What kind of art sells best?

03/02/2023, 11:44 AM
What kind of art sells best?
Most artists who take their work seriously would likely prioritize artistic expression over making a profit. Nevertheless, for those who hope to earn some extra income through their art, the topic is of significant interest. If generating revenue from art is a top priority, it may be wise to investigate market trends before putting brush to canvas.

What Is Top-Selling Art Themes?

This is not to say that an artist should create art solely for the purpose of selling it. However, it does occur in certain instances. For example, an artist residing in a heavily frequented tourist area may discover that they can easily sell paintings of local scenes. These sales can assist in covering expenses while the artist continues to paint in their preferred style and subject matter.

Are there specific colors that are more marketable? There is a long-standing belief that incorporating red into a painting can enhance its commercial viability. The story of English painter J.M.W. Turner is often cited in this regard. Turner added a red splatter to a painting that was already on display for an exhibition at the Royal Society. Was this a deliberate attempt to increase the painting's commercial appeal, or merely a dramatic finishing touch?
This article delves into popular art subjects and themes that are in high demand, including sales in the realm of fine art prints. 

📌 Well, our TOP-SELLING ART THEMES include:
  • Traditional landscapes
  • Local views
  • Modern or semi-abstract landscapes
  • Abstracts
  • Dogs
  • Figure studies (excluding nudes)
  • Seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes
  • Wildlife
  • Impressionistic landscapes
  • Nudes

sell art

Landscape Paintings

When it comes to selling art, landscape paintings are a natural choice. Everyone can appreciate a beautiful view, making it a universal subject matter that works well in any setting. Depicting local scenery can also tap into buyers' personal and nostalgic connections to a particular place, while beach scenes and seascapes have a wide appeal due to their association with relaxation and vacation.

📌 Let's summarize. Which types of landscapes sell best?
  • Local scenery & Local scenes (views, landmarks, particular places)
  • Seascapes, Harbors, & Beach scenes 
  • Modern & Semi-abstract landscapes

Abstract Paintings

Abstract paintings are also popular among art buyers, as they can complement a wide range of interior design styles and allow viewers to interpret and assign meaning to the artwork freely. Appreciation for art has evolved over the years, and now, a significant number of individuals buy artworks to complement their interior design. 

Abstract paintings, in particular, have gained popularity due to their ability to blend effortlessly with different types of décor. Their use of colors, textures, and shapes makes them an ideal choice for people looking to create a cohesive look in their homes. Moreover, abstract art typically conveys a symbolic or nonrepresentational approach, allowing viewers to interpret and imbue their own meaning. This sense of freedom and personal interpretation is another factor that contributes to the popularity of abstract paintings.

Paintings of Dogs and Wildlife

Paintings of dogs and other wildlife evoke feelings of intimacy and connection, with dog breeds being a particularly smart choice for targeting the canine fan club. On the other hand, wildlife and other animals are often depicted in larger, wilder settings, suggesting untamed nature.

It's no secret that people have a soft spot for paintings featuring dogs, almost as much as they adore their furry companions. For artists looking to tap into this canine fan club, focusing on popular dog breeds could prove to be a smart move. Dogs are typically depicted in domestic settings, making eye contact with the viewer, and creating an intimate and endearing atmosphere. In contrast, wildlife and other animals are usually shown in vast, untamed settings, viewed from a distance and in profile. Therefore, paintings of dogs often evoke a sense of friendship and closeness, while wildlife paintings convey a feeling of raw, untamed nature.

Figures & Nudes

Lastly, figures and nudes continue to draw interest from viewers, although the trend is shifting towards clothed rather than unclothed figures. Regardless, there will always be a market for artwork featuring people. While it's important for artists to create what they're passionate about, keeping an eye on what sells can help sustain a successful career. Looking at a painting of another person can create a sense of connection between the viewer and the subject. Whether it's a portrait, an abstract representation, or an impressionistic study, people have always been drawn to images of other people. 

Which is More Popular: Original Art or Prints?

In the world of art, prints tend to sell more than original works. This is mainly due to the price difference, with prints being a more affordable option for many art enthusiasts. Limited-edition prints, in particular, are highly sought after. These prints are produced in a limited quantity, with the artist specifying the number of prints that will be made. Each print is then numbered, adding to its exclusivity and making it feel like a unique and special purchase. As a result, buyers get the best of both worlds – a somewhat original piece of art that is not entirely mass-produced, but also less expensive than original artworks.

📌 Let's summarize:
  • Prints usually sell better than original works
  • Limited-edition prints are the most popular

It can be interesting for you in this case:

art prints

What is the Best Size for Selling Paintings?

According to most artists, smaller paintings tend to sell better. This is because smaller works are usually priced lower than larger ones, making them more accessible to buyers on a budget. Additionally, smaller paintings can fit into smaller spaces, require less of an aesthetic commitment, and are easier to store. However, it's important to keep in mind that selling fewer larger paintings could be just as lucrative as selling more smaller ones, as one large painting can be sold for the same amount as multiple smaller ones.

While smaller paintings may be easier to sell, larger paintings are often priced higher due to the greater amount of time and materials required to create them. Nonetheless, some artists may choose to price their paintings based on the level of skill and talent required rather than simply the size of the canvas. In any case, many successful artists choose to paint in a variety of sizes to appeal to a wider audience. Some smaller-scale artists create paintings that are thematically or stylistically related to one another to encourage customers to buy multiple pieces and create a cohesive display. Ultimately, the best size for selling paintings will depend on a variety of factors, including the artist's goals, the target audience, and the current market demand.

Which Art Mediums and Sizes Sell Best?

When it comes to selling art, there are a few factors to consider. One of the most significant considerations is the medium used, with limited-edition prints being the most popular due to their controlled supply and lower price point compared to original paintings. The list of top-selling art mediums includes limited-edition offset-litho prints, limited-edition giclée prints, open-edition offset-litho prints, oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, artists' original prints, and open-edition giclée prints.

In terms of size, many artists find that smaller paintings tend to sell better due to their lower price point and ability to fit in smaller spaces. However, selling fewer large paintings at a higher price point can yield the same financial results. Ultimately, the time, skill, and talent that go into a painting should play a role in its pricing, and some artists even wait to gauge audience reaction before setting a price.

📌 So, our TOP-SELLING MEDIUMS include:
  • Offset-litho prints (limited edition)
  • Giclée prints
  • Open-edition offset-litho prints
  • Oil & Acrylic paintings
  • Watercolors
  • Artists' original prints (etchings and engravings)
  • Open-edition giclée prints

buy art

Where Do We Buy Art?

The art market has transformed in recent years, and traditional brick-and-mortar galleries no longer hold the same power as they once did. In the past, galleries acted as gatekeepers, and without their approval, it was nearly impossible for artists to sell their work. However, with the advent of the internet and other alternative sales venues, artists now have more options for reaching buyers.

In today's art world, many galleries have shifted their focus to online sales and mobile apps, recognizing that the vast majority of art sales now take place in the digital space. Online marketplaces like Etsy, DeviantArt, Jose Art Gallery, and Zazzle have made it easier than ever for artists to reach a wider audience and sell their work without the need for intermediaries. These platforms provide a direct line of communication between artists and buyers, enabling them to negotiate prices and terms without the traditional gallery model. 

What Colors Are the Most Popular?

Although no credible research has been conducted on the topic, there are some interesting anecdotal accounts regarding the most popular colors in paintings. According to Brett Gorvy, co-head of contemporary art at Christie's International, red is the most desirable and sought-after color in art, followed by white, blue, yellow, green, and black. In addition, experts at Sotheby's suggest that paintings featuring red may receive increased attention and valuation due to a surge in art buyers in Asian markets. However, some experts believe that red's popularity may be waning and that blue may soon become the art world's favorite color. Despite these claims, the appeal of a painting is highly subjective and varies from person to person.


This data was obtained from a survey published in Art Business Today. If your preferred subject happens to be one of the most popular, you're in luck. However, it is important to note that if an artist is skilled at painting nudes, they may have more success focusing on their strengths rather than producing mediocre landscapes. The list contains several notable and unexpected omissions. For instance, why are dogs more popular than cats or horses? In my art circle, there are two women who accept commissions for animal portraits, and they appear to receive more requests for cats than dogs. However, my experience is purely anecdotal. As mentioned previously, an artist should not solely prioritize sales; they should also create art that brings them joy. Nevertheless, professional artists may find it beneficial to produce a few commercial paintings to keep themselves financially stable.