Chapter 5
Buying Art For Yourself
The number one question I hear by far is, "I see
something I like, but how do I know this piece is
being sold for a fair price and worth what I'm paying
for it?" The answer is a long but simple one.
I see the stories on TV too, where Van Goughs,
Rembrandts and such sell for incredible amounts of money,
but in the gallery there are no Van Goughs or Rembrandts
being sold; therefore there really isn't the same level of
tracking and validation with gallery fine art as compared to
master works sold through major private auctions. (This
does not include hotel auctions, which we'll look at
later in the tour.)
A lot of industries have set standards for establishing
price and people have a fairly good feel for how these prices
work. If you walk into five grocery stores you know the
prices will not be the same but most of the prices will be
very similar.  The art industry is dramatically different.
Unless the artist is involved with program art and you know
for a fact the gallery you're in sticks to the retail list price,
you must do your own research.
Even if you know the artist to be popular and well-
established you should take twenty minutes to research the
price of the piece you are looking at. You may find one, two
or several galleries willing to work with you on
accommodating the price or who already have the piece at a
fairer value. The important thing to do is get an idea
of where the value for this piece is today and how
the artist is progressing in their career.