Online Art Auctions, a fast growing trend

Get updated on online art auctions and get the best tips

Online Auction

Have you tried to participate at an art auction? Well, if not, I hurry to say it’s not dangerous. I know the stories well with the lady sneezing, and the auctioneer took it as a bid or the man who scratched behind his ear and suddenly became the winner of something, he was not interested in at all. I think it’s most anecdotes from the pub.

Attending an online auction is as safe as attending a regular auction. Of course, you may click by mistake, it has happened, but there is no need to take sedative medication or empty an extra bottle of wine for that reason. In fact, you are much better helped at online auctions, because if the online auction house is registered inside the European Union, you always have 14-days return rights. This right can never be debated.

As an art dealer, I have purchased many artworks at online auctions. You can, of course, claim that it is easier for me than you, as my job is to buy and sell art. That may be true, but where I purchase art to sell it again, after all, you only buy the artwork in which you have fallen in love. You do not have to consider profit and resale values.

The good thing about art auctions like the one I represent, BeArte Auction, is the opportunity to make an excellent purchase. Relaxed on the couch at home, you can follow various auctions and wait for precisely the painting you are looking for to come to auction. I dare promise you that in the vast majority of cases, you will end up buying the painting well below its real value. That’s the whole point of auctions. You can make a good purchase. Of course, there is also the art that is sold for far above valuation. But it will often be investment art that is not of relevance for most budgets.

Buying art online is a bit like going for the best deals when shopping. It’s like Black Friday every day. You know which shirt or dress you would like, but the price is too high. Therefore, you wait for the next sale and hope to be able to acquire the shoes of your dream. The same goes for online art auctions. You may be in love with an artist, or a style, and can stay relaxed and wait until your favourite artwork comes up for auction and then participate and hope you get the huge discount.


The market for online art auctions has been increasing every year for the past three years, and the trend seems to be continuing. From 2017 to 2018, the global auction turnover for contemporary art rose 19%, reaching $ 1.9 billion. The volume of transactions grew 17% with 66,850 Contemporary lots sold. The global unsold rate remained stable at 39%. The price index of Contemporary art increased by 18.5%. The almost identical increase in the Market’s three leading indicators suggests a perfectly balanced growth of Contemporary art auction sales.

Online art auctions are evolving year by year. It happens as a natural evolution that follows the general trend of online shopping. As consumers, we are becoming more and more used to shopping on the internet, and this is also happening with art. Of course, in the BeArte Gallery, we often get the question if it’s not smarter or better to buy art when you can see the artwork in real life; when you can smell the oil paint, see the cool brush strokes and so on. The answer is no. I dare say so. Your artwork will always be more impressive in reality than your screen. In other words, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you fall in love with a painting on the internet, the effect and joy will be far more significant when you see it in reality.

The Internet gives you other options than the real world. Personally, I prefer the real world with real people, but I also accept that the diversity of the internet and abundant data flow give us many opportunities. Have you tried the feature we have at BeArte Gallery, where you can upload a photo of your own wall and insert an artwork? Do it. It gives a good idea of how your artwork will make itself at home. This cannot be done in the real world. You can, of course, ask if you can borrow the painting home, but in reality this is the same option you have with your 14-day return policy. Perhaps the most significant difference is that on the Internet you can find thousands of works of art from around the world.

Is it now that you have to throw yourself into the adventure and make a good investment? Is it now you should be part of the trend and try to get a huge discount before the market go higher? Both yes and no. If you buy art for less than € 5,000, you are not considered an art investor, and the artwork is therefore not expected to rise exceptionally over the next few years. Of course, you may be lucky the artist to become famous and die (yes, the art world is tragically cruel). You can also be lucky to find artwork from the 500 best-selling contemporary artists selling polaroids, drawings and sketches between € 1,000-5,000. But as a starting point, use the art auctions to make a good purchase and get the artwork in which you fell in love at a crazy cheap price.

Then back to the question: Should you try your luck? If you are looking for high-quality art for cheaper money, then the answer is yes. But watch out and be patient. Spend some time finding the right piece of art. Read the terms carefully and only participate in online auctions that you trust. Feel free to write to the auction house if you have any questions. A professional online auction will always answer you back and give you the best possible service. After all, you are the buyer. Prices on online art auctions will go up as surely as they will decrease. Do not panic. Spend the time you need.

Most people like to follow the trend in the community. If you are one of them, then online art auctions are definitely for you. If you don’t care about the trend, then you can join in anyway.


Here are some great tips for you:

Find the right piece of art

Spend some time finding the correct artwork. Don’t hurry. Maybe there are several works of art that you find interesting. List up, so you automatically get information every time there’s a bid on the artwork, and you get notified before the art auction ends. It gives you a good overview and not least, the calm to make the right decision.

The Conditions

You must read the conditions of the auction house. At an auction, there are three prices that you need to keep in mind: 1) The hammer price of course; 2) Buyer’s Premium, which is the fee of the auction house. This fee is added to the hammer price and can vary from auction house to auction house; 3) Shipping costs. Who pays the freight and how expensive is it to have the artwork sent to you.


If you have any questions, always write or call the auction house. There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. Whether it’s some technical questions related to the auction itself, or if you have any questions about the artist or artwork, ask. It’s your rights. Any professional auction house will welcome all your questions. After all, you are the buyer and should be assisted in the best possible way.

Make a bid budget

Before you start bidding on an auction, decide how high you want to bid. Write down your maximum bid on a piece of paper, and no matter how interested you are or what happens on the auction, never exceed this price. Attending an auction is exciting, but you may also be tempted to go higher than you had initially been planned. If you don’t win one auction, try your luck at the next auction.

Don’t panic

If you have tried your luck at many auctions and you have never won, do not lose courage. If there is a particular artist whose art you love, follow these two sub tips. With us at BeArte Gallery, you can see what works of art the artist has for sale under general conditions. If there is the one you would like to buy, contact us and make an offer for the artwork. Just remember that the artist is in his right to reject your bid. If the bid is unrealistically low, the artist may even be offended. That’s fair enough. After all, a great deal of work has been put into creating the art. You can also ask for commission work to be done. There are many options to acquire your next artwork, contact us, and we will assist you in the best possible way.


There is one important thing to keep in mind when it comes to online art auctions; remember that you always have 14-days cancellation right, as you have with all internet shopping. I wrote about it earlier in the article, but it’s essential. The 14 days start from the date you receive the artwork. In this period, you can contact the auction house and state that you want to cancel the purchase. You don’t have to specify a reason. Just cancel if you have regretted. After your cancellation, you have 14 days to send back the artwork. With this consumer protection, you won’t be taken down with your pants. You have an extra lifeline, so to speak.

Participating in online art auctions is exciting and fun, and if you are lucky, you can decorate your home more cheaply than if you bought factory-made paintings in your nearest furniture store. And believe me, a genuine artwork, created by a skilled and highly educated artist, is a lifelong gift for yourself. But beware, art is terrible addictive 😉

If you have any questions about online art auctions, please do not hessite to write, mail or phone me.

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