How to Purchase an Original Work of Art


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We have all heard the saying, ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever’. The trouble is, how does the ordinary person purchase an original work of art? By reading art books? By subscribing to fancy art magazines? By frequenting local auctions? Well, as a retired trained academic who turned to opening an art gallery here in Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada, I would like to share some of my thoughts and observations with you, the general public.

From my observation and discussions with my clients, I have found that there are 2 golden rules to the purchase of an original work of art.

Rule # 1: In all things artistic, it is the eyes that decide what we wish to call ‘a thing of beauty’. As a gallery owner, I act as a consultant and friend to my clients, guiding them through the maze of choices available to them. Yes, there are ‘names’ in a field, yes size matters, yes the medium changes the perciptible affect of a work of art, and yes money is a final consideration. But the first and most important rule to purchasing an original work of art, always, always, let your eyes make the decision. If the gallery owner, or your lawyer, or your accountant, is deciding for you, chances are you will not be happy with the choice. LET your eyes decide.

Rule # 2: Always purchase an item of noticable value. Money does not buy happiness, but it does provide us with choice. When the typical shopper is out looking to purchase an original work of art, there is the pressure to spend. To ‘act’ like the ‘bigshot’. But real value is not linked to any social criteria. In truth, it is based on the visible Quality of the work. In other words, don't just chase names, if they happened to scribble something on a piece of paper with their signature on it. Buy something that is discernibly well done, in excellent condition, and of good proportions. This is what creates ‘fair market value', which, in appraisal jarjon is what is meant by ‘street price', that is, the price that the typical potential purchaser and seller can agree on at the moment of sale. Well, there you go. And best wishes in your search for that family treasure. Remember to come and visit us at Galerie Les Quatre Saisons/Gallery Four Seasons, 204 notre dame west, old montreal, quebec, canada. Or visit our website

Jennifer Yhap, Ph. d

Dr. Jennifer Yhap, Ph. d in philosophy author of 2 books (searchable on the web, on sale at After positions at Concordia University (Canada) and Southern Illinois University (USA), Dr. Yhap is now the owner and director of a successful gallery in Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


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