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Who Buys Artwork, and Why?


Are you curious about who buys artwork and why? To succeed, artists and art agencies must understand their audiences, who are interested in original art. People like art collectors, and people who want to decorate their homes for different reasons buy art. Some buy art from an art advisor for investment purposes, while others buy it simply for the pleasure it brings. Art-buying is fascinating and rewarding for artists and art enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore who buys artwork and why.


Types of Art Buyers


  • Individual Collectors

Individual collectors buy art for personal reasons, such as pleasure, self-expression, or investment. They are often art enthusiasts who sincerely appreciate art and are willing to spend significant money to acquire a piece they love. Some collectors may focus on a particular genre or period, while others may collect works by a specific artist. Their motivations for collecting art can range from personal interest to investment potential. Regular art collectors will attend art fairs to check on their favorite artists' work or discover upcoming ones'.

  • Designers and Decorators

Designers and decorators are professionals who buy art to make a space look nicer or to decorate it. They may work in interior design, architecture, or the hospitality industry. These buyers typically buy art that complements the overall design scheme of an area, such as a hotel lobby or a corporate office. The motivation of an interior designer for buying art is to create a unique environment that reflects the brand or style of the organization.

  • Commercial Collectors

Commercial collectors are businesses or organizations that buy art for investment or aesthetic reasons. They may include international companies, hospitals, banks, galleries, auction houses, art dealers, or investment funds. These buyers purchase art to collect for their asset value, and their motivation is both related to space and also related to finance. Commercial collectors may also buy art to boost their reputation, attract high-profile clients, or establish themselves as experts in the art market.

  • Museums and Institutions

Non-profit museums and institutions display contemporary art for educational or cultural purposes. They may include art museums, galleries, libraries, or universities. These buyers buy art to keep cultural history alive or to give the public educational resources and shows. Their motivation is often to acquire works with historical or cultural significance or to promote emerging artists. Sometimes local governments will take over particular spaces to collect and show art in an effort to support the local community and manage the  community's assets. When institutions and governments collect artwork, they will make sure the collections show a common vision of their community.


Motivations of Art Buyers


  • Emotional Connection

One of the most significant motivations for art buyers is an emotional connection to the subject of the work. Many collectors buy art that speaks to them in some way, whether it makes them feel a certain way, brings back a certain memory, or shows their values and beliefs. Art is a highly valued possession because it can give some collectors ideas, comfort, or even help them deal with problems.

  • Investment Potential

Contemporary art is an investment that appreciates over time.  Predicting the value of art is difficult, and many factors affect its price. These include the artist's reputation, rarity, condition, and historical significance. Some collectors buy art only as an investment, but others do so because they have a personal connection to it or because they think it will be valuable in the future.

  • Tax Benefit

Some art buyers see art as a tax benefit because it can be considered a donation to a charitable organization. Donors can deduct the fair market value if the artwork is donated to a museum or a qualified non-profit. This tax benefit can make purchasing art an attractive option for some collectors.

  • Status and Prestige

Owning certain types of art can enhance social status and prestige. This is particularly true for high-end collectors who purchase works by well-known artists or pieces with significant historical or cultural value. For some collectors, the ownership of art can be a symbol of wealth, taste, and cultural sophistication.

  • Aesthetics

Some art buyers appreciate contemporary works of art for their beauty. They may like a piece's color, composition, or aesthetics. These buyers often seek art that complements their home or office décor and may purchase art as a form of interior design.

exhibitions in Indonesia

     Photo by Geri Mis on Unsplash


Understanding Your Buyers

Today the world's market values art, but its value is subjective. But as an artist, if you know what drives your buyers, you can tailor your messages and come up with marketing plans that appeal to them.


Importance of Understanding Your Buyers' Motivations

As an artist, understanding your buyers is essential. The type of art buyer you are dealing with can influence how you present your art styles and work and your marketing strategies. Knowing what motivates your buyers can help you create a connection with them and build a loyal customer base.

For example, an art collector may be interested in purchasing your work as an investment. At the same time, a decorator or gallery may be more interested in finding pieces that fit their clients' aesthetics. By better understanding your buyers' motivations, you can better position your art and tailor your messaging to appeal to their needs and desires.


Tips for Identifying the Buyer Type


Understanding buyer motivations requires identifying buyer types. Here are a few pieces of implementation strategy to help you identify the different types of art buyers:

  • Collectors

Art collectors are people who buy art as a form of investment. They are looking for pieces that have the potential to appreciate over time. They might like artwork related to their lives, such as certain landscapes or portraits of animals. To sell artwork to them, you need to provide enough context to help them understand your art.

  • Decorators

Decorators are people who buy art to enhance the look and feel of a space. They are typically looking for pieces that match a specific aesthetic or style. Many of them do have a mission, such as reflecting a branding position. They will do a more thorough search on the art that fits in their design, and they usually will have a budget range.

  • Art Enthusiasts

Art enthusiasts are people who buy art purely for their love of it. They may not be interested in the investment potential of a piece. However, they appreciate the beauty and meaning behind it. As they might not be experienced art collectors, you'd better provide additional services or products to them, such as frames. They might want to build connections with you as well. It is important to build a relationship with a potential art collector from the very beginning.

  • Corporate Buyers

Corporate buyers buy art for offices, building lobbies, and other public spaces. They are typically looking for pieces that reflect their brand and corporate identity. They will also be interested in art placemaking, an idea that allows them to attract traffic through art and artists. Dealing with them is different from connecting with individual collectors because you might need to connect several members of the management team in the company to implement a project. Make the journey to them. Explain your creation process, compile photos and videos of your past portfolio, and, most importantly, listen to their needs and explain the benefits they got after purchasing your artwork.

  • Investors

These are examples where buyers purchase art with the sole intention of making a financial gain. Most artists find those art investors through their network or high-end clubs such as exclusive tennis or golf clubs.

  • Philanthropists

These buyers buy art to support artists and art institutions. They care more about the artwork's cultural and social value than its monetary value.

If you know what kind of buyer you're dealing with, you can make sure your messages and marketing plans are right for them.


How Understanding Buyers Improves Messaging and Marketing Strategies

Understanding your buyers' motivations is crucial to developing effective marketing strategies. For example, suppose you are targeting collectors. In that case, your marketing message should focus on your work's rarity and artistic value. On the other hand, if you are targeting decorators, you should focus on aesthetics and how your work complements different interior design styles.

Moreover, understanding your buyers' motivations can help you choose the right channels to promote your art  with the help of an art consultant. For instance, if you target investors, you may want to use investment-related publications and events to reach your target audience. If the process is overwhelming to you or you want to reach different communities, you can build connections with galleries and platforms that promote your art.



Understanding the different types of art buyers and their motivations is crucial for artists who want to sell their work successfully. By catering to the preferences of different buyers and effectively communicating the value of their art, artists can increase their chances of making sales. RevArt offers its members an artist program to help them sell their art. This program is for artists who want more help from an art advisor. Take advantage of the opportunity to turn your passion into profit and join the RevArt art consultant community today