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Sale of art: Online or on site?

Kunst verkaufen: Online oder vor Ort?

Sooner or later, every artist faces the arduous task of selling their own art. The choice of sales method presents you with numerous options, not all of which are necessarily suitable for your own works. Making the right choice requires a lot of work and patience, as well as careful consideration.

The question "Where is the best place to sell my art?" is therefore by no means an easy one.

To help you answer this question, we have listed the most popular options here, along with their advantages and disadvantages:

Kunst Online verkaufen

Online sale

The easiest way to start selling your art these days is to establish an online presence. It is relatively easy to be found by interested people, and a well-managed profile (or website) can also serve as a sales catalogue for potential buyers, as well as your own portfolio.

The choice of sales platform is of course up to the artist themselves:

Social Media: A well-managed, interesting and regularly updated social media account (e.g. on Instagram) is always a good start for marketing your own art.

However, if you are also trying to get a place in a gallery, you should avoid spamming it with tags and comments and prefer to get in touch by email with enquiries.

General trading platforms:

Although it may seem almost unbelievable at first glance, there are actually numerous buyers and collectors who look for art on sites such as EBay or Amazon.

Art promotion websites:

In addition to websites such as Artfinder or Saatchi Art, the selection of new and established online services specialising in the sale and shipping of artworks is now very extensive.

The most important thing here is to be well informed in advance. There are two main reasons for this:

On the one hand, the Internet - above all others - is subject to constant and rapid changes, as well as frequently changing trends. If you want to reach as many interested parties as possible, you should therefore make sure you adapt to them.

On the other hand, different sales websites can be specialised in different ways - so they also appeal to different buyers. Artists who have focused their work on sculptures, for example, should look for a website that specialises in this area.

Of course, it is also helpful when selling online to exercise caution in case of doubt, to find out about the reputation of the respective website and not to respond to dubious offers.

Kunst vor Ort verkaufen

Selling art locally and on site

Those who prefer to sell their works locally also have various options that they can use for marketing:

1. Art gallery:

If you want to be accepted into an art gallery, you first have to find the right one, and even then, unfortunately, established galleries rarely accept "new" artists who are just starting out in their careers. Of course, there are exceptions: Galleries that specifically seek out and promote emerging artists - but these should also be approached with due caution.

Contact with a gallery can be established via the curator, for example by inviting curators and critics to your own exhibition. It is important to research locally beforehand who is to be invited.

Applying for a place in a gallery on your own initiative is unusual and is not welcomed by most, but even such a gallery can be convinced with a portfolio that suits it.

2. Art fair:

Even though most art fairs serve as trading platforms directly from the artist to the customer, they also offer a form of direct feedback, as they allow the artist to make contact with interested parties on site and learn something about their target audience.

Unfortunately, many fairs do not even admit artists without gallery representation, but there are also fairs that are specially designed for artists without representation. The only thing left to do here is to briefly inform yourself and then apply.

3. Auction:

It is very difficult for aspiring artists to position their works at auctions, although you can of course always try local or charity auctions, even if your own profits are likely to be small or non-existent.

The advantage of such auctions, however, is that they can show how and with whom your work is received - and at best it will also appeal to a collector.

4. pop-up exhibition:

Such an exhibition requires not only an exhibition venue and appropriate promotional material, but also catering for the guests. Even if you can never say exactly whether and who will come, an exhibition like this creates a pleasant atmosphere in which artists, buyers and simply interested or curious people can engage in dialogue.

Anyone who would like to take a closer look at such an exhibition is of course welcome to visit the Academy of Fine Art Germany exhibition.

It is definitely worthwhile for aspiring artists to give such an exhibition a try,

even if it may not be suitable as a regular (reliable) sales method.

5. Sale in the studio:

Selling from your own studio is the option used by most artists, and also one of the best ways to start your sale, as it can be kept permanently.

The buyer has the advantage of not having to pay gallery fees or shipping costs and can get to know the art and the artist themselves on site, while the artist can make a lasting impression more easily.

All that is needed is a proper studio, a portfolio and possibly a website, although brochures and marketing on social media can of course always be an advantage. The only difficulty here is that you can't expect to sell everything immediately.

What else needs to be considered? The nature of the work!

If you are looking for a sales platform for the first time, you should also consider what exactly you are selling and orientate your future actions accordingly. Depending on the medium, there are different options that are more suitable than others:


Prints are one of the best-selling media in art. They are quite easy to ship, so it is worth starting an online sale early, even while you are still looking for a gallery, for example.


With drawings it is basically the same as with prints - an early online sale is advantageous - except that you should ensure better insured shipping, as the original is sold with drawings.


Sculptures are quite difficult to ship as they are often heavy or fragile. It is better to arrange such works through representatives (such as a gallery or a consultant, a person with appropriate knowledge and experience) and exhibit them locally. Social media can of course help to promote an exhibition.


The saleability of paintings - just like their saleability - can be strongly influenced by their quality and material, which is why they are usually better sold directly to the customer. They can inspect the exhibited work themselves before buying it from the artist or their representative.

However, it is of course not impossible to use a specialised online platform that already has a lot of experience with the transport of such works.

Digital Art:

Digital artworks have no shipping problems, but you should make sure that you can provide proof of origin if you intend to sell them.

Works of this type can be sold very easily online. However, if the intention is to sell in the "real" art world, as with other media, it is advisable to seek the support of a consultant or gallery owner.

Ultimately, advice, your own portfolio and contact with the target group are important for practically all forms of sales. Communication is the key to the art world, whether from the side of the selling artist, the buyer or simply the interested party.

In order to promote this communication, art schools and universities, among others, organise exhibitions for the works of tomorrow's artists.


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