By: Efraim Biderman
This article will address the characteristics of purchasing Israeli art in each of the marketing chains operating in Israel.
Purchasing from the Artist
The artist’s studio displays a wide selection of pieces created by the same artist. In most cases, the works will be recent (as earlier works were probably sold).
Expensive prices (there is no mediating entity familiar with real market prices and able to influence the artist in price negotiations).
Discomfort or inconvenience regarding price, as well as a sense of discomfort in the event of disagreement, which could often thwart the transaction.
A creation purchased from the artist cannot be exchanged with a piece created by another artist.
There is no design concept of the creation within a certain space or as part of a comprehensive design concept (because the piece belongs to a certain artist).
Purchasing at Weekend Bazaars
Such sales are conducted on weekends, at different locations around the country.
Bazaar manager publications contain many inaccuracies, subjective information or shortcomings, such as:
• “Estate sale – There is usually no estate behind this definition, perhaps one or two creations that allow the seller to state that they originate from an estate.
• “Up to” 70% discount – This statement means nothing because the basic prices are high and disproportionate to market prices.
• “Complementary pieces” – Always low-quality prints of works created by insignificant and unknown artists, worth tens of NIS and sometimes signed with a plate and not by the artist himself.
• In most cases, there is no option for borrowing several pieces in order to evaluate them in a certain setting, nor is there a service for designing and planning the pieces within a certain space and comprehensive perception of spontaneous purchases.
• There is no sense of trust or long-term relations, because the sale is conducted at the same place and no one knows when the next bazaar will take place at the same venue.
Purchasing at Auction Houses:
1. No objective consulting from the auction house.
2. Limited selection of the works of a certain artist (offering only what is available at a given time).
3. The purchase price is unknown when upon early review and display, and the decision to purchase the piece will be made during the auction.
4. The purchase price will be subject to the auction house commission of 15-25% and VAT. If the piece is being offered by a foreign seller, the price will be subject to an additional 18%.
5. Inability to exchange the piece over time.
6. Inability to take several pieces for evaluation, nor does the auction house offer a design and planning service for placing them in a certain space and in cohesion with an overall concept.
7. No trust relations, since the purchase is completed by a show of hands, thus concluding the transaction.
8. Buying under pressure, because the sale is completed quickly by a show of hands of the interested parties. The sale is usually concluded within 30 seconds and the buyer is unable to turn back after raising his hand (even if the consideration was not yet paid).
9. No credit offered – payment is immediate.
10. The piece is purchased as is, i.e. flawed pieces might be part of the transaction and the buyer will be unable to raise any claims. This could sometimes severely impair the price.
Purchasing at a Gallery
1. Usually a warm and inviting space, offering pleasant lighting and individual attention, courtesy and service where the transaction is not conducted under pressure.
2. Wide variety of pieces and artists.
3. The seller can be asked to obtain pieces that are not available at the gallery at a certain time.
4. A professional gallery will advise on the quality of the piece, its price, location in a certain space and suitability to a holistic creative concept.
5. The buyer can obtain several pieces for evaluation before reaching the right decision.
6. Some galleries provide a complementary delivery and installation service.
7. Ask the seller for written approval to return the piece within several months and receive a refund.
8. Ask the seller for written approval of the right to replace the piece with any other creation by any other artist at any given time (no expiration and full credit).
9. It is best to purchase art at galleries that display the price on the piece. Otherwise, the gallery might set a high price, disproportionate to its true value.
10. Most galleries offer a Trade In service, allowing the client to replace pieces that are no longer attractive for various reasons.
11. Convenient and interest free credit terms – Allowing for a convenient purchasing experience and perhaps even the acquisition of additional pieces, thanks to the cash flow perspective.
12. Galleries offer a great deal of information about the artists and pieces, including an explanation of the economic aspect of purchasing art as an investment.
In closing, gallery customers enjoy many different options as part of a comprehensive and holistic approach: providing service, consulting, explanations, buyback and trade-in options, restoration services, framing and local and international delivery.
The article was written by Efraim Biderman, owner of Biderman Private Art Collection, an art collector of over three decades and currently owner of one of the largest private art collections in Israel!