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How to shop for art as a millennial home owner

Private View: How to Shop for Art as a Millennial Homeowner

by | Mar 30, 2019

Buy art with confidence by attending private views. Private View: Buying Art as a Millennial Homeowner teaches you how to get invited and find great pieces. If you’re a first time home buyer wondering what to hang on your walls, Private View: Buying Art as a Millennial Homeowner shows you the best steps to take when looking for great, affordable paintings. 

Private Views are where you can see paintings and sculptures presented at their best, well lit in perfect frames if need be and with much of the background information you’ll need.

The Private View is a marketing Exercise

And it’s where you can discuss what you see with experts and with fellow browsers and shoppers, getting their opinions and exchange information. Indeed, you may even get a glass of wine or champagne while you study the paintings and chat to fellow guests. Experts and gallery owners are more than keen to answer all your questions and the artist is most likely to be there too. And they’d welcome the opportunity to discuss their work with you – and potentially sell you a piece.

But Private Views can also be intimidating places to be – particularly if you are at the start of the art learning curve and don’t know anybody there. The good news everybody else will think so too or once thought the same. Turn it to your advantage, push yourself to speak to others and things will flow from there.

The Private View and Buying Pieces

There are numerous benefits to attending Private Views: for one, artists are given an automatic seal of approval having been accepted by a gallery and the greater the reputation of the gallery, the smarter the purchase could be. But there are draw backs too. Gallery space is not cheap, the back up service an artist gets from staff and the Private View plus marketing is all costly too.

Those costs are added to the price of the work of art. Galleries take a considerable cut from the sale price – sometimes less than 50% goes to the artist. Still, artists are eager to add gallery names and exhibitions to their CVs – it adds value to them as artists and to their paintings, which also benefits the end consumer when he or she comes to resell. It looks much like a win win situation.

Things to do and look out for at a Private View and buying as a Newbie


Grab a leaflet and any other marketing material and read – either at the gallery over a glass of wine or when you get home

Watch and Learn

Do a quick round of the pieces on show. Familiarise yourself with the prices and descriptions, take pictures if you need – you’ll be armed with knowledge as and when you get talking to fellow guests

Introduce yourself to the gallery owner and/or artist

Without coming across as a keen buyer, thank them for inviting you to the event (more of which later) and compliment them on a good/interesting/fabulous show depending on your thoughts. Ask them about a specific piece. Gallery owners and artists will be busy talking to lots of people at a Private View so, unless you are planning to spend a small fortune, make it quick and be specific about what you would like to know

Speak to other guests

This can be the difficult part – some people are better at it than others. Most likely, you’ll find others in the same boat as you and most people are there for the same reason and happy to meet others, including you.
A quick remark about a painting to the person standing next to you is in order. You’ll soon find out if there’s scope for proper conversation or whether the person is on a different page than you – perhaps with a group of friends or on a tight time schedule. Many reasons, but the main point is to not take anything too personal.

Pick up an invitation to or leaflet about the next Private View

Often the gallery will have the next exhibition already planned and with a bit of luck the invites will be at the reception or main desk. Ask if you may take a copy.

Charity events often have an art section – artists donating their works or money from sales to good causes.

New Homeowner – How to get invited to Private Views at Galleries

Getting invited to Private Views is much easier than it looks – simply seek and you shall find. Private Views are rarely exclusive parties for the initiated – they are more commonly PR and marketing exercises and the more the merrier. The more people turn up at a PV, there greater the chance of selling a piece and word of mouth getting round. Self-perpetuating PR. However, some high ticket Private Views are in fact exclusive. Celebrity driven openings, starring popular & expensive artists where a high net worth clientele is guaranteed to turn up are often a closed affair.

Viewing and buying Art – Train the Eye and Educate the Mind

Often, such exhibition will have almost already sold out before the gallery opens its doors – the gallery will have a list of VIP collectors which will generate sales. Or the publicity guaranteed as a result of the celebrity turnout or star name of the artist will reduce the need for inviting unlikely buyers into the party. And to keep out those unlikely buyers and to protect the artist and clientele, a “Strictly by Invitation” approach to the launch.

It’s free and fun Education

But back to our Private View guide, aimed at first time home buyers and millennial buyers and renters, you don’t have to buy there and then. The budget may not stretch to an original work of art, but it’s a good place to start learning about art and how to collect art.

To find out more read our blog on Artwork for a Minimalist Interior – what to look out for, how to find your style and taste to suit your home, how to judge and what exactly works with the minimalist interior…as an art lover and an investor. It gives great insight into trends, prices and who’s who on the scene. Your eye will be trained to look for colour and detail and you’ll develop a taste and a bank of knowledge on which to decorate your home. In short, Private Views are a free and fun education.