can quickly get answers to your questions or guidance from their staff.

Singulart in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - Works with global artists.
  2. Curator availability - Either through email or live chat on their site.
  3. Shipping - Shipping cost is calculated at checkout based on location.
  4. Packaging - Artists follow a packaging process determined by Singulart.
  5. Return policy - They offer a 14-day return policy.

7. Artsy - Auctions and Art by Famous Artists

If original art by famous artists is your thing, then Artsy is the online gallery for you. Artsy features over 1 million pieces of art from over 100,000 different artists and bills itself as the largest online art marketplace in the world. People looking for high end auctions and information about blue chip art will be right at home with Artsy.

Artsy showcases artwork by museums and blue chip art galleries. They also publish educational resources about famous artists. If you're in the market for a six or seven-figure artwork but unable to visit a gallery in person, Artsy is the place to go, virtually speaking.

Artsy has an app that uses augmented reality to show you what a piece of artwork would look like in your home. This increases the odds of receiving an artwork that fits as expected on your wall.

Artsy in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - Represents galleries and museums who choose what they list for sale.
  2. Curator availability - Yes, they offer advisory services.
  3. Shipping - Handled by the seller and varies greatly from piece to piece. Factors like where you’re located, the size of the artwork, and shipping materials can influence the final costs.
  4. Packaging - Sellers are responsible for paying any packaging.
  5. Return policy - The return policy is unique for each seller. Artsy advises potential customers to ask at the time of purchase to ensure the most accurate information.

8. Minted - on-demand Prints and Some Fine Art

Minted’s main business is printed materials such as invitations, calendars, and personalized stationery, and they also do fine art prints and facilitate commissions with artists they represent.

They’re probably not the first place you’d go looking for art, but they’re a great choice for people who want high-quality prints. They are a printing business after all.

Minted can be a good resource for art newbies looking for wall furnishings that are a step above college posters of Van Gogh, but who aren’t quite ready to spend money on original paintings.

Minted in Broad Strokes

  1. Curating style - High-quality prints, with fine art as a secondary business.
  2. Curator availability - Their option for direct curator engagement is currently not available.
  3. Shipping - Roughly ten days with standard shipping time for prints. Prices range from $0 to $100.
  4. Packaging - Depends on what you order. Fine art is shipped in a sturdy mailer or box.
  5. Return policy - Free returns on prints. Commissions are managed by the artist.

How to Choose an Online Art Gallery:

Packaging and Shipping Are Critical When Buying Art Online

This is probably the most important piece of logistics to consider when deciding whether to purchase.

How your art is shipped can mean the difference between a piece that arrives in pristine condition or one that is warped and crushed en-route.

You want to buy from a gallery that really understands the mechanics of safely shipping art. It’s not just about stuffing t he canvas in a box and sending it through the post office. The gallery or artist must take care to ensure that everything is packed in an appropriately sized and padded box.

This is why UGallery has a relationship with a box manufacturer who produces custom boxes. Each box is slightly bigger than the artwork and is lined with high-density foam for added protection. Everything is snug and safe in a box that was designed to ship that particular piece.

Know the People Behind the Gallery

When you’re investing in art, you want to feel confident that you’re dealing with a company that has your best interests in mind. Online art galleries are no different.

You want to work with people who are passionate about the business and are happy to answer your questions. Working with art e xperts who take the time to identify exactly what you are looking for gives you peace of mind and prevents buyer’s remorse. When you aren’t exactly sure, art advisors are really good at listening to and finding the hidden gems that you might otherwise overlook.

For even seasoned collectors, working with a curator adds value. No matter how much you love art and have familiarity with style and trends, art advisors can help you connect with new artists and fresh art.

To summarize, no matter what their specialty, look for a gallery that offers personalized curation services, responsive and caring customer service, and an understanding of what it takes to get original art safely from point A to point B.

Who is Ugallery a Best Fit for?

At UGallery we love working with art lovers of all kinds – from the confident customer who has purchased art before and knows exactly where they’re going to hang their new art, to the uncertain newbie who needs more guidance throughout the process.

What all of our customers have in common is the desire for something original that connects them with the artists. With UGallery, you’re getting one-of-a-kind art from artists who value each customer interaction.

Once you buy from UGallery, we welcome feedback in the form of comments on our artists’ profiles, connecting you to the artists directly. Building a community of artists and collectors is something we take pride in and we’d love for you to become part of our inner circle.

Ready to find your next art purchase? Browse our hand-picked collections and find the perfect piece.