Modern Oil Paintings Buying Guide

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Modern Oil Paintings Buying Guide

For art enthusiasts, investing in oil paintings provide an aesthetic pleasure for both serious art collectors and those looking for household decorations. They can range from highly expensive and sought after workings from esteemed artists such as Vincent Van Gogh or Claude Monet to amateur painters who are looking to sell their items for more affordable amounts.

Consider using auction website eBay which has many different oil paintings from numerous sellers and various levels to cater the UK market.

What Are Oil Paintings?

  • The process of making an oil painting involved the slow-drying of paint pigments suspended in a medium of drying oil. The type of oil used to suspend the paint can vary but is most often linseed oil and is boiled with a certain resin to make a varnish; this can give the painting a fantastic finish after it has dried out. Depending on the type and amount of oil used, the drying process can last for long periods of several weeks. Because of the long-winded process, several sessions can be undertaken by the artist where additional layers to the picture can be added.
  • In more modern oil paintings, water soluble paint has been developed that can make the overall process of completing an oil painting much shorter than using traditional oils. These contain an emulsifier that allows the oil to be thinned with water, leading to a quicker drying period.
  • Traditionally, oil paintings were constructed with the artist sketching out the outline of their work into the canvas and then go over this with the final oil paint mixture. Separate layers are coated over each other to finalise the desired effect. Each new layer must contain more oil content than the previous layer already painted; if this isn’t the case then the final creation is likely to crack and peel.

Oil Painting Themes

The subject matter of oil paintings has no restrictions although they usually depict real life scenes or more commonly, human beings. Some famous works from previous centuries include 17th century ‘The Elevation of the Cross’ by Peter Paul Rubens and the 19th century ‘Portrait of Dr. Gachet’ by Vincent Van Gogh

Portrayals of landscapes or cityscapes are popular theme for oil paintings, where a certain scene or background has tried to be replicated by the artist. Again, portraits are another familiar subject matter that buyers will come across when searching out different oil paintings. They can range from serious depictions of historical or political figures to more modern human representations. Other fashionable types of oil paintings can include such topics as:

  • Seascapes
  • Floral/gardens
  • Still Life
  • Animals

Styles of Oil Paintings

  • Oil paintings can be formed in various fashions in line with way the artist wishes to portray his ideas and their skill level. When coming to make a purchase then it may help to search specifically for a certain style of oil painting that may suit your interests and also the position or room where it will be placed. Below is a quick run through of some of the different styles on the market.
  • Many abstract oil paintings have been constructed by oil painters which are more conceptual and expressive in their design. The artist will tend to use more freedom with their brushstrokes to recreate both conventional and unconventional images.
  • Impressionist paintings are those with small, soft but expressive brushstrokes that make up the whole picture and try to take advantage of natural light. They have a wide range of themes to satisfy a broad range of interests.
  • For people who like their art to be as realistic as possible, then oil paintings which represent human or environmental life as closely as possible are types of oil painting also. This is contrary to surrealist oil paintings, which can depict a whole host of unnatural subjects in a degree of styles and forms.
  • Other styles of oil paintings can include art deco, cubism and pop art. Also remember that, if shopping online or on eBay, that many pieces will not be classified at all. This may be because the seller is not sure of how to define a painting, or because it could possibly fall into two or more categories. In this sense, not having an exact type of oil painting in mind could possibly widen the search and unearth an unexpected find.

Tips for Buying Modern Oil Paintings

Before coming to make a purchase of an oil painting, then first take into consideration a few thingsthat can be the difference between a good or bad transaction.

  • One of the first aspects to consider is the size of the painting and how big it is going to be in terms of fitting on a wall. Analyze the area where it will be positioned using a ruler and have a figure in mind before coming to even look at the relevant paintings. Check the height and width dimensions of any item before agreeing to part with money.
  • In tune with this, consider where abouts in the room they will be positioned in terms of the colour scheme and any surrounding art works, ornaments or furniture. This may help you decide between one or two certain workings depending on their style and substance.
  • Another aspect to consider is whether to buy an original oil painting completed on a canvas, or to go for a reproduction, usually in the form of a print. Many distinguished paintings from famous artists will be out of range for the average buyer, high-quality duplications of the real thing can make them more affordable.
  • One main worry for many people is the fear of buying an art work and it being a fake. Buying online will not allow for you to check the painting personally so make sure to do as much research into the matter as is possible. If the chance presents itself to view the painting first-hand then make sure to examine the quality of brushstrokes and also if there is a genuine artists signature on the work. Don’t be scared to ask as many questions as possible to the relevant people.
  • The price of oil paintings vary tremendously between different styles, different periods when they were created and the artist who has painted them. Bear in mind that if a particular piece is appealing to you, then just because it is on the low side doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t be purchased. Although there are some paintings that are well out of range of most UK buyers, there are many chances to acquire oil paintings at an affordable rate – especially if choosing to buy on eBay.

Advice for Buying a Modern Oil Painting on eBay

When coming to make a purchase on eBay then it is important to know how to be able to work the site as efficiently as possible before coming to make a bid. This section will look at how to search for modern oil paintings on eBay and how to make a bid in a safe fashion.

  • The most obvious way of finding a relative item on eBay is by the keyword search option. Simply type in the required type of oil painting, if known, and browse the results. Alternatively by typing in “modern oil painting” this will bring up all the results listed with these terms in its title.
  • The ‘advanced’ search page can be utilised to include combined search terms and also exclude any unnecessary words if needed. Many more search options can also be used to specify exactly the painting type.
  • Another way to perform a more general search is to browse by category. Firstly go into the ‘Art’ category and select the ‘Paintings’ sub-category. eBay classifies modern oil paintings as ones between 1900 and 1979 so select this option to bring up every work created between this period. 
  • Using the preference menu on the left hand side allows choosing between the different types of painting available, be it which subject they are representing or in what style they have been crafted into. It is also possible to designate the date of the paintings creation and its condition, along with the desired minimum and maximum price.
  • When the list has been narrowed down significantly to your liking, make sure to read the item’s description about the painting as carefully as possible.  Check out the seller and their previous transactions aswell to remain confident about buying the painting from them. If there are doubts about any part of the purchase then don’t be afraid to contact the member via eBay and ask them a question. Using PayPal is considered the smartest and quickest way to pay for an item on eBay.


Do as much research as possible on the various types of oil paintings on the market before coming to make a final acquisition. Consider the area where it will be placed in the home and also if paying for a distinguished, canvas original or more affordable reproduction suits your budget. If buying on eBay, look out for the best deals and remember to stay safe before making a purchase.

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