3 Reasons to Buy Art at Art Fairs

Art fairs are a staple of the art world and often bring together hundreds of galleries in one place. These multi-day events happen in cities across the world, giving you the opportunity to discover new artists, buy the latest artworks, and spot art world trends as they’re emerging.

Artsy lets you preview booths from international art and design fairs starting a week before the fair opens to the public, so you can buy works online before the in-person rush. When considering where to buy your next piece, here are three reasons to look to fairs.


Fresh Work

Galleries bring their best art and design to fairs. Often straight from the artist’s studio or new to the market, these works represent each gallery’s most commercially popular and critically engaging inventory.

When buying contemporary works at art fairs, keep in mind that your purchase will likely directly support the artist—commonly, the commission split between the artist and gallery is anywhere between 30/70 and 50/50. If you are wondering what percentage of your purchase ends up in the artist’s pocket, feel free to ask the gallery in your inquiry.


Fast Sales

Art fairs typically last around five days, with most of the sales happening day one (or even before, if a gallery presells part of the booth). At a fair, you can simply walk up to a gallery, ask about the pricing and availability of its artworks, and buy the pieces you want. Sometimes, you can even take the art home with you that same day.

For this reason, art fairs are great for buying art in a time crunch, as the purchasing process will move at a faster pace. If you need more time to make a decision, you can always delay the sale by asking to put the work on hold.


Save on Shipping

If the fair is near you, you can buy art from international galleries with minimal shipping costs. For example, American collectors can buy from Japanese galleries at EXPO Chicago or Belgian dealers at The Armory Show in New York City, saving hundreds of dollars (if not more) on shipping and insurance.

Even if you can’t make the fair in person, you can still save on shipping by buying online from fairs that are in your region. The cost of shipping from the fair to your home might be much lower than the price of importing the work from the gallery’s home base.


Browse fresh artworks from current and upcoming fairs and contact the gallery if you would like to make a purchase, taking advantage of the opportunity to get a quick deal and ultimately save on shipping. You can also follow your favorite fairs on Artsy to get first access to the fairs’ online previews.