The Art Of giving

Art makes a great gift that will be treasured for a lifetime. But how do you choose the right piece?

Art is such a personal and subjective thing that even the closest of people can be polarised by an artwork. So what hope is there of buying right artwork as a gift? We’ve put together the advice we’ve offered over the years, some arty-points and some insider tips to help you choose a piece that will be truly loved.

Fun Art or Fine Art

Probably the easiest way to work out someone’s art-taste is by looking at the pieces of art they already have on display in their home. There may be several different styles on show (this is most often the case) but a good starting point is to work out, as a whole collection, if they fall under the category of being ‘edgy’ or conventional artworks.

‘Edgy’ taste would include artworks that could be described as modern, geometric, abstract or pop-art. A more conventional collection might include artworks with realistic looking landscapes, still life, figurative or floral pieces. Of course this is a very simplistic way of looking at art and someone’s art taste, but it will help get the ball rolling. Of course this is a sliding scale, so try to work out how far towards ‘edgy’ or conventional the collection is.

If you have never really taken notice of the art in their home before and don’t have a chance for one last reconnaissance mission, have a think about the personality of the person themselves - could they be described as a bit quirky, fun, silly, wild - they might fall into the ‘edgy’ category. Are they grounded, traditional, serious, calm? If so, they might appreciate a more conventional artwork.

Home Is Where The Art Is

Something to keep in mind is the size, style and colours of the person’s home. At Vernissage Art we encourage people to purchase artworks they connect with and enjoy rather than trying to perfectly match to decor products, however, when buying art for someone else it can help you to make a decision about an artwork, particularly if you are stuck between two pieces. The colours, style and size of the artworks itself should all be considered - it would be a shame to give a beautiful large scale artwork to someone in a tiny apartment with nowhere to hang it. If you know the person loves blues and their home decor features blue colours, then buying an artwork with a jarring red might not be well received, even if the piece is otherwise perfect. It is these considerations that make for a thoughtful present.


The wonderful thing about art is that the price differs so much that it is impossible to know how much the piece would have cost without already knowing the artist. This means you need not worry that your budget is too high or too low - it is irrelevant with art, you can focus on choosing something you think is right. A tiny beautiful piece can cost the same as a large beautiful piece - it might simply be that one artist is at the beginning of their career and another feels more confident about their pricing.

To frame or not to frame?

Generally speaking a painting looks more finished with a frame, however many people become concerned when buying for others that the frame material might not match the frames of other pieces in the person’s home. The trend at the moment is towards natural timber frames such as oak and ash, however it is also important to make sure the frame complements the artwork. In general we find that the recipient enjoys the gift as a whole, rather than noticing the frame specifically or whether it is framed at all. In the end, if it is something that irritates them, they can always have it framed to their specifications later.

Gift Vouchers

If all else fails, there is always the option of a gift card. This is a completely valid way to still buy art for someone but without the pressure to choose the one perfect piece. Is a gift card just taking the easy option? Well not entirely - you still need to choose an art establishment that you believe offers the type of art that will be of interest as well as providing a budget that will make it possible to buy something. Some people may in fact prefer this as it gives them the opportunity to make their own choice of artworks and add to the budget if they wish. I can also work really well if you are buying a gift for a special occasion, such as a wedding or milestone birthday, where several members wish to pool expenses and would otherwise have to agree on the one piece of art. Tricky!

No matter how well you know the person, their personality, their home - buying art for anyone isn’t easy. Even choosing art for yourself is a challenge! But rest assured that art truly is a meaningful, personal and lovely gift, whether you get it spot on or not. Remember, as with any gift, it’s the thought that counts, and if you have taken all of the above into consideration, you have done your