How to purchase art internationally, hassle-free

Why restrict your art purchases to those from a local gallery, whether it is brick-and-mortar or online.

Purchasing art internationally can be hassle-free once you have the right artist and curator to make the process as easy and simple as possible for you.

And I am that person! Why? Well, first of all, I have eight (8) years of Senior Leadership experience in Sales, Operations and Customer Service with the world's leading Express Courier company - DHL! Which qualifies me as a Certified International Shipping expert. Secondly, about 50% of my art sales are to international clients, primarily to the United States and the United Kingdom.

It does not matter whether you purchase your art from me or another international artist - the principles are the same worldwide.

But before we get to the actual purchase and shipping, let us talk a bit about selecting your art - after all, you won't be able to touch and feel the art before it arrives at your location, but we can definitely utilize technology to help.

The first step will be to have an idea of what size art you will need. You may refer to my previous blog "How To Choose the Right Size Painting for Your Home and How to Hang Them" for some thoughts on this topic.

Now that you have decided on size, and hopefully a color theme, you would then go to my (or another artist's) website to view the collection. Hopefully, something will catch your eye and you will want to see more.

To help you with that, I arrange viewing appointments by Zoom (FaceTime or WhatsApp video are also options) so that you can get a closeup view of the art. Some clients know exactly what they want and purchase based on the photographs provided on the website or social media and have no need for a video appointment. And when they actually receive the art, they always say "it looks so much better in person!"

Assuming you have made your choice and payment, I take care of the rest. However, there are still some items for you to consider as the receiver of the art shipment in your country - the biggest one being the consideration for Customs Duties & Taxes. Every country has a dollar value above which Customs Duties and Taxes will need to be paid for by the receiver, known as the de minimis value. This dollar value varies from country to country. For example, in the United States, it is USD800; in Jamaica, it is USD100; in Canada it is CAD20; in the UK it is GBP135; in Argentina, it is USD0.

As the receiver, you will need to pay these charges before the shipment is delivered to you (yes! I only offer door-to-door worldwide express delivery). I will mention a few reasons why a little further down in this blog.

Here is a website that outlines the de minimis values for several countries around the globe:

Once I have packaged the artwork and am shipping it off to you, I ALWAYS insure the shipment. The reason for this is that should the artwork get damaged or lost, the claim process is way simpler for insured shipments. I get a full refund of the value of the shipment and the shipping charges, and so do you (when I pass this refund on to you): WIN-WIN

And on to my final point - why do I only offer door-to-door express delivery? Here are a few reasons why:

  • Speed - the less time a shipment spends on its journey, the less likely it is to get damaged or lost. Regular post mail can take weeks!

  • Visibility - express shipping companies offer full tracking visibility along the journey, from origin to destination, that not all postal services offer

  • Value - value, which is very different from cost, is priceless, considering how much you actually paid for your artwork, you want to not have to worry if your artwork arrives safely and intact. And on the off-chance that it does not arrive safely, there is a process to get your money back.

  • Peace of mind - as I said, hassle-free, short transit times (2-7 days depending on where you are) so that you can hang (all artwork is sold with hanging hardware already installed so it is ready to hang as soon as you unpack it) and enjoy your artwork in a short time.

So the next time you are looking to purchase art, consider not restricting yourself to local purchases, but rather, cast you eyes across the borders.

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