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There are many questions which arise when people consider buying or selling art. Here are answers to some we get asked most often.


Often it is possible to determine if an artwork is an original artwork versus a reproduction. To learn various ways to tell the difference between a painting and a reproduction click here to learn more.


A partial list of artists we are interested in buying and selling may be seen on this page.

Before Selling

Some things to consider before you sell your fine art:

• Do your homework – research family provenance, retrieve any paperwork, and record everything you can find out about your work. Good photographic records are imperative.
• Determine a fair price for your item through consultation with knowledgeable parties, or get a current appraisal from a firm different than the one you are considering selling to so there is no conflict of interest.
• Choose where to sell your artwork.
• Decide your time frame. Do you need an immediate sale or can you wait?
• Remember additional costs– photography, professional restoration and/or cleaning, shipping, and insurance that will reduce your net sales figure unless you are making a direct sale to an art dealer.

Pricing Variables

Knowledable art dealers understand how both subjective and objective criterion influence the fair market value for an item. Inherent beauty – how strongly an item "sepakes to us" – is the subjective quality. While it is not possible to determine the exact proportion that each of the objective criterion has on an artwork's current value here are several of the factors which go into the pricing equation:

• Importance of the artist in today's art market
• Desirability of subject matter
• Appearance in museum shows, exhibitions, and art literature
• History & Provenance – record of owners and exhibits since work’s creation
• Authenticity – assuring work is original and not a fake or “school of”
• Current market comparables of artist’s work in public and private sales
• Condition – is work original and pristine or is there damage
• Rarity of the artist’s work
• Size of a work
• Intangibles that add up to that “something special” that makes a good work great

Pricing fine art is not an exact science. A reputible firm should be willing to walk you through the assesment process, and provide detailed supporting data in order to help you understand and feel confortable with a pricing evaluation of your family's heirlooms. 

Where to Sell Your Art

In today's market there are three main ways to sell your art – through an art dealer, an auction house or online. Here are pros and cons of each.

Art Dealers are people or companies that privately purchase and sell original works of art. Here are two ways to work with an art dealer.
Immediate Outright Sale
Fair market price is determined and payment is made to seller.
• Immediate cash in hand
• Work sold “as is”
• Dealer provides insurance and makes transportation arrangements
• None, unless seller works with unscrupulous dealer
Seller consults with dealer and agrees on sale price. Dealer absorbs marketing costs and takes care of restoration if needed (deducted at time of sale). Dealer receives commission, ranging from 5% for major works, up to 25% for lesser works. Contract lasts 6-12 months.
• Price is predetermined
• Few up front charges
• Must wait for a sale
• If piece does not sell it is returned to owner 

Auction Houses publicly offer works of art to the highest bidder.
• May have a "good day” and achieve a great price
• Established auction houses have large clientele base
• Very high commission rates (up to 35%)
• Multiple expenses, even if item fails to sell
• Fixed sale calendar
• Sale is one day only
• Work may fail to sell
• Failure to sell devalues a piece
• Some private collectors will not buy at auction

Direct on Internet (eBay, etc.) selling art through digital networks.
• No gallery space so little or no overhead
• Anonymity
• Sales may be low due to lack of interested clientele or from not having access to
  the most suitable markets/buyers
• Must pack and ship art
• Need to provide authenticity and guarantees to buyer


The most reliable appraisals are done by qualified appraisers who have expertise in a certain style or genre of art and are personally able to personally inspect the artwork. When considering an appraiser or firm, look for someone who is skilled and knowledgeable about appraisal work, ask for references, and find out what their costs will be in advance. “Free Appraisals” are not accepted by most insurance companies or the IRS.

Art appraisals are used to establish the value of an object based on one of the following criteria:
• Charitable donation
• Equitable distribution (inheritance, divorce)
• Division or estate planning
• Estate valuation for Internal Revenue Service
• Fair market value for research or sale purposes
• Insurance replacement value


The field of art authentication is complicated. What is real, what is fake, and who makes this determination?  The Caldwell Gallery can perform authentication and title research on behalf of art owners for a broad range of American artists.

If there an acknowledged expert or catalogue raisonné available for an artist, we can act as a professional liaison between owner and the expert or committee. For title related issues we can research a work's history and help assure that there no ownership or theft related problems.

• Establish a work is listed in the artist's catalogue raisonné
• Consult with expert authorities for a particular artist
• Review history of proven works by artist and research comparable works
• Confirm provenance of an artwork
• Signature analysis
• Computer analysis via x-ray
•  Analysis of paint and structural materials such as stretchers, canvas, and panels
•  Consult with and utilize the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) and Art Loss Register


"Great collections happen over time, not overnight."
— Joe Caldwell

For most people art collections start one piece at a time. Start by looking everywhere! In museums, art galleries, private dealers, auctions, art and antique shows. Buy art books and magazines, and begin the process of educating your eye and defining your tastes. Zero in on the things which give you that extra little "tingle" when you see them. You will get to a point in your education where you'll know if a work is right for you almost instantly. 

Are you eclectic, casting your net over a wide range of periods and styles? Or are you tightly focused, delving deeply into one of the multitude of "micro" marketswhich make up the art market as a whole? There is no right or wrong approach, and you should expect your tastes and eye to evolve over time. It is this process of evolution which attracts and hooks all of us who share an interest in this exciting field. 

Ask yourself why you are interested in buying art? This is a highly personal question, which is answered differently by each collector. It is our hope that the collectors we work with are seeking a life enriching experience through the purchase of art. How strongly does an artwork "speak to us"?

In a way, collecting art is similar to falling in love. There’s the initial stage of infatuation which is driven by the senses. Then there is the getting-to-know-you or research stage, which holds this potential relationship up to the realities of bright daylight. At this point there may be valid reasons to eliminate a particular work from purchase consideration. And finally, there’s the point after all this where it just makes perfect sense to "tie the knot" by buying the work of art.

At Caldwell Gallery Hudson, this process is one that we strive to tailor to each client’s individual needs. Whenever possible we will deliver a work without obligation to a client’s home so they can experience the visual impact and staying power of the piece at leisure in their own environment. 

• Top collectors follow their passion. They buy what they love and ignore trends or fashion.
• Look at lots and lots of art, then look even more. Visit museums, galleries, auctions and art fairs. Learn to discern what is good, better, and best. Most importantly, listen to which art speaks to you.
• Study from art books, and internet art resources that pertain to the artists, styles, periods, and schools of art you like.
• Buy from reputable sources. When purchasing a work, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. Request a written guarantee from the seller for every purchase.
• Establish a budget and buy within your means. Better to purchase one great thing, than ten minor things. Don’t buy for investment, buy for love while demanding value.
• Subscribe to art magazines that focus on your areas of interest.
• Meet other collectors. Many museums have focused collector groups to join.
• Art tours are a wonderful way to combine travel with the opportunity to learn more about art.

There is an exciting world of possibilities awaiting both the beginning and seasoned art collector. We hope you enjoy the journey. If you have additional questions please contact us. 


The Caldwell Gallery offers a comprehensive range of professional art services. At the foundation of these services is a respect for the custodial responsibilities inherent in the ownership of fine art. We work closely with beginning as well as advanced collectors, and tailor our services to each collector’s specific needs. General information and consultations are offered free of charge. All client relationships are strictly confidential.

Collection Manangement Services
• Assistance in starting a collection
• Advice in selecting fine art for purchase
• Global art search for specific client wants
• Assistance in the sale of fine art through outright purchase, consignment, or brokerage
• Working with client’s trustees, executors, and estate lawyers regarding art asset planning issues
Appraisal Services
• Appraisals for insurance, donation, and estate purposes
• Expertise in a wide range of fine art, furniture, and decorative object categories
• Photographic or video documentation of collections
Information Services
• Advice regarding conservation
• Advice regarding framing
• Advice regarding collection insurance
• Advice regarding the care and handling of fine art
• Advice regarding security and theft prevention
Research Services
• Historical research regarding fine art, furniture, and decorative objects
• Market research regarding fine art, furniture, and decorative objects
Liaison Services
• To the auction marketplace
• To the trade

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