What to Do if Your Favorite Artwork is Already Sold

Artsy Specialist
Oct 22, 2018 3:50PM

You discover the perfect work at auction, only to be outbid. Or, you find out your favorite sculpture at an art fair is already sold. What do you do next?

These pieces—or something quite like them—can still be yours, if you do some research. From contacting galleries to following the artist, these four steps will help you track down the works you want.

Explore What’s Available

To begin, you can explore the artist’s profile page on Artsy, such as this one for Marcel Dzama, and browse all currently available artworks by checking the box “Only For Sale” on the left-hand side.

If the work you love is a print or multiple, chances are there might be other editions of the work still available for purchase on Artsy. If the piece you want is an original painting or sculpture, you might find that the artist created other pieces with a similar style or subject matter.

Contact Multiple Galleries

On the left-hand side of the artist’s profile page, you will also find a list of galleries who sell works by that artist. For example, on Dzama’s profile page, you can browse over a dozen galleries that sell his works.

To find the work you want, you may want to reach out to as many galleries as possible, and ask them if they have works in their backrooms that are similar to the piece you are looking for. Here’s an example of a message you could send:

“Dear Crown Point Press,

I’ve been looking for a Marcel Dzama print from his “New York City Ballet” series, but haven’t been able to find one that’s available. Does your gallery have any prints for sale from this series? If so, please share the artwork images and pricing. I look forward to hearing from you. My price range is under $5,000.

Many thanks!


Follow the Artist

You can also follow the artist on Artsy to get automatic updates whenever new works become available. This is the best way to stay up to date on the artist’s creative practice and commercial market—and ensure that you will be the first to know if your favorite piece becomes available again. When you follow the artist, Artsy will also recommend similar artists that you might like.

Try following Marcel Dzama right now:

Marcel Dzama

Go All In

If you’ve gone through these steps and still can’t find a work you love as much as the one that’s already sold, you have a couple of more options.

In certain cases, a gallery might be able to negotiate a deal with the work’s current owner to bring the piece you want back to the market. Or, if your favorite work is by a contemporary artist, you can also consider asking the gallery if you can commission the artist to create a custom work just for you.

If you have any questions along the way—or would like custom help with messaging galleries or locating artworks—you can contact our team of specialists at [email protected].

Artsy Specialist