Art Prints: How to Buy Graphic Prints Online

Graphic Prints (or Art Prints) are one of the most popular art forms for art buyers and seasoned collectors, as well as artists. In fact, modern artists like Warhol and Picasso worked extensively with graphic prints, leading to an increased popularity of prints in the contemporary art marketplace.

Apart from their aesthetic charms, graphic prints also offer an affordable way to collect artworks by established and master artists. While a painting by Picasso can fetch millions at auction, his prints can be found at reasonable prices accessible to collectors with more conservative budgets. These prints are often highly collectable, with certain pieces especially sought-after and appropriate for investment.

Here are some things to consider when purchasing a graphic print online:

Explore: Don't rush when looking for the right graphic print. If you know what you're looking for, you can search by artist, style, size, price, etc., narrowing down an online selection to meet your needs. If you don't know exactly what you want, you can start by browsing by technique, color or theme. When something strikes your fancy, try looking for similar pieces, until you find just the right print.

A good gallery should have experienced art consultants who can help you in your search.

Budget: Decide how much you would like to spend. Graphic prints by emerging artists are available for less than $500 / EUR500, while prices for prints by modern masters may start in the thousands and reach six figures. An art consultant can help you find prints within your budget.

Discover: Before purchasing an original graphic print, learn about the style (Impressionist, Expressionist, Minimalist, etc.) and the type of graphic print you're considering. The most common graphic print techniques are woodcuts, lithographs, etchings, and serigraphs. Each technique has its own special qualities.

Most graphic prints are limited-editions, signed and numbered by the artist. Often, a print from smaller edition is more expensive than a print from a larger edition by the same artist--the logic being that the fewer the prints in an edition, the more valuable each one is. A print from an open edition (unlimited number of prints) may have a lower value and will often not be numbered, though it may still be signed and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity to confirm its authorship.

Read the details available on the artist. Whether the artist is emerging or established, you can get a good sense of his career by looking at a list of his exhibitions. Has he participated in important group exhibitions? Does he have solo exhibitions listed? Does he have any artworks in museums or prominent private collections? Has he won any awards for his work?

Feel free to ask questions. The same art consultants who can help you with your selection will gladly provide you with as much information as possible about the artist and his artwork.

Experiment: Share the artwork. Email a link to the artwork a friend or colleague for an opinion you can trust. Try to get a better idea of what the artwork will be like in person by taking advantage of special features like PicassoMio's tool that allows you to view the print against a variety of wall colors. A "view-to-scale" option will give you a sense of the size of the artwork, in a realistic setting.

Ensure: Check if the artwork comes with a certificate of authenticity that you feel comfortable with. Keep in mind that some graphic prints are signed and numbered on the front, others on the back, and some not at all. In the last case, it's especially important to have a certificate of authenticity.

Once you're sure you've found just the right graphic print, make sure you're buying from a trustworthy gallery. Read about the company and their website. Most credible websites provide detailed information about themselves. See if the website provides you with verified and secured online purchases. Read what their customers and the press have to say about them. Find out if the gallery has a reasonable returns policy. When you have done your due-diligence, buy the print and enjoy!

Resale: If you think that you may consider reselling the print at some time in the future,  it is important to ensure that the gallery you purchase the art from offers a resale assurance for artworks purchased from them. If so, it is important to be aware of the terms - as the commission rates vary. For example, major auction houses and galleries will typically charge a commission of 20% to 50%, while PicassoMio charges only 10%.  Further, if the gallery is local and sells only a few artworks each month, the resale assurance may not be worth a whole lot.