Is it acceptable to buy art over Instagram? Asia Director of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Nick Buckley Wood and Director of Alisan Fine Arts, Daphne King-yao, sound off below

Nick Buckley Wood: Yes

In the same way that dating apps were treated with caution when they first emerged, using Instagram as a sales platform, particularly for art, is still frowned upon by some. But this is fast changing.

Recently a study revealed that over 50 per cent of art collectors who use Instagram have bought art through the app, including leading collectors such as megastar and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nowadays, it is common practice for collectors to buy an artwork unseen. In a truly global and fast-moving market, it’s often impossible to constantly visit galleries, museums, fairs and artist studios.

Online platforms, particularly Instagram, are instrumental in helping to democratise the art world, providing the opportunity for anyone to discover the next Picasso.

The joy of buying a work of art through Instagram is twofold. First, there’s the excitement of discovery. The second wave comes when receiving the artwork and experiencing it for the first time in real life.

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When buying a serious piece of art, one should always do one’s homework and research the artist and artwork before buying. Now is the time to support more artists on Instagram and unfollow the meme monsters and Kardashians.

Daphne King-Yao: No

The fact that Alisan Fine Arts is still thriving after 37 years testifies to the fact that the interaction of buying artwork is a highly personal experience.

At our core, art is a business of relationships: the relationship between the gallery and the artist, the gallery and the client, the client and the artist. A knee-jerk purchase over Instagram bypasses all three of these, which strips the collecting experience of its richness and depth.

On a mere surface level, it is nearly impossible to get a true sense of scale and texture, and most especially colour, over Instagram. An installation photo may approach these parameters, but to view a work in person is always superior to viewing through a screen or superimposed filters.

See also: Opinion: 8 Ways To Improve Hong Kong's Art Scene

We need to sense the impasto, view a canvas from several angles, engage in a conversation about the work with another person, and through these channels achieve that feeling of oneness that might lead to a collector adding an artwork to their collection.

Unfortunately, forgers have now reached a level of professionalism where even trained art appraisers can find it difficult to distinguish between an authentic work and a reproduction. Judging authenticity is even more problematic when buying art over social media.



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