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Trying to begin collecting contemporary art is a daunting prospect, especially if you’re not based in a large city and are not working with a 6-figure budget. Most of the important international art galleries are based in New York, London, LA and Chicago (there are more and more in Paris, Accra and Lagos, by the way). And while you can wander through a neighborhood like New York’s Chelsea and walk into any gallery with art that catches your eye, that’s not a viable option for most people. Neither is hiring a personal art consultant. So what’s a budding collector to do? And how can you level up the wall art in your home or office? We’re sharing our inside expertise and advice on the best online websites and how to browse, buy and sell affordable contemporary art right now if you’re a new collector. You should always do your own research before buying, but these are the sites that we’ve found to be trustworthy and accessible.

is it a good idea for new collectors to buy art from an online marketplace?

Acquiring original contemporary art can be an intimidating process for the novice collector. The world of galleries, art fairs, shows and collectors is opaque and potentially impenetrable by mere mortals. Art consultants are expensive and can be hard to find. And even if you find a work you love and can afford, how do you know that it’s legitimate and not a fake? It seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

But on the flip side, shopping for generic-looking prints and posters from a big box home store doesn’t feel quite right either. Caught in between these two choices, it’s no wonder that many of us have been staring at blank walls for years.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

Fear not, dear reader. We started our journey as art collectors a couple of years ago, and we’re sharing what we’ve seen, learned and experienced. Spoiler alert: this is a fantastic time for new collectors, and there are more online sites than ever to find wonderful original works that won’t break the bank.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

So, if you’re looking to finally put the finishing touches on your home or office, we’re sharing our insider expertise and advice on how to buy original and high-quality prints from trusted sources online. From the comfort of your couch! No appointments or schmoozing required. And access to all of these art websites is free.

the 11 best art websites to browse and buy new contemporary works online


We begin our list of tips on the best websites for new collectors to buy art online with our favorite destination, PLATFORM. Think of it as an online marketplace matching art galleries with collectors in a frictionless manner. The selection at PLATFORM is tightly curated and highly credible, because all of the works for sale are screened and selected by experts at the David Zwirner gallery ( a highly reputable contemporary art gallery headquartered in New York).

At the start of each month, a new limited-time selection of about 40 artworks – 4 pieces from each artist – debuts on the e-commerce site. If you see something you love, move quickly. The best artworks tend to go within the first couple of hours of the new drop. Once you purchase a work, you’re a VIP and you get a first look at each new drop 24 hours ahead of the general public.

We’ve purchased several works on PLATFORM, and we highly recommend it as a reputable online site from which to purchase art. The independent galleries who work with PLATFORM are the real deal, and browsing the monthly edit is a terrific way to learn about and discover up-and-coming artists without the traditional (intimidating) art-world barriers. The artists are a diverse group demographically, which is also wonderful to see.

If you purchase a piece, you’ll receive options for shipping (i.e., with or without insurance). The customer service is very good, so you’ll get emails at each stage of the purchase and delivery process. And about a week after delivery, you’ll receive a folder with all the information about the work and the artist along with a Certificate of Authenticity. If you only try one site, we’d make it this one.

Cicada Song by Belynda Henry – $2,500.00.

2. Artsy.

Another reputable online marketplace for art, Artsy is a great place to learn about artists and to buy (and sell) original works. Unlike PLATFORM, Artsy is purely a marketplace. On the main site, you purchase works by contacting the relevant galleries directly, and there’s not much (if any) contact from Artsy once you strike a deal. There are also auctions, and Artsy is more involved in these transactions.

Whichever method you choose, though, the advantage of working through Artsy is that both you and the gallery on the other side of the transaction are “verified.” So at least you know you’re not dealing with a bot! But as always in the art world, it’s buyer beware. Just because you’re transacting with a human doesn’t mean that fraud is out of the question.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

Artsy has a very broad reach in terms of geography and medium. And unlike PLATFORM, it’s available 24/7. You can sign up for alerts for favorite artists, and there are curated lists of emerging artists to know. And lists of blue-chip names for those with more funds to spend. And if you have works to sell, this is a great way to get your items in front of a large global audience.

3. Saatchi Art

For those in the market looking for original art, Saatchi is about as close to the gallery experience as you can get online. The site offers over 1.4 million pieces of original artwork by over 60,000 artists from around the world. You’ll find photography, paintings, drawings and sculpture. If anything, the scope of what’s available can feel overwhelming.

Because of the site’s extensive offerings, we suggest working with an in-house curator (free of charge) to help you edit and focus on the kinds of works you really want to see. You can sort by size, budget, medium, genre and more – so the world’s at your feet!

best online sites to buy artwork

Karma is Queen by Diana Roig – $11,500.

4. Artfully Walls

If you’re a little insecure about buying art, we love the expert-vetted art destination, Artfully Walls. There’s also a section to shop art curated by renowned interior designers if you’re after a cohesive look. Every print is museum quality, rendered on thick, luxurious paper using archival inks and the latest printing technology. And, if you’re anything like us — picking the frame can be just as anxiety-inducing as choosing the art itself. At Artfully Walls, you have the option to buy the print already mounted on an expertly chosen frame that balances and enhances the artwork.

best online sites to buy artwork

High Cotton by Shadra Strickland – starting at $64.00.

5. 1st Dibs

Like shopping the world’s fanciest flea market, you just might come across an original Matisse or Warhol on 1st Dibs, the design-insider’s favorite site. From paintings to photography to sculptures, buyers can also offer a bid on any item, most of which come from vetted galleries around the world that are members of major art dealer associations.

best online sites to buy artwork

Whaam! by Roy Lichenstein – $1,585.00.

6. Tappan Collective

Art novices and experienced collectors, get ready to discover the next big thing. Tappan Collective features original artworks from artists who are getting noticed by publications and institutions like The Hammer Museum, LACMA, Architectural Digest, and Kunsthalle Basel. If you’re in the L.A area, there’s also a physical gallery space for in-person visits.

best online sites to buy artwork

Rising Above by Brianna Lance – $2,000.00.

7. 20×200

With a bent toward quirky and modern art, 20×200 collaborates with contemporary artists to produce limited-edition artwork exclusively for the site. Each museum-quality, carefully packaged contemporary artist print comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that’s numbered and hand-signed by the artist. Need a frame? Each print can be framed with a custom, handcrafted wood frame and comes ready to hang.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

Lake Michigan, Chicago by Daniel Seung Lee – starting at $85.00.

8. Uprise Art

The women-led team at Uprise Art specializes in original art and limited edition prints by contemporary artists. While all artwork is available online (accompanied by some of the most comprehensive artist bios that we’ve come across), there’s also a NY-based showroom where buyers can meet with an art advisor or see an exhibition in the gallery.

A Drink for Us by Nefertiti Jenkins – $2,350.00.

9. Minted

You may be familiar with Minted for holiday cards and stationery, but they also have a robust artist marketplace. The site allows you to search and buy directly from the artist’s studio, eliminating the middleman. And if you’re looking for affordable prints (and plenty of framing options), you’ve come to the right place. You can even shop by the room in your home with curated collections that will suit your decor and vibe.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

Mountains by Meghan Shimek – $2,500.00.


With a definitive name like, you’d be right in thinking that you can get easily overwhelmed with choices. But if you’re looking for museum quality reproductions of famous, classic works, this is the place to browse. The giclée prints are made with a printing method where millions of ink droplets are “sprayed” onto high-quality paper to appear much more realistic than other reproduction prints. With multiple print size options and frames, you really have no excuse for bare walls.

Reading Woman by Pierre-Auguste Renoir – starting at $25.00.

11. Drool Art

Graphic poster lovers should check out Drool for a colorful and edgy selection that’s been carefully curated with fair artist commissions and sustainability in mind. Don’t even know what you like? Their online quiz will help connect you with the most exciting up-and-coming creative talent based on your preferences. And if you have more time, their helpful “Drool School” is packed with juicy tips and actionable tasks for buying and displaying art.

Here are the best online websites and inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors.

Post-human by Roman Post – $25.00 – $285.00.

best art websites to browse and buy new works online

Based on our personal experiences and research, those are some of the best online websites and our inside tips on how to browse and buy affordable original contemporary art online for new collectors. See, buying contemporary art from anywhere in the world has never been so easy! Next time, let’s talking about getting these gorgeous new artworks properly framed. And hung! And inventoried, so that as your collection grows, you’ll have all the information on each piece in one safe place. ‘Till then, happy shopping, dear reader.

Julie Murphy

Julie began her career in fashion as a design intern at 3.1 Phillip Lim after graduating from Parsons School of Design. As the fashion editor at Dandelion Chandelier, she brings over a decade of experience as a designer and marketing creative to cover trends and styling.