A number of worthwhile online platforms for collecting have sprung up in recent years, some of which carry works on par with anything you'll find in a brick-and-mortar gallery. Just be smart about how you shop them: Customer-service numbers can be a valuable asset in evaluating pieces online, says art adviser Rachel Greene. "Find out if there's a way to see it in person or get more images so you know it's not going to look like a bad dot-matrix print," she says. Here, a few destinations to shop.
Why You Shouldn't Buy Art, William Powhida (20x200)
They're not for ambitious collectors, but these sites are terrific for budget-conscious shoppers, offering an array of inexpensive prints and photographs, including many from big-name artists.
Launched last year as a gathering place for blue-chip galleries, this site has partnered with New York institutions like David Zwirner, Marianne Boesky, Marian Goodman, and Metro Pictures, and international tastemakers like Sadie Coles HQ in London, kurimanzutto in Mexico City, and i8 Gallery in Reykjavik. (First image: It's All Derivative: Campbells Soup In Gold, Negative, Bill Claps)
Elegy Study (Belknap 209), Robert Motherwell
Another new entry from 2011, it's the Sotheby's of the online world, hosting benefit auctions in support of nonprofits and museums like the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Public Art Fund in New York City.
Ode, Mario Cravo Neto
Founded by respected New York dealers Jane and James Cohan, the two-year-old venture hosts online fairs that run for several weeks at a time, like an editioned-prints series from London's celebrated Whitechapel Gallery (open through December 21).
Last Riot Series: The Carousel, AES+F
Launched in October after years of delays, this high-profile venture backed by big names like Larry Gagosian, Dasha Zhukova, and Wendi Murdoch promises to do for art what Pandora does for music and Netflix does for movies, helping enthusiasts discover new work using a high-powered algorithm.