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When I see a famous writer, I will say, “Hi, I read your book” (or “have read”?).
When I see a movie star, I will say, “Hey, I watched your movie" (or “have watched”?).
So, when I see a artist, what’s the word in: “Hi, I ——— your artwork”?
(Maybe it’s a photo, or a painting or a sculpture.)

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You can also 'read' (used in the sense of understanding) a painting. –  coleopterist Aug 9 '12 at 19:33
    
Thanks for all your answers. –  Sheldon Lee Aug 9 '12 at 20:57
    
Thanks for all your answers. Honestly, I don't know which is better. Maybe I should say more about the question. Take "I read your book" as an example. This means not just I saw your book(probably not even open the book). For the artwork, it like "I saw your photos, but not just saw. I looked at it for a while, and tried to understand what it means." And it is not a comment of the photos. –  Sheldon Lee Aug 9 '12 at 21:03
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I think that "saw" can be used when the medium is entirely visual while implying that you looked at it for a while. –  Charles Aug 9 '12 at 21:15
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Intrigued? Fascinated! Blown away!! (Let's hope it warrants hyperbole) –  bib Aug 9 '12 at 21:37

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You can say

I viewed your photo/painting/sculpture.

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I think this is right. But I am not sure. –  Sheldon Lee Aug 9 '12 at 21:11
    
@SheldonLee: Be sure. It is the one-word term meaning someone "took time to appreciate the work as art." +1 for Jasper. –  Robusto Aug 9 '12 at 21:56

Ordinarily, one would say "I saw your painting". If the piece were more of an installation or somehow involved an element of performance art, one might be better saying "I experienced your work". Can you provide some more context about what you are trying to communicate? Do you just want to get across that you have some familiarity with the artist's work, or are you trying to initiate a deeper interaction? If the latter, you probably want to talk more about your evaluation of the work, or about your subjective experience of the work.

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I mean not just see. Seeing could be just 1 second.(am I right?). I mean like taste delicious food or read an attractive book. I am not a native English speaker, hope you know what I mean. –  Sheldon Lee Aug 9 '12 at 20:04

If you're wanting to convey something more positive than "have seen", you might try:

I was very impressed with your artwork.

or, more simply:

I was impressed with your artwork.

(This works especially well if the artist happens to be an impressionist painter who appreciates puns.)

You could also try one of these:

I very much enjoyed your artwork.
I quite enjoyed your artwork.

That has more of the "savoring" connotation that you mentioned in your comment.

One more possibility:

I have admired your artwork.

According to NOAD, admire can mean to regard something "with respect or warm approval", or to "look at with pleasure".

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Thwack. Just sayin'. –  Marthaª Aug 9 '12 at 20:26
    
Thanks for you answer. But it should not be a comment. The word I want, is just like "I read your book", not "impressed with your book". –  Sheldon Lee Aug 9 '12 at 21:06
    
If you've enjoyed the artwork, or were impressed with it, then the fact that you've seen the artwork is implied. I don't think you want to say, "I ogled your artwork," although I suppose you could. "I've seen" or "I've viewed" are the two most obvious answers, but you specifically asked for a word that would imply you didn't merely glance at the artwork for a fleeting moment. There's, "I gazed upon your artwork," but that seems dreadfully flowery. That's why I offered my two suggestions - unlike books and movies, there's no length to a painting; now you see it, now you don't. –  J.R. Aug 9 '12 at 21:15
    
"I've seen your work. [Adjective]." is a common phrase for the description of most art that isn't music or literature. @SheldonLee –  Mazura Sep 22 at 2:07

If you have done more than just viewed or glanced at someone's artwork, you could say, "I have studied your painting."

In this sense, study means: to examine closely; scrutinize; to give careful thought to; contemplate.

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It depends a lot on what you want to express to the artist. An art critic is likely to view a painting, while an art student is likely to study it. –  Bobbi Bennett Aug 10 '12 at 2:08

You could say:

I appreciate your painting/photographs/sculpture.

or

I appreciated your painting/photographs/sculpture.

However, the latter might be construed to meant that you did something to cause its value to increase.

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In the context, I don't see a problem of the alternate meaning of "appreciate" being mistaken. –  TecBrat Aug 9 '12 at 20:56
    
@TecBrat - Probably not, but on this site, we are always thinking about the nuances. –  bib Aug 9 '12 at 21:13
    
The fastest way for artwork to appreciate in value is when the artist passes away. So, the last thing you'd want to say to an artist is, "I'm going to appreciate your paintings." –  J.R. Aug 9 '12 at 21:24
    
In some places, if you buy artwork and the value appreciates, there is an obligation to share the gain with the artist, so appreciation might be appreciated. –  bib Aug 9 '12 at 21:34

If you are somewhat reserved in your opinion, you might say:

"I've chanced upon you artwork some four years ago."
"I've noticed your paintings at the arts convention."
"I've observed your style of work before."

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