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Frequently Asked Questions

Does my artwork come with a certificate of authenticity?
Yes. Certificates are not delivered with the artwork for security purposes. They are mailed within the first fifteen days of the month following delivery.
Can you frame my art before shipping it?
Yes. Framing costs are added to the price of the artwork. Please allow two weeks for framing.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards. Payment can also be made by bank wire transfer and by check. Checks will have to clear the bank before shipment takes place.
How have you arrived at the prices?
All of the art and photos we offer come from highly regarded artists and photographers. Prices have been established for the work of the artists we represent for some time. Each artist is well known and many of the artworks and photos you see on our site are known the world over. Virtually everything we offer is either a one-of-a-kind or available in strictly limited editions. When one considers the size of a worldwide market and the demand for the kind of work we show, as well as an international market that continues to acquire these works of diminishing supply, value and price go hand in hand. As works become more scarce, their prices are necessarily increased by their owners.
Where does SFAE get all of the art and photos you offer?
We work directly with the photographers, artists and/or their agents and estates. Almost all works come directly from the artists or photographers themselves.
I missed one of your current exhibitions, can I still see it?
Yes, you can view past shows online and in the gallery. We keep the majority of the art from past shows in the gallery and can often easily access them to show you in person.
How should I care for my art?
We suggest you display your art out of direct sunlight, in a moderate temperature, and away from water or damp environments. If your art has been delivered to you in an unframed state, it is recommended that you DO NOT unpack the art yourself. The highest possibility of damage occurs when one who is not familiar with art handling attempts to remove unframed artwork from its container. You should take it to your framer in the packaging in which it is received if at all possible. And, of course, we are always here to help or answer questions whenever you need.
I have never bought art before. Who can I talk to or where can I learn more?
We have an experienced staff who are happy to answer any questions you may have and without obligation. We are interested in long term relationships and we have much experience and knowledge to share. We love what we do, we love the art and artists we work with and, a prerequisite to being art dealers, we enjoy talking to people about art. We have heard every question that has ever been asked, so all questions are welcome. We invite you to contact us by phone 415-441-8840 or email—or if you find yourself in San Francisco, please visit us.
How should I decide what to buy?

The best way to make a decision, in our opinion, is to judge the personal impact a work has upon you and choose accordingly. Art, one might say, is a living thing that changes and evolves from day to day. Like any relationship you may have, some may have greater personal meaning than others. As you choose your friends, so you might choose your art. If a piece means something strongly to you now, that meaning is likely to grow the longer it shares your life.

Price can be a consideration, of course. How much you spend in making a purchase has largely to do with whether the object of your desire is worth more than the money it takes to purchase. If something is well outside your ability to buy, then look for something that is meaningful in a price range that does work for you. Limited edition works often make extraordinary things available that might otherwise be financially inaccessible.

Conclusion? Please buy what you like. Buy something you know that you would not part with even if someone offered you twice what you paid for it a year later. You are not adding a “thing” to your life but, like a friend, a relationship that is going to grow over time.

Will what I buy go up in value?

There are many examples of people who have bought a work of art and several years later find out that it is worth several times what they paid for it. There are several things to consider.

First, if you purchase a work of art because you think it will go up in value, you have already distanced yourself to some degree from a genuine and meaningful experience.

Second, if the question is “will the art purchase I make hold its value?” then imagine how you would feel after purchasing something you enjoy and someone offered to buy it from you for what you paid. If you were offered more than you paid, how much more would you have to be offered to sell? You will find your value there. And virtually every art owner finds value in the art they own in this way as well.

Third, we all spend money on many forms of entertainment, relaxation and excitement. How much would that add up to in a year or two? Or in five years? Whatever that amounts to is the value we found investing in those various vacations, concerts, spas, etc. We are then left with fond memories, souvenirs, photographs we take.

In the case of investing in art, the pleasure, entertainment, relaxation, or stimulation we receive has a cost. If your idea of an appropriate budget for special experiences might be $500 a year, for example, and the work of art you purchase costs $2000 then after four years you received your money’s worth. If you enjoy it for 10 years, your entertainment cost will be $200 per year. And, of course, the value of the work of art you have purchased will not likely be at zero in year eleven.

Art of note and fame has, over many years, been known to hold its value or increase in value depending upon various factors. One factor is market size and another is market demand.

The art we represent is well known internationally and our clients come from around the world. We believe the art we offer is meaningful to tens of millions of people and very few who would have an interest in purchasing even know how or where to purchase. A final consideration related to value is that with a growing demand for something of a diminishing supply, as is the case of the artwork we offer, you might conclude that value will inevitably be positively affected.


©2010 SAN FRANCISCO ART EXCHANGE LLC
 1.415.441.8840