While the rise and rise of the art fair as spectacle, social event and forum for the new captures headlines, we can’t all get to Art Basel Miami or the upcoming Art Basel Hong Kong (May 15-18, 2014) or even tour the world’s small and interesting commercial galleries showing work of artists we may be interested in.
One of the greatest advantages to perusing art on-line is the obvious one: the sheer magnitude of the choice available. At any price point. Art insurer Hiscox, in their 2013 report, states that of the 70% of surveyed buyers who have bought art on the web, 26% of those have spent more than $85,000 on a work of art on-line. So much for having to see before you buy. The democratisation of the art world that the internet promotes makes art affordable and obviously accessible to young buyers or those new to the market. When a work on paper or a print in a limited edition can start at $100, the opportunity to begin to surround yourself with works you love and to build a collection is there for all who are driven by a desire and motivation to own something beautiful.
Many major galleries also offer on-line access as an adjunct to their bricks and mortar spaces. Saatchi Art has thousands of paintings, plus artworks in categories beyond painting, such as collage, digital works, sculpture or photography, which make it easy to refine your search and find a piece which speaks to you. The authority and credibility of a real-world gallery such as Saatchi creates a natural confidence for the buyer when she goes to buy on-line.
At on-line gallery Artspace, get as close as possible to the works of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Oldenburg without visiting them at the Met or The National Gallery. Marketplaces such as Artspace, Artfinder and VIP Art celebrate 20th century masters alongside new thrillers and up and coming art world stars: it was exciting to me to see that a print of John Baldessari’s The First $100,000 I Ever Made, 2012 could be mine for $6,200.
Shelter/interiors/home wares sites such as OneKingsLane present their wares in a curated offering, which encourages you to jump in and purchase an artwork when you’re buying a new sofa. Their regular, themed sales may focus on décor categories such as beach house, cabin in the woods, urban eclectic, so it’s quick and fun to select a painting or print according to colour and mood.
All venues are demystifying the previously opaque art world, making ownership achievable, less intimidating, enriching and fun for all. And it’s not all gallery-driven. Artists selling their own work on-line directly, managing their own careers and communicating with the people who are buying their work without the filter, restraints, and costs of a traditional gallery are finding success. The autonomy and creative freedom appeals to artists who seek an honest connection with those who respond to their work.