A Guide to Buying African Paintings

A Guide to Buying African Paintings

July 04, 2023


African art has a rich and diverse history, with a wide range of artistic expressions and styles. The continent's vibrant cultures, stunning landscapes, and deep-rooted traditions have inspired artists for centuries. In this guide, we will delve into the world of African paintings, specifically focusing on contemporary, cultural, landscape, and abstract art.

Whether you're a seasoned art collector or a novice enthusiast, this article aims to provide you with essential tips and insights to make informed decisions when purchasing African paintings.

  1. Research and Familiarize Yourself:

    Before immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of African art, it's essential to embark on a journey of education. Delve into the vast array of styles, techniques, and artistic expressions that characterize African paintings. Explore the captivating works of esteemed artists who have left an indelible mark on the canvas of African artistry. Among these luminaries, discover the awe-inspiring creations of El Anatsui, whose shimmering tapestries redefine the boundaries of materiality and form. Engage with the vibrant narratives woven by Chéri Samba, whose colorful compositions offer profound insights into contemporary African society. Traverse the evocative landscapes of William Kentridge's imagination, where charcoal and pastel blend to evoke poignant reflections on history and memory. And journey through the kaleidoscopic visions of Ouattara Watts, whose fusion of cultural symbols and abstract motifs transports viewers into realms of transcendent beauty. By embarking on this voyage of discovery, you will cultivate a deep appreciation for the diverse artistic traditions of Africa, empowering yourself to discern authentic masterpieces from mere imitations.

  2. Determine Your Preferred Style:

    African art is a rich tapestry woven from diverse threads of tradition, innovation, and cultural expression. From the vibrant hues of a Masai warrior's robe to the intricate carvings adorning a Baule mask, it encompasses a vast array of styles and forms, each carrying its own unique story and significance.

    Contemporary African art stands at the intersection of tradition and modernity, where artists draw inspiration from ancestral practices while also embracing contemporary techniques and global influences. This fusion gives rise to a dynamic and ever-evolving artistic landscape, where ancient symbolism meets modern interpretation.

    Cultural art serves as a vibrant tapestry, weaving together the stories, rituals, and beliefs of countless African tribes and communities. Through intricate beadwork, elaborate textiles, and skillful sculpture, artists pay homage to the rich heritage and customs that have shaped their identities for generations.

    Landscape paintings transport viewers on a visual journey across Africa's breathtaking terrain, from the sun-drenched savannahs of the Serengeti to the otherworldly beauty of the Namib Desert. With each brushstroke, artists capture the essence of Africa's diverse geography, inviting us to immerse ourselves in its boundless beauty.

    In contrast, abstract art invites us to explore the realm of the imagination, where shapes, colors, and forms intertwine to create a visual language that transcends the boundaries of representation. Through abstract expressionism, artists seek to evoke emotions, provoke thought, and challenge perceptions, inviting viewers to embark on a journey of introspection and discovery.

    As you embark on your exploration of African art, take a moment to reflect on which style resonates most deeply with your sensibilities. Whether you find yourself drawn to the timeless traditions of cultural art or the boundless creativity of abstract expressionism, let your intuition guide you as you uncover the beauty and complexity of Africa's artistic legacy.

  3. Authenticity and Source:

    When delving into the realm of African art acquisition, meticulous attention to authenticity and ethical sourcing is paramount. It's imperative to embark on this journey armed with knowledge and discernment. Start by seeking out reputable galleries, trusted art dealers, or esteemed auction houses that boast specialization in African art.

    Conduct thorough research into the background of the seller or institution. Scrutinize their track record, delve into their affiliations with respected art associations, and gauge their reputation within the art community.

    During your inquiries, don't hesitate to seek documentation that attests to the artwork's provenance. Authentic African paintings come with a trail of evidence, validating their origin and ensuring their legitimacy. This documentation is not just a certificate; it's a story that connects the artwork to its cultural heritage and artistic lineage.

  4. Engage with the Artist or Seller:

    When seeking out artwork, make an effort to establish a connection with the artist or seller. Engaging with them can provide valuable insights into the artwork's genesis and its cultural relevance. Delving into the artist's motivations and influences can enrich your understanding and appreciation of the piece. If you're buying directly from the artist, this connection might even open up avenues for commissioning a bespoke creation tailored to your tastes or acquiring a piece from their latest collection.

  5. Consider Your Budget:

    African paintings come in a wide range of prices, from affordable prints to high-end original works. Set a budget that suits your financial capacity and explore options within that range. Remember that quality and artistic value should be the primary factors influencing your decision, rather than the investment potential.

  6. Preservation and Display:

    Once you have acquired an African painting, ensure proper preservation and display. Protect the artwork from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and humidity to prevent fading or damage. Consider consulting a professional framer to choose an appropriate frame and display meth

  7. Emerging Artists and Galleries:

    In addition to established artists, exploring the works of emerging African artists can be a rewarding experience. Look for up-and-coming talents who bring fresh perspectives and innovative techniques to their artwork. Seek out galleries and art spaces that support and showcase these artists, as they often offer a platform to discover exciting new voices in the African art scene.

  8. Art Fairs and Exhibitions:

    Attending art fairs and exhibitions dedicated to African art offers an enriching journey into the dynamic world of creativity and cultural expression. Among these, the renowned 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair stands out as a beacon of diversity and innovation, drawing art lovers and collectors from around the globe to cities like London, New York, and Marrakech.

    Stepping into these bustling venues, one is greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors, forms, and narratives that reflect the rich tapestry of African heritage and contemporary life. From striking paintings to intricate sculptures, each piece pulsates with its own unique story, inviting viewers to explore the depths of African artistry.

    Moreover, these events serve as vibrant hubs of cultural exchange, where artists, gallery owners, and enthusiasts converge to celebrate creativity and forge meaningful connections. Conversations buzz with excitement as attendees engage with creators, gaining insights into their inspirations, techniques, and the broader cultural contexts that inform their work.

    For visitors, the experience goes beyond mere observation; it is an immersive journey that fosters a deeper understanding of African art's breadth and significance. Whether admiring the bold strokes of a canvas or delving into the symbolism of a sculpture, each encounter sparks curiosity and expands one's artistic horizons.

    Ultimately, attending such gatherings is not just about admiring art; it is about embracing a vibrant community, celebrating diversity, and nurturing a passion for creativity that transcends borders. In the midst of these bustling fairs and exhibitions, one discovers not only masterful works of art but also the profound beauty of shared human expression.

  9. Art Auctions:

    Participating in art auctions offers a thrilling opportunity to delve into the world of African paintings, where cultural richness and artistic mastery intertwine. Renowned auction houses like Bonhams and Sotheby's serve as vibrant arenas, showcasing a diverse array of captivating artworks. These auctions, specifically curated to highlight African art, provide enthusiasts and collectors with a chance to acquire pieces of historical and aesthetic significance.

    Before engaging in the excitement of bidding, it's crucial to undertake thorough research. Dive into the background of the artwork, explore the artist's oeuvre, and understand the context in which the piece was created. This comprehensive understanding not only enhances your appreciation of the artwork but also enables you to make informed decisions during the auction process.

    Setting a bidding limit is a prudent step to ensure that your enthusiasm doesn't lead to overspending. Determine a budget that aligns with your financial means and stick to it resolutely. While the allure of acquiring a coveted piece may be strong, disciplined bidding safeguards against impulsive decisions that could strain your finances.

    Auction dynamics are influenced by a myriad of factors, including the reputation of the artist, the rarity of the artwork, and prevailing market demand. Recognize that prices can fluctuate significantly, sometimes exceeding initial estimates due to competitive bidding. Exercise caution and remain vigilant throughout the auction, adjusting your strategy as needed to stay within your predetermined limits.

    Seeking guidance from experts can provide invaluable insights, especially for novice collectors navigating the intricacies of the art market. Consulting with specialists or appraisers can offer reassurance and clarity, helping you make confident decisions amidst the fervor of the auction room.

    Participating in African art auctions transcends mere acquisition; it's a journey that celebrates cultural heritage and fosters connections across continents. Embrace the exhilarating experience with a blend of enthusiasm, knowledge, and prudence, as you embark on the pursuit of acquiring exquisite African paintings to enrich your collection and broaden your cultural horizons.

  10. Online Marketplaces:

    In this era of digital innovation, the realm of African art has become readily accessible and navigable through online channels. With the advent of platforms such as Artsy and TingaTinga African Art, the expansive and diverse world of African paintings is brought right to the fingertips of enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. These virtual galleries showcase an extensive array of artworks, spanning from the masterpieces of renowned artists to the captivating creations of emerging talents.

    Through these platforms, patrons are bestowed with a wealth of information pertaining to each artwork. Detailed artist biographies, high-resolution images, and transparent pricing structures empower buyers to make informed decisions as they peruse through the myriad of offerings. Such accessibility not only enriches the experience of exploring African art but also facilitates the comparative analysis of different pieces, thereby aiding in the selection of the perfect addition to one's collection.

    However, amidst the convenience and abundance offered by online art marketplaces, it is imperative for buyers to exercise caution. Prior to making a purchase, it is prudent to conduct due diligence to ensure the credibility of both the platform and the individual seller. Scrutinizing return policies and authentication procedures is paramount to safeguarding one's investment and ensuring a seamless transaction process. By adhering to these practices, enthusiasts can confidently embark on their journey to acquire and appreciate the rich heritage encapsulated within African paintings.

  11. Cultural and Social Impact:

    Investing in African paintings offers a multifaceted experience that extends beyond mere aesthetic pleasure. By acquiring these artworks, you immerse yourself in a tapestry of beauty and cultural narratives while also becoming part of a larger social movement. Many African artists channel their creativity to confront pressing social and political issues, infusing their paintings with powerful messages of change and resilience.

    Moreover, your patronage directly contributes to the socioeconomic development of local communities. Through their art, these talented individuals not only express their creativity but also generate livelihoods and support grassroots initiatives. By supporting artists and galleries committed to ethical and sustainable practices, you actively participate in fostering a more inclusive and equitable art ecosystem.

    Each purchase becomes a meaningful act of empowerment, providing artists with the resources and recognition they need to thrive. Furthermore, your investment can spark dialogue and awareness about African cultures and challenges, fostering greater understanding and appreciation worldwide. Ultimately, by choosing to buy African paintings, you embark on a journey of cultural enrichment and social responsibility, where every brushstroke carries the promise of positive change.

  12. Regional Styles and Influences:

    Africa, spanning a vast expanse, is a continent teeming with an abundance of cultures, traditions, and artistic expressions that paint a rich tapestry of diversity. From the bustling markets of Marrakech to the serene landscapes of the Serengeti, each region offers a unique glimpse into the artistic soul of Africa.

    In West Africa, art bursts forth with a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and profound symbolism. From the bold geometric designs of Kente cloth to the intricate carvings of the Akan people, every stroke and shape tells a story deeply rooted in tradition and heritage.

    Venture into East Africa, and you'll find a canvas adorned with the breathtaking beauty of natural landscapes and majestic wildlife. The sweeping plains of the Maasai Mara inspire artists to capture the raw essence of the savanna, while the vibrant hues of tropical flora and fauna dance across paintings with a mesmerizing allure.

    Meanwhile, in Southern Africa, art serves as a poignant reflection of the region's complex history and diverse identities. Here, traditional techniques seamlessly blend with contemporary influences, giving rise to a dynamic fusion of past and present. Themes of cultural heritage, social justice, and personal identity reverberate through the vibrant hues and bold compositions of Southern African art.

    Understanding these regional nuances is key to appreciating the depth and diversity of African paintings. By immersing yourself in the kaleidoscope of styles and influences, you can embark on a journey of discovery, exploring the intricacies of each brushstroke and the stories they tell. Whether drawn to the vibrant energy of West African art or the soul-stirring landscapes of the East, there's a masterpiece waiting to capture your imagination and evoke your senses.

  13. Artistic Techniques and Materials:

    African artists employ a wide range of techniques and materials in their paintings. Traditional techniques such as batik, wood carving, beadwork, and mural painting continue to be celebrated, while contemporary artists experiment with mixed media, digital art, and installations. Familiarize yourself with these techniques and materials to appreciate the craftsmanship and skill behind each artwork. Some artists also incorporate found objects or recycled materials, contributing to the narrative of sustainability and environmental consciousness.

  14. Art as an Investment:

    While purchasing African paintings should primarily be driven by personal appreciation and connection to the artwork, it is worth considering the investment potential. The global interest in African art has been growing, leading to increased recognition and demand for African artists' works. However, art markets can be unpredictable, and investment potential varies from artist to artist. If you have a specific interest in art as an investment, consult art market experts or advisors who can provide insights into the market trends and potential value appreciation.

  15. Curating a Collection:

    Building a collection of African paintings allows you to create a cohesive narrative and showcase your appreciation for African art. Consider the themes, styles, and artists that resonate with you, and curate your collection accordingly. Grouping paintings based on cultural themes, artistic techniques, or specific periods can create a visually compelling and thought-provoking display. Documenting your collection with photographs and detailed information about each artwork will enhance its historical and archival value.

  16. Supporting Local Artists and Communities:

    When purchasing African paintings, consider supporting local artists and communities directly. Buying from artists or galleries based in Africa can have a more significant impact on the artists' livelihoods and the local art ecosystem. This direct connection also allows for a deeper understanding of the artist's cultural context and artistic journey. Additionally, some organizations and initiatives focus on empowering African artists and promoting fair trade practices. Supporting these endeavors ensures that the artists receive fair compensation for their work and contributes to the sustainable development of African art.


Buying African paintings is an opportunity to embrace the beauty, diversity, and cultural richness of the African continent. By delving into regional styles, understanding artistic techniques, appreciating the investment potential, curating a collection, and supporting local artists and communities, you can embark on a fulfilling journey of acquiring meaningful and captivating artworks. Remember, the true value of African paintings lies in the stories they tell, the connections they forge, and the appreciation they bring for the vibrant artistic heritage of Africa.

At Tinga Tinga Art, we are proud to offer a wide selection of authentic African paintings that celebrate the vibrant cultures, stunning landscapes, and diverse artistic expressions of the African continent. Our online platform,, serves as a gateway for art enthusiasts and collectors to discover and acquire unique pieces of African art, specifically focusing on contemporary, cultural, landscape, and abstract paintings.

With a deep appreciation for the rich artistic heritage of Africa, we curate our collection to showcase the works of both established and emerging African artists. Our artists employ a variety of techniques and materials, ranging from traditional methods to innovative approaches, resulting in captivating and thought-provoking artworks. Whether you are drawn to the colorful and symbolic motifs of West African art or the serene beauty of East African landscapes, our carefully curated collection represents the diverse regional styles and influences found throughout Africa.

At Tinga Tinga Art, we understand the importance of authenticity and ethical sourcing. We work closely with artists, galleries, and collectors to ensure that each painting we offer is genuine and accompanied by proper documentation that verifies its origin and authenticity. Our commitment to transparency and ethical practices means that you can confidently explore our collection, knowing that every artwork has been sourced and acquired responsibly.

We believe in fostering connections between collectors and artists. Our platform provides a space for you to engage with the stories and inspirations behind each painting, enabling a deeper understanding of the cultural context and artistic journey of the African artists we represent. We encourage you to explore the artist profiles, read about their creative processes, and discover the narratives that inform their works. By connecting collectors with artists, we aim to facilitate a meaningful exchange that goes beyond the act of purchasing art.

Tinga Tinga Art recognizes that buying African paintings is not only an aesthetic pursuit but also an opportunity to make a positive impact. We are dedicated to supporting the local African art communities and ensuring that the artists receive fair compensation for their work. By purchasing paintings from our website, you contribute to the sustainable development of African art and empower the talented artists who create these magnificent pieces.

Our user-friendly website,, provides a seamless and secure browsing and purchasing experience. Each artwork is accompanied by detailed descriptions, high-resolution images, and pertinent information about the artist, allowing you to make informed decisions. We prioritize customer satisfaction and provide excellent customer service, assisting you throughout the process, from selecting the perfect piece to delivering it safely to your doorstep.

In conclusion, at Tinga Tinga Art, we are passionate about sharing the beauty and cultural significance of African paintings with art enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. Visit our website,, to embark on a journey of discovery and acquire exceptional African paintings that will add a touch of African elegance and creativity to your art collection. Join us in celebrating the rich artistic heritage of Africa and supporting the talented artists who continue to shape the African art scene.

Size Guide

Centimeters (CM)

Inches (IN)

50CM x 40CM

19 11/16 in X 15 3/4 in

50CM x 50CM

19 11/16 in X 19 11/16 in

60CM x 60CM

23 5/8 in X 23 5/8 in

70CM x 50CM

27 9/16 in X 19 11/16 in

80CM x 60CM

31 1/2 in X 23 5/8 in

100CM x 80CM

39 3/8 in X 31 1/2 in

140CM x 110CM

55 1/8 in X 43 5/16 in