As You Wish sat down with Shanna Hennig, Art Consultant & Fine Art Appraiser for this week’s blog on how to buy, sell & maintain art.

Buying Art …

-          Don’t be intimidated. Art can be very affordable.

-          Do your homework. Visit galleries, festivals and museums to see what you like, whether is a certain color, scheme, texture, size. There a lot of options.

-          What is your esthetic, is your taste more traditional or Contemporary?  If you are not sure, an art consultant can help you to explore what artwork best fits your lifestyle and interest.

-          Before buying, ensure that you are working with a trusted source, when in doubt, Shanna suggests working with galleries that are members of a dealer association, such as the Art Dealers Association of America, Denver Art Dealers Association, or the International Fine Print Dealers Association. Hiring an art consultant can be very valuable in vetting reputable art dealers and assuring that the transaction goes smoothly, so you get the work you love at the most appropiate price.

-          Depending on the artist, there are several ways you can acquire an artwork.  Some Contemporary artists represent themselves; however, the most typical channel for buying most is through the gallery market.  Work by more established artists can be found at auction.  While most people are familiar with the major auction houses, many don't realize there are also smaller, often regional auctions where you can find affordable and accessible artwork. 

-  A new trend is purchasing artwork online, and while a buyer should certainly be cautious, there are several great and reputable online galleries.  Artwork Network, for example, represents hundreds artists globally and you can search by style, price range, size, etc.  Through Artwork Network's digital placement technology, you can actually place the work on your wall virtually to see if you like it before you buy it.  The online gallery also offers a "Love it or Leave it" Guarantee so you can return it if it just isn't right. Other online resourses for purchasing artwork include (also a great artitst research tool!) and  But as always, buyer beware.  Do your homework or retain an art consultant to assist you with your purchase.  They can make sure the art is priced accurately and the art is in good condition.

Maintaining Art …

-          After purchasing your artwork, keep all records; invoices, certificates & previous owners information if applicable.  Inevitably, you will be asked for this documentation at some point--whether you decide to sell your art, donate it or gift it to a relative--so make sure you keep your paperwork.  Also, take photos of your art.

-          Get your artwork insured, it can be very inexpensive.  Insuring artwork is an after-thought but it is much more affordable than you would expect and will give you the piece of mind in the event of a loss.

-          Once you've purchased your work, it is best to again look to reputable art professionals to assist you in framing, hanging, and conserving your art.  Temperature and enviromnet can wreak havoc on art if it's not placed and maintained appropriately.  I alway suggest keeping a list of experts who can help you for as long as you own your art.  Finding these experts isn't as challenging as it sounds.  Again, check with trade organizations, the gallery where you purchased the work, or local museums are often willing to refer patrons to appropriate resources. 

-          Owning art shouldn't be intimidating; it should be enjoyable!  Like virtually everything art collection management can be outsourced.  Regardless of the size of your collection, many art consultants offer collection management services and take care of your art for you. 

-  There might come a time in the future that you will need to have an artwork appraised--most commonly for trust and estate needs (donating or gifting)  andinsurance coverage, for example.  Shanna recomends finding an appraiser in your area who is accredited by one of the major appraisal associations--American Society of Appraisers, Appraisers Association of America or International Society of Appraisers. 

Selling Art …

-          Gather all of your paperwork.  It is helpful to provide as much information and documentation as possible to potential dealers or buyers--the sales invoice, past appraisals, condition reports.  Being able to validate that your work has been well maintained can result in a higher sales price.

-          Take a few good quality digital photographs of the work, as dealers/buyers will likely want to review the work before meeting you in person.

-          I highly recommend working with an art consultant, as he/she will be able to research the work and determine the most appropriate market to garner the highest price for the work. A reputable, professional consultant is an expert in the art market and will be able to do the research, make the approiate connections and negotiate sales on your behalf. 

-          If you have strong personal knowledge about an artist or his/her market, you may choose to reach out to the artist or his/her dealer directly.  They may know of other collectors who are or consignment to the g the piece of mind that , as an expert in the art field ontact the artist, dealer or gallery where you purchased the original art, they may want to buy it back

-           As with purchasing artwork, sources such as Artwork Network, offer brokerage listing services.  You have the opportunity to sell your artwork through their website to a targeted market of potential art buyers. 

Shanna Hennig is an independent art consultant and appraiser. Shanna holds a Certificate of Fine Art Appraisal from The University of California, Irvine and a Business Degree from TCU in Fort Worth, TX. Shanna has experience in Fine Art Insurance and Gallery Management and sits on the Steering Committee of the Clyfford Still Museum’s 1944 Society.


For more information or questions on buying, maintain or selling art,
Shanna can be reached at,

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