Home » Insider Tips To Buying Aboriginal Art Like A Pro Part 2

15 Insider Tips To Buying Aboriginal Art Like A Pro



Tips 9-15 Part 2 Exclusive to Artlandish V.I.P. Subscribers


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Below You’ll find part 2 of the report: ”15 insider tips to buying Aboriginal Art like a Pro”

You’ll also be notified anytime we have a sale, contest or giveaway via email!

I hope you enjoy these latest buying tips.

I think you’ll find there is even more value in these than the previous ones which is a reward for you taking that extra step to gain extra knowledge!

Well done! Like we always say, please don’t hesitate to contact us about anything and everything Aboriginal Art!


Lets make a deal image


9. Do a deal!

For some reason, many in the art industry feel that it is perfectly acceptable to operate in the exact opposite way that every other industry in the world operates.

Many galleries will not even entertain the thought of offering a discount or doing a deal on expensive artworks. They use their snobbery of exclusiveness and the very poor argument that discounting destroys the value and worth of an artist’s works as an excuse for charging you more.

And it is absolute rubbish! If you hear this or come across this, my advice is to walk away because you’re really boosting the bank balance of the owners more than anyone else.

Let me explain; the market determines what something is worth every time. These tactics by galleries only serve to artificially raise the price of art to an unnatural level through the manipulative use of guilt.

Exceptional art will always draw the big dollars. If the artist has an artwork that is recognised as something special, those in the know will want it and they will pay what it is worth.

They will not be influenced by the fact that a gallery had once discounted that particular artists work and sold it for $500 less than the price that it was advertised at. In the highly unlikely event that they even knew this, it wouldn’t influence an expert who is buying based on their knowledge and belief in the artwork they have in front of them.

If it’s a private gallery, artists should be paid upfront. Some will tell you that offering a discount hurts the artist in the hip pocket. They will tell you that if the price is $3,000 the artist would receive x dollars when it sells but if they sell it to you for $400 less, then the artist will only receive Y dollars.

With the exception of art centre artworks (where the artist is sometimes paid when the work sells) this shouldn’t be the case. Artlandish has always paid our artists immediately on completion of the artwork, not when it sells.

We hold that cost like any other business does with stock. We believe if you do an honest day’s work you should get paid for it after the days’ work, not in 2 years’ time when someone buys that artwork.

So in our case, the artist has always already been paid and they have been paid based on an agreed amount that would be based on the retail price that was to be asked of it. If the gallery accepts an offer at a lower price it is the gallery that has lost margin and not the artist.

Now obviously this must be conducted within reason and sensibility but if done so, the price and reputation of an artist will not be adversely affected if a deal has been done at a price that doesn’t match the sticker in the gallery.

Another major advantage is it often means that the artist will be asked to paint a new painting to replace the sold one which means more exposure for the artist and a direct increase in income from being asked to do more work more often because their artworks are being turned over at a greater rate than they otherwise would be. And when they produce something really special that captures the imagination of the marketplace, their art will always sell at full price without a hassle!

So don’t be afraid to ask for a deal!

Artists painting in their community
at their home
and in-house at Artlandish Gallery


A Couple of guidelines:

Obviously the less expensive the piece the less room to negotiate there is. So I don’t recommend offering $300 on a $400 painting, it’s just not going to happen.

You need to be realistic about things and understand that the prices listed for most artworks under $800 will be difficult to move on. The same can be said for artworks that have already been discounted by the gallery.

But you may be able to negotiate a small discount or something else such as free shipping (if it is charged).

Your best bet in this area of the market would be to offer, for example, to buy 2 small artworks and ask for a discount based on the fact that you are purchasing 2 pieces. It won’t always be an option on the less expensive artworks, but it is worth asking.


PRO TIP: This is a tactic that works brilliantly across the board. As an example, you’re more likely to be given a good discount if you were to buy 2 x $2,000 pieces than if you were to buy one valued at $4,000.


PRO TIP 2: A great way to negotiate yourself into a stronger position is when making your offer, offer something of value in return that may entice the seller.


For example, the promise of a favourable online review or testimonial (so long as that is an honest assessment of your dealings with them.) Or the promise of exposure to a group or club that share similar interests to you and would be very much influenced by your recommendations.

This can go a long way towards you getting what you want. Don’t underestimate the value you can provide in just a few lines of writing. Use that power to get yourself a better deal!


“What’s the most valuable thing to a gallery? The promise of a written testimonial and a photo with artwork purchased + a short video testimonial with the artwork purchased mentioned and shown in the video clip is by far the greatest currency you have to offer.

That and a social recommendation to a large number of peers that are within the target market that you hold some level of influence over.

But you can’t beat a video testimonial that only has to last 2 minutes, or a written one of 4 or 5 lines of text.


10. Provenance Myths

Photos of the artist holding the artwork are only valuable as provenance if the selling source has something to lose from the image not being accurate.

What does that mean? It means that if the source of the artwork is a little bit shady, for instance someone offers you a painting out of the boot of a taxi or van, down a side alley in Alice Springs, or a brand new or never sold before eBay listing or through a quick little ad on gumtree or a similar buy/sell website.

In these cases, an accompanying photograph showing the artist holding the painting should not be reason to assume that the painting is the real deal. It most likely is but you should not use that picture as the deciding factor. If there are fake indigenous artworks in the market, this is their most likely point of entry.

On the flip side, an established respected organisation selling indigenous artworks that offer an image of the artist with the painting is an excellent source of provenance because that gallery or art centre is putting their reputation and business on the line every time they provide one and it’s critical to them that it is accurate.

Always remember, if it seems to be good to be true then it probably is!


11. Certificate of Authenticity

Make sure your purchase comes with a certificate of authenticity at all times. If the seller is a private individual then ask where they acquired the artwork from.

If they cannot provide you with a gallery certificate but insist they purchased from one, call the gallery and ask them questions re the seller and the specific piece.

If they claim the artwork came from an art centre then it should have the art centres stamp on the back of the canvas or a stamped COA. If you have any doubts, call and ask the art centre.


12. Signing of the artwork by the artist

Don’t be put off by the signature of the artist on the back of the artwork. Many of the leading aboriginal artists who are master painters never learnt how to write.

So often their signature will be very basic or simply a couple of letters with a line or similar. Some artists don’t sign at all.

Don’t let this discourage you. The written language is not part of Indigenous culture and the artwork itself coupled with the COA is what is important.


13. Beware the non-indigenous art expert

Art experts from non-indigenous art backgrounds rarely have much of an idea about the indigenous art market as they are vastly different in nearly every way.

So take their ‘’professional’’ advice with a grain of salt and don’t be overawed by their expertise outside of the indigenous niche.

Whilst it certainly gives them more idea than Joe Public who has never looked at art, it may only be a small amount, so always remember that and take their advice as an opinion with a little more cred than the average bear.


14. Same Title / Same Story / Similar design?

Multiple artworks from an artist that look similar and / or have a similar or the same title are not necessarily worth less than a true one off design.

All these artworks are unique at all times, even if they look very similar. Many artists have a particular dreaming that they paint – this often makes the artwork more valuable as they have become famous for it.

For example:

– Emily Kame Kngwarreye – Yam Dreaming

– Minnie Pwerle – Awelye-Atnwengerrp

– Gloria Petyarre – Medicine Leaves

– George “Hairbrush” Tjungurrayi – Tingari

– Lily Karadada – Wandjina

– Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi – Seven Sisters Dreaming

So don’t look at these and dismiss them because you think you saw the same painting on another website for $1,000 less. It will be a unique piece and most likely a different size too so don’t let that throw you off of something you like!


15. Love it & Have Fun!

Our last tip is the same as our first tip with an added element. We can’t emphasise enough, buy what you love, because hopefully it will be hanging in your house for many years to come.

So take the time to find out what you love and then buy it without care for the secondary market or the likelihood of it doubling in value.

And the added element – make sure you’re having fun! Collecting Aboriginal Art can be very satisfying and enjoyable as there is an amazing story behind every piece of art that will both fascinate you and help you expand your thought process about the world.

The stories the artists have to tell are as old as time itself and they are truly amazing in so many ways.

So have fun, enjoy the art and enjoy the thrill of spreading the artists amazing stories to others visually through the artworks you acquire and also by retelling the story of the art through the knowledge you have gained by becoming the owner of a piece of authentic Australian Aboriginal Art!


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