Where to buy art in London

Time Out's guide to the innovative and varied ways to buy art in London

  • Where to buy art in London

    Question Mark by Richard Artschwager, limited edition available to buy from The Serpentine Gallery

  • 1 RCA Photography Auction

    The Royal College of Art’s auction of contemporary photographs has become an annual event. This year’s contributors include well-known artists such as Peter Kennard, Karen Knorr, Rut Blees Luxemburg and Olivier Richon (the RCA’s Head of Photography) as well as recent RCA graduates. The proceeds will help establish a fund for RCA graduates to realise a project after completing their degree. Auction on Oct 15 at County Hall: White Space Gallery, Riverside Building, South Bank, London SE1 7PB. Viewing 3-6pm, auction 6pm. www.rca.ac.uk/print-auction

    2 EyeForArt

    This website specialises in work by students and recent graduates. There’s no vetting process – anyone can put their work on the site – so check that they are at a reputable art school like the Royal College, Chelsea or Goldsmith’s. As well as promoting new faces, EyeForArt also puts money back into the system. To the asking price they add 25% for themselves plus a further 15%, which goes to the college where the artist studied. The difficulty of selecting work from a screen image is offset by the fact that you can haggle over the price, rent a picture before deciding to buy it or return a purchase if you are disappointed. www.eyeforart.co.uk

    3 Artlab Gallery

    This website was conceived, says its founder Ivan Tennant, as ‘a low risk way of possessing art’. It allows you either to buy or to borrow work from a library of paintings, photographs and prints. Borrowers can opt for one of six switchplans (from the tester to the dealer) which give you varying choices – from borrowing one work 20 in a constantly changing display.

    4 Own Art Scheme

    Run by ArtCo Trading Ltd, a subsidiary of Arts Council England, the Own Art scheme enables you to borrow up to £2,000 interest free in order to buy work by living artists from galleries including the London Print Studio and The Photographers’ Gallery Print Sales department. To take part in the scheme, you must be over-18 and be able to set up standing orders from your bank account; if you meet these criteria, just visit one of the participating galleries, find a work you want to buy, then ask to fill out a credit agreement – the loan is repayable in ten, monthly installments.www.artscouncil.org.uk/ownart

    5 Open Studios

    If you find the idea of buying art from a gallery intimidating why not shun the showrooms and go direct to the source? Not only are you likely to make substantial savings (gallery prices generally include 50% commission), you’ll have the opportunity to talk to artists in depth, in a more relaxed environment. London’s main artists studio organisations – Space and ACME – have buildings dotted all over the East End and hold open studios throughout the year. Co-ordinated by Creative London and the Arts Council, ‘Artsunwrapped’ consists of open studio weekends in Summer 2007.www.spacestudios.org.uk

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