Jennifer Daily Art

How to Gift Art (the right way)

How to Gift Art (the right way)

Years ago I was at a friend’s milestone birthday party at her gorgeous home in San Francisco. My friend was a graphic designer and had a pretty fantastic art collection. Her taste leaned modern but eclectic, and so it was no big surprise that her sister splurged on buying her a new piece of original art to celebrate her big day. Well, I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of some disappointing birthday or Christmas gifts before and muttered a few hollow “No, I love it! It’s great!” comments while secretly wondering if you’ll be able to return the gift. So that is how I recognized as soon as she unwrapped the canvas that she hated it. And then it got really quiet and everyone felt bad. Fast forward a few years and my pal still has that art hanging in her house. And she doesn’t like it any more now than she did then. But she feels like she can’t take it down because it will hurt her sister’s feelings. How’s that for a gift that keeps on giving :(


The thing is, art is so very personal that it is a really REALLY hard thing to pick out for another person. But the sentiment behind gifting a piece of original art is so amazingly generous and personal (there’s that word again) that I still think you should do it. Here’s how:

  1. Sneak a peek at your lucky recipient’s Pinterest boards or social media accounts. See if there are any artists she clearly admires.
  2. Check out this artist’s website and see if there are any works in your price range.
  3. Contact the artist and explain that you are wanting to buy a gift for someone. Ideally the artist will sell you a gift certificate along with a small framed print that you can give on the big day along with the gift certificate.
  4. If you really want to knock the recipient’s socks off, commission a painting by her favorite artist. But wait and let her communicate with the artist so she gets exactly what she wants. The small framed print is a great stand-in on the gift giving day here as well.
  5. As a final option you can purchase a gift certificate to an online gallery/shop for emerging artists and allow your lucky recipient to choose her own art that way.


If you go this route to buy your loved one an original piece of art I can almost guarantee you pro-level gift-giving status. Plus you’ll feel good about supporting an independent artist and giving a gift that will be with your special person for a very, very long time.

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