The Art of Gifting Art

3 minute read

Fine art makes for the most memorable and cherished of gifts because it is something the recipients live and grow with and continue to enjoy over time. In the age of one-click purchases and free two-day shipping, it is easy to find ourselves in the habit of gifting mass-produced products that seem to lose their luster in just a short while. Art is something that often outlives us - this fact alone speaks to its power and gravitas. If you are looking to upgrade your gift-giving routine to something more permanent and rewarding, we propose you consider the gift of fine art.

Read on to learn more about the art of gifting art.

Accounting for Taste

Lady in a White Dress by Giovanni Boldini Lady in a White Dress by artist Giovanni Boldini

It is important to do your homework on the gift receiver's taste. Make observations on the styles, movements, artists, and even the color palettes that grace the home of your recipient. Do they prefer works that are bold? More subdued? Is there a consistent time period or country of origin that particularly speaks to them? Engage them in conversations about art or plan a museum outing to observe what piques their interest before you purchase any gifts.

Choosing a Work

Senegalese Elephant by Antoine-Louise Barye Senegalese Elephant by artist Antoine-Louise Barye

A gifted artwork should reflect the taste of both the gift-giver and the recipient. The goal of gifting art might be to expand the recipient's horizons ever so slightly - you will want the work to seamlessly fit into their collection, without being so obvious that it's easily overlooked. Furthermore, by choosing a piece that marries your tastes, the work will remind them of you!

Keep it conservative. While there is absolutely a time and place for paintings and other works of art that are provocative in technique or subject matter, when giving a work of art to someone else, we recommend playing it a little more safe. Try to choose something that is timeless in nature - a painting or sculpture you could imagine yourself seeing everyday for years to come. Whether that means a Parisian cityscape, a seaside scene, or a small figurative bronze, know that many of these subjects are tried and true—and hence typically appeal to a universal audience.

Arbres en Fleur à Alet-les-Bains by Achille Laugé Arbres en Fleur à Alet-les-Bains by Achille Laugé

Not feeling confident that you have found the perfect gift? Consider arranging to have a piece of art sent on approval to the recipient. This way, there is plenty of flexibility, and your recipient won't feel pressured to love something that they didn't pick out themselves. Your M.S. Rau Antiques sales consultant would be happy to discuss the possibility of art on approval with you in more depth.

Budget

Your budget naturally affects the type of art you can give, but today’s art market offers convenient flexibility with regards to price range and selection. That being said, purchase the best you can afford. Unique works of art, like paintings, sculptures and drawings, will naturally cost you more than editioned works such as prints and photographs. However, by gifting a unique work of art, you speak to the individuality of the person who receives the artwork—and are literally giving something irreplaceable.

Logistics

If you live in the same city as your gift recipient and are confident in your ability to safely transport the painting or sculpture yourself, you might choose to hand deliver the artwork like you would a typical gift. Otherwise, we recommend giving advance warning that something special is on its way. That way the gallery you work with can help liaise a conveniently scheduled delivery.

Finishing Touches

Sacré-Coeur by Edouard Léon Cortès Sacré-Coeur by Edouard Léon Cortès

Are you and the recipient happy with the piece but not in love with the frame? Our team can assist in selecting a frame that will adequately suit the recipient's home and collection. We can also make recommendations or assist in properly lighting a work of art. We've witnessed it hundreds of times - the right frame and the right light can truly transform a work of art.

Ready for some inspiration? View M.S. Rau Antiques' current collection of fine art HERE to find the perfect gift.

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