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.)

  • You can also 'read' (used in the sense of understanding) a painting. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 19:33
  • 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. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 21:03
  • 2
    I think that "saw" can be used when the medium is entirely visual while implying that you looked at it for a while.
    – Charles
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 21:15
  • 1
    Intrigued? Fascinated! Blown away!! (Let's hope it warrants hyperbole)
    – bib
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 21:37

6 Answers 6


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".

  • 2
    Thwack. Just sayin'.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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". Commented Aug 9, 2012 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.
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 2:07

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.

  • 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. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 20:04

You can say

I viewed your photo/painting/sculpture.

  • I think this is right. But I am not sure. Commented Aug 9, 2012 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
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 21:56

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.

  • 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. Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 2:08

You could say:

I appreciate your painting/photographs/sculpture.


I appreciated your painting/photographs/sculpture.

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

  • In the context, I don't see a problem of the alternate meaning of "appreciate" being mistaken.
    – TecBrat
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 20:56
  • @TecBrat - Probably not, but on this site, we are always thinking about the nuances.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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.
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 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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