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Cultural Crossroads

Ask Roxane: How Do I Buy Art Online?

Roxane Zand, Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman of the Middle East shares her wealth of life experience with readers of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia in her regular column where she answers questions on love, life and luxury. Take a look at an extract from her column below and visit Harper’s Bazaar Arabia to read more.

What do I need to know before buying art online?

More and more buyers are choosing to buy art online. This includes young and first-time buyers, but certainly does not exclude seasoned ones. A great platform for emerging talent, the works of such masters as Picasso have nevertheless also appeared in online auctions and with secure, trusted sources such as the major auction houses, there is nothing more tempting than shopping from the comfort of your own home or even from your mobile. Certain online sales can be previewed at auction house premises if you happen to be in the relevant city at the right time. But even without viewing the work, little can go wrong if you are buying a well-catalogued, well-known artist from Sotheby's for example. First and foremost you must register to bid online.

This is an easy process where an account is created for you. Then you should check the terms and conditions – a few online sales still have the advantage of no buyers’ premium. The range of sales categories and merchandise is surprisingly extensive – a quick visit to the website will let you know what is upcoming. With a total of 36 online sales at Sotheby's last year, up from 16 in 2016, there is a lot to choose from: jewellery, prints, design, decorative arts, collectables, and even Old Masters. Top tips to remember, as it’s easy to forget to check something when you are buying remotely: Be detail-oriented and read all the information, terms and conditions, the size of the work and so on, and call the auction house with any queries. Monitor the auction as it proceeds since it allows you to keep track. Delivery to your doorstep and the possibility of returning property ensures a convenience few would have imagined before. Is it any surprise that the Guardian has declared this the new way of purchasing art?

Read more from Roxane at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia including:
What is a good pick-me-up?

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