Posted: August 15, 2018 -
Growth of the Online Art Market
The move to online has been a dominant force shaping the industry over the past ten years. Gallery owners, dealers and auction houses have been sceptical of bringing collections online, with the fear that it may “burn” and ultimately devalue the works. Once images are on the Internet they can be redistributed and are often out of the artist, collector or dealers’ control. Factors such as these have made convincing people to make the move online challenging. The industry still struggles to broaden its client base and the world is split as to how the online art market will develop in coming years. There is still a clear divide between the “online world” and the “offline world,” with lack of transparency being a factor in both.
According to Robert Read, Head of Art & Private Clients at Hiscox “the future of the online market is guaranteed, although the shape remains a mystery.” Although these figures are subject to discussion, this year’s Hiscox report shows online sales have gone up by 12% from 2017 and reached an estimated $4.22 billion, which however is lower than the 15% increase that the market saw in 2016. The decrease in the percentage of buyers who bought art and collectibles online may suggest that the industry is struggling, which brings us to question whether people are ready to trust the online world. The lack of transparency is what holds back the art market as a whole and becomes even more integral when purchasing online. In fact 90% of buyers said that it was a major concern for them before they started buying online. Repeat buyers are shown to buy more frequently and at higher prices, like with most things this is down to them knowing the system and feeling trusting of it. On the other hand, one could also say the slight decrease from last year shows that the online art market is stabilising as an established sector of e-commerce. There is no denying that the online art market is slowly but surely growing.
Taking these factors into consideration there is still a huge surge in online platforms that facilitate the buying and selling of art, with more and more galleries and dealers getting to grips with the digital market. The percentage of young collectors who said they would not have a preference regarding buying in a physical or virtual gallery has grown by 42%, whilst experienced online buyers are buying more and more online, signalling an increase in confidence. This is also a reflection of the increase in millennials buying art, more specifically online. Instagram has contributed to the shift in people using online platforms, the convenience of seeing an image and being able to click and be lead to a website, or even buy a work there and then appeals to the masses, with 79% of art buyers under the age of 35 using the platform to discover new artists. The adaptation of blockchain technologies, tipped as having the potential to “revolutionise the art world” has also increased drastically in the past year. With increasing awareness, it has now become a hot topic, people speaking about its potential advantages as well as its causes for concern.
Here, the key players in the online art world will be split into subsections: online auction, online galleries, online art platforms and marketplace, art market resources, blockchain ventures and new business models.
There are many online auction sites offering their visitors the chance to bid for art from the comfort of their own home, taking away the social barriers of bidding at traditional auction houses, where you often have to be of a certain status and wealth. According to the Hiscox report, online auction houses are booming and facing the most intense competition ever this year. Last year Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips all saw global auction sales increase by 25%, with online auction sales growing by 15.6%.
The turn to online has also seen traditional auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s begin to use online platforms. In the case of Christie’s, one of the largest auction houses in the world, it announced it would be downsizing its Amsterdam space and closing down its London space, instead choosing to focus on their online auctions. Online sales at Christie’s were also recorded as attracting the largest number of new buyers, with a 40% growth and total spend of $119.7 million in the first half of 2018. Christie’s also made the decision to publish its online auction results, signifying a move in the right direction towards total transparency in the art market, something that is key to encouraging new buyers to start buying online. In 2018 Sotheby’s announced a collaboration with Thread Genius, a company founded by former Spotify engineers that uses artificial intelligence to distinguish collector’s tastes, offering them recommendations. Key players in the industry such as Artsy have also made significant investments in online auction businesses.
Founded in 2008, AstaGuru is a secure online platform used to conduct auctions in Contemporary and Modern Indian Art, as well as sculptures, antiques, vintage collectibles, miniature paintings, jewellery and much more. They have a rigorous selection process which ensures only the most high-quality works are auctioned. By specialising in Indian Art & Antiques they take away the geographic constraints that buyers may have faced before the art world made the progression into digital. Their aim is to ‘manifest Indian Art globally and create a conductive environment that spurts its growth.’
ArtNet Auction features 24/7 art auctions of modern and contemporary fine art, prints, and photographs by important artists. They cover over 1,700 auction houses and 330,000 artists. All artworks offered on the site have been vetted by experienced specialists. Each auction listing provides comprehensive information about the artwork, including a detailed description, provenance, condition, and art market data to assist you with your decision to bid. In order to bid on an artwork, you must register to become an artnet buyer. To become an approved seller, register an account and submit a seller’s application.
Artsy delivers a well-designed online bidding experience. Collectors can place bids from the web, tablets, or mobile phone, while easily checking on the status of their bids. In addition to their timed online-only auctions, Artsy’s Live Auction allows collectors to browse lots from upcoming live sales, leave max bids, and continue bidding in the live sale. They also provide a consignment service provides auction houses with direct access to collectors who are looking to sell work.
A leading marketplace, that allows one to access unsold lots from auction houses all over the world. With an impressive variety of items from furniture and jewellery, to vintage collectibles, contemporary paintings and even primitive artifacts. Auctionaftersale lets you safely acquire pieces already authenticated by auctioneers. They make the process simple for their users in that you make an offer and they’ll forward it to the owner or dealer to help make the sale.
A leading search engine for art, antiques and collectibles based in Sweden, Barneby’s was launched in 2011 as a tool to help people navigate around the art world. Since then the auction house has expanded to the US, UK, France, Spain and Germany. It is connected to other 2,000 auction houses around the world and especially known for its classic works of art, fashion accessories and antique furniture.
With a mission to provide access to ‘rare and authentic fine art and antiques through a modern online bidding platform,’ Bidsquare was launched in 2014. Since then, it has grown into an active community for auction houses, dealers and collectors alike. Looking to modernise the auction world the platform connects users to a network of premier auction houses and dealers. Bidsquare has become a premier online platform for real time bidding in the field of high quality fine art and antiques, with over $500 million worth of bids place through the platform and with over 100 premier auction houses and dealers.
One of the world’s largest and oldest auctioneers, Bonham’s was founded in London in 1793 and still stands as a unique and revered auction house that is privately owned. Since its conception Bonham’s has brought its auctions to the digital world, with a host of specialists in fine art, antiques and decorative objects, it is known for offering expert advice and excellent customer service. Matthew Girling, the Chief Executive of the company believes that technology should only be used to amplify the things most integral to the business. 2018 has seen Girling recruit an agency to undertake a “digital transformation” that will take place in the coming years with the aim to make their specialists more easily accessible, including more exciting ways to communicate with them.
Christie’s online auctions offer a range of goods, from fine art, jewellery, watches and collectibles to fine wine. Their platform is accessible from a computer or android, allowing its users to bid from anywhere at any time. For the online bidder Christie’s offers two ways of buying: via the live sales where buyers can either physically participate in the auction or view the proceedings online via a camera and bid, or the second is the online-only sales which do not have a live auctioneer. Christie’s is currently trying to direct its clients toward this kind of bidding.
The largest auction house in German-speaking Europe, Dorotheum holds 600 auctions per year, has 100 experts and 40 auction categories. Founded in 1701 by Emperor Joseph I it is one of the oldest and largest auction houses in the world, privately owned since 2001 and with an extensive international presence. Some of its most popular auctions include Old Master and 19th Century paintings, Classic Modernist and Contemporary Art, Antiques, Silver, Jewellery and Clocks.
Based in Paris, Drouot is an established auction house. In 2011, it launched DrouotOnline and DrououtLive. There are around 90,000 subscribers to Drouots online platforms, reflective of an increasing ‘younger, more dynamic audience.’ The site gives buyers the opportunity to digitally browse the salesrooms to decide what they want to bid on before buying online. The online platform brings together 74 auction houses and 2,000 dedicated professionals. As a website, Drouot Live ascribes to a minimalist aesthetic, though it does provide a good online auction platform. You will also find a comprehensive plethora of social media profiles and platform support.
eBay is an e-commerce retailer and one of the world’s premier online auction and retail networks. It helps to facilitate sales between individual sellers, companies, and customers. eBay was founded in 1995 by French entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar in the USA. As a platform for artworks, eBay can be used by established art houses, galleries and businesses to reach a wider market, facilitating connections between individual artists and customers.
Heffel includes Canada’s largest and most experienced team of fine art specialists, providing the highest quality of service to customers. The online auction house was established in 1978, becoming the leading auction house in Canada. It was also one of the first to launch an online auction presence in 1999. Heffel offers a subscription resource database of 50 years of Canadian art and auction sales. This includes 80,000 records and 65,000 image reproductions. Today Heffel is the premier online resource for the Canadian art market.
Founded in the US, Heritage Auction is one of the largest online sale platforms for art and collectibles with over 1 million online bidder members. 2017 saw Heritage’s sales grow by 25.8% according to the Hiscox report. Heritage has created a significant online business which in 2017 amounted to half of its sales, with sales of $348.5 million in 2016 increasing to $438.3 million in 2017. Key departments driving growth include: sports collectibles, vintage comic books and comic art. World records were also set in 2017 with the sale of Tough Call, a study by Norman Rockwell which sold for $1.6 million and Jackie Robinsons Brooklyn Dodgers rookie jersey from 1947 which sold for $2 million.
HIHEY is a Chinese language online art auction site. Within the Chinese art market, HIHEY is a pioneering online platform. Their professional team offers art consultancy, trade, and related services. HIHEY was founded in 2011 in Beijing by He Bin. It provides exhibitions, auctions and art financing options and works with artists, individuals, and corporate collectors, as well as galleries and other institutions.
Invaluable is one of the world’s premier auctioneers and galleries and one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the art world. Browsing the site, you will encounter auctions and galleries, as well as a variety of art, collectibles, jewelry and furniture. Invaluable was founded in Boston in 1989. Using the latest technology, Invaluable’s historical price database has 58 million auction results covering sales in excess of $204 billion. There are 3 million unique monthly visitors viewing artworks by 4,000 sellers. Operating from the US, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, and Australia, Invaluable provides 24/7 expert customer care.
Lauritz is the online presence of Lauritz Christensen Auctions, one of Denmark’s oldest auction houses. The auction house’s digital presence was launched in the spring of 2009, becoming the first Danish auction house to offer customers auctions via the web. The trading platform combines traditional auctioneering services, including expertise, reliability and viewing along with the latest IT technology. Lauritz provides you with a unique, secure and reliable online shopping experience.
Lavacow provides online art auctions, a database of artists and news and events from across the art world in their online magazine. Lavacow was the first auction house to specialise in emerging European art. Lavacow is a subsidiary of Netherlands based Artmark International BV. It was founded by Alexandru Bâldea, Manuela Plăpcianu, and Cristina Olteanu. Lavacow has a selection of high quality, yet affordable, artworks from new and promising artists, as well as established artists. The site is easily accessible to buyers around the world thanks to its online-only model. Lavacow is focused on international customers and ships globally.
Live Auctioneers allows people to bid in online auctions for art, jewellery, fashion, furniture and collectibles, as well as items for the home and garden. Bids are submitted online and through a smartphone or tablet app. Live Auctioneers was founded in 2002 by John Ralston and Julian Ellison. It formed a marketing partnership with eBay to introduce eBay live auctions, enabling auction houses around the world to make their auctions live on the web. Live Auctioneers also provides up to date industry intelligence and reporting.
Lot-tissimo is a German language online art world resource. The site does not buy or sell and it is not an auction house. Instead, Lot-tissimo works by connecting you with auction houses by listing auction houses and their catalogs. The site also features a price guide made up of data from 9 million past auction lots.
The Saleroom is the leading online portal for fine art and antique auctions in Europe. Users can browse the site’s catalogue and bid on artworks in real time over the internet. The auction experience is enhanced through live video and audio feeds. The Saleroom is owned and operated by Auction Technology Group, a global pioneer of auction portals and live auctions.
Paddle8 is based in New York and was founded by Alexander Gilkes, Aditya Julka and Osman Khan in 2011. The platform sells pieces between $1,000 – $10,000, representing both well-known and emerging artists. In 2017 Paddle8 was purchased by competitor Auctionata, which soon after became insolvent. Auctionata was placed under scrutiny after KPMG found allegations of serious trade violations, to do with the company’s CEO participating in “shill bidding,” a technique used to artificially increase sale prices. The Native SA, a Swiss technology company then merged with Paddle8 in January 2018. Paddle8 have since gone onto launch the P8Pass for each work they sell online, this information then goes on to be encoded on the Bitcoin blockchain in the hopes of improving the transparency of the art market. They have also introduced blockchain-based sales, with the first sale accepting Bitcoin set to take place on the 18th August this year. Izabela Depczyk who is the Founder and Executive board member of The Native SA and Managing Director at Paddle8 has advised online buyers to not be deterred from searching for art in the real world in order to gain an understanding of their own tastes before going onto purchasing online.
READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH IZABELA DEPCZYK
Harry Phillips founded Phillips in London in 1796. Now it stands as one of the most forward-thinking, internationally renowned auction houses in the world, specialising in all kinds of art, photography, design, watches, jewellery and collectibles amongst other things. The platform has launched a mobile live-bidding platform making it easier than ever, clients are able to live stream auctions and place bids from anywhere in the world. Phillips also introduced a new genre of sales in the form of the New Now Auctions, which they hold alongside their more traditional sales. In New Now they offer more affordable prices for blue chip artists, as well as young, emerging artists. The top lot sold at their February auction this year was a George Condo painting which was given a relatively low estimate of $500,000. This type of auction works well for the new collectors as there is a mix of traditional and historic works as well as more modern pieces.
A leading marketplace for fine art, antiques and collectibles and one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the art world according to Blouin ArtInfo. The organisation works with over 5,000 of the world’s leading premier auction houses, dealers and galleries operating in the US, UK, France, Belgium, Germany and Australia. It is recorded that Invaluable receives 3 million unique monthly visitors viewing artworks by 4,000 sellers. In 2018 they launched the Invaluable App for Android making it possible to place bids wherever you are. CEO Rob Weisber reported that they have just seen the three most successful months in company history with record numbers of buyers and lots sold.
With over 14 years of experience Saffronart is an international auction house specialising in Indian art. A platform for fine art and collectibles, Saffronart has held a number of successful online and live auctions currently being the subject of a study at Havard Bussiness School. The digital auctions are accompanied by catalogues and preview events, but allow bidders from all over the world to participate.
In March of 2015, Sotheby’s and eBay jointly announced live streaming auctions on eBay. The experience enables art aficionados and casual collectors alike to participate in Sotheby’s live auctions anytime, anywhere with the same confidence and access of those bidding in person in New York. Sotheby’s on eBay is for both the curious new buyer and seasoned collector. Much of their premium arts and collectibles are surprisingly valued under $25,000.
ONLINE PLATFORMS / MARKETPLACES
Online platforms act as an entry point for new buyers, making the art market far easier to manoeuvre than the traditional art world which can often be an intimidating experience. Many of these platforms allow their users to communicate directly with galleries and artists without the added anxieties. In a way this is also returning the power back to galleries by allowing them to withhold pricing information and take complete control of the sales process. Although online platforms are hugely popular, it is still the case that 100 % of big spenders buy their art from a physical space before buying online. For platforms like Artsy it is also the case that the vast majority of collectors use the platform to inquire directly and then are able to take the process offline and go directly to the gallery. In this way platforms are expanding the reach of galleries, working with the industry to widen the market.
1stDibs was founded by serial entrepreneur Michael Bruno after he was inspired by a visit to Paris Marché aux Puces. The platform sells furniture, fashion and art, connecting buyers and sellers. In 2011 1stdibs was invested in by Benchmark Capital and David Rosenblatt (the former CEO of DoubleClick) was appointed the Chief Executive Officer. Originally the buyers had to contact the website to make purchases, but Rosenblatt installed the “click to buy” button which has made it significantly easier for its users. The average price of a 1stDibs order has risen by 25% to $2,750, since the click to buy button was installed. The number of buyers purchasing goods over $10,000 has also risen in the past two years. According to Rosenblatt this demonstrates that people are becoming increasingly comfortable and trusting of buying expensive items online. The firm does not have many competitors who are selling the same level of top-end materials including vintage furniture, although Sotheby’s have become more of a competitor in recent years, having bought the online antique and vintage furniture seller Viyet.
ArtAndCollect is a global platform that allows collectors to post works for sale directly with no intermediary and no commission. Conceived as a worldwide network of art players, ArtAndCollect was created as an alternative route to traditional galleries and auction houses, providing the framework for buyers and sellers to start their own conversations, and take sales into their own hands, interacting directly with other collectors. This interaction is what separates ArtAndCollect from other ventures as the go-to platform for those wishing to establish more direct relationships within an online community and a space to express their interests.
Amazon art enables users to buy art from galleries all over the world, including painting, photography, drawings mixed media and prints. Amazon’s customers tend be extremely loyal, which may be linked to the platform’s efficiency and quick delivery times. There are an array of galleries offering vast amounts of artworks for sale, instead of a listing fee, Amazon takes an undisclosed percentage of every work sold. Amazon also offers an “in room” feature that projects the artwork to scale in the room you were looking to display the piece in. Buyers can browse the website using filters including; artist, price, subject, style and colour.
Launched in 2013 and based in London as a global marketplace for affordable authentic art, Artfinder makes it easy for artists to reach an audience and for art enthusiasts to own affordable art. They connect talented independent artists and galleries with art lovers who value craft, quality and originality. All artworks are 100% authentic and signed by the artist. Every artwork is shipped straight from the artist. The site offers a wide range of paintings, photographs and limited-edition prints.
Artful features predominantly photographs, as well as an expanding collection of graphic design works, art prints, letterpress and more. Artful is a solid choice for original, affordable art for everyone – whatever the medium.
Founded in 1989 by art dealer Hans Neuendorf, Artnet is one of the largest networks of its kind, featuring over 170,000 works of art by 35,000 artists. It connects collectors with galleries, whilst generating inquiries from both established collectors and first-time buyers. It is one of the more traditional business models, working with a long list of auction houses around the world. The platform also hosts Artnet auction, the first online auctions platform for buying and selling Modern and Contemporary works. As well as this the platform launched artnet news in 2012, which reports 24hours on the art market and global industry.
Artplode was created as an online gallery for private collectors to enable them to sell their art work whilst keeping 100% of the money. They sell paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography as well as digital art. The platform launched in 2014 and has since attracted millions of dollars in listings from sellers from over forty countries.
Artspace has a selection of thousands of artworks from some of the best names in contemporary fine art. From the internationally renowned artists to those who are just emerging, they offer a selection of artworks that will please any level of collector, and add new works to the site regularly. Artspace are also known for working with some of the most renowned institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, David Zwirner, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, White Cube London & Hong Kong along with many more.
The platform offers access to a large catalogue of contemporary artworks from some of the top galleries around the world. As well as selling works by well-known artists, such as Banksy, JonOne and Andy Warhol, Artsper also sells work by emerging artists. The art works range from £100 to over £100,000, making it a platform which beginner collectors may perhaps feel more comfortable using. With the aim to make art more accessible to the masses, they also offer an online contemporary art magazine as well as an online advisory service.
Founded by Carter Cleveland, Artsy is counted as the largest online global market place for art, facilitating over $20 million in art sales each month. The company’s mission is to democratise art, bringing all the world’s art to anyone with an internet connection. In 2017 Artsy acquired ArtAdvisor, a New York-based technology start up. According to this year’s Hiscox report ArtAdvisors machine learning will integrate into Artsy’s platform, providing a deeper understanding for the current and future art market. Artsy’s search engine allows you to search for pieces filtered by style, period and price, whilst also using algorithms to gauge what kind of art appeals to that individual enabling the platform to provide recommendations.
Founded by Antoine de Beuque, Artviatic is a platform for buying and selling art which allows you to offer a seller the price you are willing to pay for their work. When negotiating as the buyer you remain anonymous and then when a price is agreed upon the seller is sent the contact details of the buyer enabling them to get in touch directly. Furthermore once the price is agreed the buyer is able to go an see the work privately, once you’ve viewed the work it is then that you are able to confirm the sale.
ArtWide is an international exclusive member only art trading platform that offers confidential and secure access to unique works of art. Focused on buying and selling paintings, sculptures, works on paper, prints and photographs spanning from the 1700s to today, Artwide is also able to source specific and individual requests.
Founded in Bordeaux, France, KAZoART is Paris-based online auction place that aims to make it easier for art collectors to own authentic and affordable works. The platform offers original works that range in price up to 5,000 euros maximum, with a search by category feature where you can filter by style, technique, price and key words. They also offer art advisors who are available to speak to at any time in order to assist with your choice.
Launched in 2013 by Mark Lurie, Lofty partners with auction houses to list their catalogs, promote their auctions, and connect collectors with art and collectibles. Lofty offers a centralized online marketplace to reach new online bidders, maximizing the overall impact of auctions, while boosting sales. It offers fine art, decorative art, asian art, jewelry, furniture and collectibles for sale in both timed auction and live auction formats.
Private Lot sources fantastic works of art from around the world valued are valued by more than a hundred professionals from Europe’s. Items are offered for sale on the platform and bidders come from across the world. Private Lot was launched by a trio of Vincent Hutin, Didier Beaumelle and Yohann Serane. The idea for the business was to bring the art world into the modern era and embracing the internet revolution.
Ocula is a multifaceted online platform with global galleries, exhibitions, artists, and artworks. There are also resources for institutions and events. The magazine features extensive and exceptionally good content. Ocula was founded by duo Simon Fisher and Christopher Taylor who now work as managing director and publisher for the business. Ocula has over 30 years of experience in the art market and provides a comprehensive art advisory service. Subscription to the site is free.
Saatchi Art was founded with the mission to bring great art to a wider audience. Artists are able to sell their works online using the free application, uploading images and creating a profile. This means that more or less anyone is able to upload their works, however, gaining a ‘seal of approval’ from one of the websites curators will get you more views. The works on Saatchi Art range from $125 to $100,000, with prints starting at $40. With this they are looking to meet the demands of a growing population looking to buy art that have not been catered for in the past. Saatchi Art launched online in 2005 and is part of the wider Saatchi family founded by Charles Saatchi in London in 1985. Although Saatchi has sought to distance himself from the site which is now owned by Leaf Group. They recently launched the ‘View in a Room’ feature on their iOS app where the buyer is able to take a photo of their wall and superimpose the work of art they were intending on buying to see the effect.
TheArtling are passionate about all art, however, particularly focus on featuring some of the top artists within Asian Contemporary Art. Working with some of the most renowned galleries and artists they make works accessible to an international market. The platform features paintings, sculptures and limited-edition prints. What’s unique about Artling is their interior design feature, with this they offer their expertise in the design of residential houses, offices, apartments or hotels.
Viyet is a New York-based e-commerce marketplace specializing in consignment services for pre-owned luxury designer furniture, vintage, and antique home goods. For consignors, Viyet offers a full-service solution encompassing all steps of the selling process, from photography to moving and delivery. For buyers, Viyet offers access to timeless pieces within a competitive marketplace. Viyet is a subsidiary of Sotheby’s.
There is a marked rise in online galleries, this includes galleries that already have brick and mortar locations, putting their collections online. Gallery owners are now questioning why they should spend money renting a physical space, when people can buy online instead. There is also an increased use of machine learning and artificial intelligence which helps users navigate through artworks, enhancing the search and discovery experience for site users, and the possibility of increased sales for galleries.
Moving online does, however, bring issues of trust and transparency, in that people are much more likely to trust a physical gallery where they can communicate with someone face to face. The current offline world equivalents to many of the online galleries would be similar the Affordable Art Fair which brings together hundreds of pieces from all over the world, ranging in price and style to one location.
In this year’s Hiscox report galleries stated that their online buyers were mostly new clients, with repeat online buyers lacking. Although online auctions remain the most popular way to buy art, online gallery platforms are gaining popularity especially among younger collectors.
Art.com Inc. focuses on high-quality wall art and complementary décor helping people find the art they love so they can love their spaces more. Since launching, they have expanded to serve national retail partners, museums, hotels, interior designers and more by providing limited-edition prints, hand-painted originals, home accessories, framing and specialty brands.
A highlight of ArtGallery is the ‘Artist’ eye canvas view tool, which allows users to zoom into the intricate details of an artwork in high quality before purchase. The site features established artists and carefully selected emerging artists alike, and provides a quick, easy to use buying service.
Whether you are purchasing your first work of art, or building upon an existing collection, ART Please is a good source to help you determine and then find what you’re looking for through their international network of private and public partners.
ArtSlant is a networking and content platform founded in Los Angeles in 2007 by the late Georgia Fee. It is committed to providing people in the art-buying community with a more social outlook on the art world.With the intention to bridge the gaps between the artworld, media and community, it offers an online magazine and an interactive calendar, alongside its online gallery.
ArtStar is an online platform for discovering and collecting contemporary art taken from international art fairs, galleries, and artists’ studios to create a tightly curated selection of fine art prints. ArtStar collaborates directly with the artist so each print is authenticated and signed in numbered editions and cannot be found in other galleries.
Degree Art is of the first art galleries to emerge online, and has over 12 years’ experience selling the work of art school graduates and fresh young talent. Degree Art believes purchasing art of those at this level can be a valuable investment as the low-priced work tends not to stay so for long, as the artists career develops. Through these sales and a series of exhibitions and artist residencies, Degree Art nurtures emerging artists and provides a pivotal platform from which to kick-start a successful career.
As an online gallery space, IdeelArt actively represents abstract artists and helps promote the work of emerging and established creatives. The site also seeks to provide up-to-date abstract art news as well as advise on upcoming exhibitions and new work, with visitors to the site gaining access to inspiring stories from leading individuals in the Contemporary Abstract Art world. IdeelArt is fantastic resource for those seeking to purchase or find out more about Contemporary Abstract Art.
New Blood Art is an online gallery, featuring a curated collection of works of art from new and emerging artists. New Blood Art was founded by Sarah Ryan in 2004. Sarah is passionate about helping emerging artists get the recognition they deserve and helping them earn by selling their art. At the same time, Sarah is also driven by the desire to make original art both affordable and accessible. New Blood Art’s niche is selling unique and original artworks that have been carefully curated.
Rise Art is an online contemporary art marketplace serving individuals, artists, businesses and trade customers. Artworks on the site are handpicked by experts, allowing art lovers to buy art. For a fee, customers can also rent art to trial it in their home or office before purchasing. Rise Art was founded by Scott Phillips and Marcos Steverlynck. The site features a shop where you can buy artworks, a section on featured artists and blog content. Rise Art has been featured in press such as the Guardian and Apartment Therapy.
Founded in 2011 in New York, Uprise Art is geared towards millennials, matching emerging talent with a ‘new generation of collectors.’ It does this through offering works by the best emerging artists for a wide range of prices, with a section specifically devoted to works priced at $800 or less. This accessible price range attracts a new kind of collector who has perhaps not been able to collect art at ease in the past. The gallery also offers free sessions with art advisors to enable one to find the perfect art work.
Weng Contemporary is an online gallery for original prints and fine art editions by world-class contemporary artists. Each artwork is presented with an extensive range of information and their specialists carefully authenticate the artworks to ensure you can proceed with confidence. Weng Contemporary provides a convenient and trustworthy source for high-end art collecting experiences.
Zatista is a leading online curated art gallery showing original artworks, representing some of the most talented and established as well as emerging artists from across the globe. It was launched in 2008 by Pete Borowsky. Once a user has joined the site they can follow talented artists and get personalised recommendations as well as access to the sites art advisory service. Zatista provides services to art buyers, artists and trade customers.
ART MARKET RESOURCES (NEWS AND MAGAZINES)
Knowing about the latest art fair, emerging artist or stylistic movement in the Contemporary Art world is only half the battle for serious collectors in today’s market. Good collectors not only understand but actively seek expert advice, real-time market analysis, sales data, and financial trends from a variety of trusted sources. Today, the Internet provides a large choice of online resources and we have gathered the best art market research/info/data sites in one place to give you a one-stop-shop to stay up-to-date on everything that is happening behind the canvas.
The online edition of Artforum International Magazine, contains a breadth of information for all collectors. From major gallery openings to museum preview events and recent auction sale reports. ArtFroum covers the highs (and lows) of what’s happening in the art world with journalistic and editorial content.
ARTInfo is another valued global source for up-to-the-minute news, information, and expert commentary on art, artists, and the business and pleasure of making, buying, and understanding art. You’ll find daily news and developments from galleries, auction houses, and museums – covering everything from the visual arts, to architecture & design, to film, the performing arts and even travel “with wit, style, verve, and authority.” ARTINFO has also launched 15 international editions which contains local and cultural stories in the native language.
Art Media Agency (AMA) is an international news agency, focused on the art market and covering all aspects of the art world including: galleries, auction houses, fairs, foundations, museums, artists, insurance, shipping, and cultural policy. The agency also provides in-depth reports and exclusive interviews, directly engaging with the artists and art professionals currently shaping the industry.
ArtTactic offers a wide view of the global art market, including both established and emerging markets. Essentially an art market analysis firm that offers dynamic data on the ever-changing global art market, ArtTactic uses crowd-sourcing as the main tool for collecting qualitative and quantitative data.
Art World Forum is an emerging global platform and leading web publisher providing up-to-date art market insight via original editorial articles and intellectual contributions by reputable art professionals. Through its high quality, high value international conferences, Art World Forum provides unique informational, marketing and networking opportunities to a vast number of art investors, collectors, dealers, insurers, academics, practitioners and overall art enthusiasts.
An important, comprehensive, and detailed annual survey of online art trading, financial reporting, technological, demographic and market forecasts.
Calling themselves “A forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today”, Hyperallergic takes a decidedly modern digital media approach. With a magazine style layout and an independent collective of leading writers and journalists, it proves to be a valuable and refreshing destination for collectors of all kinds.
Larry’s List is a leading art market knowledge company providing data, research and access to contemporary art collectors. The Larry’s List Art Collector Database contains over 3,500 profiles of art collectors from more than 70 countries – based on comprehensive research done on art collectors. The database provides information on private collections including artists and artworks collected, collector’s ranking positions, and their activities on the art market. It is a practical tool for both professionals and art enthusiasts presenting a detailed and comprehensive portrait of today’s contemporary art world.
Master Art bills itself as the home of the finest art and antiques on the web. Master Art was launched in 1999 by ArtSolution, an IT service provider specialising in dynamic websites for art dealers, fairs, and institutions. MasterArt lists 15,000 works of art from leading galleries and dealers from around the world. It is an electronic companion for collectors and also produces the MasterArt Print Directory. This is distributed to international art fairs and events as well as luxury hotels. The directory lists the world’s best galleries and art dealers, as well as information such as their location, contact details, details of upcoming exhibitions, their founding date and memberships of associations.
MutualArt offers a personalised source of information to art professionals and enthusiasts. Members of the website are able to tailor the information they receive by tracking individual categories and artists. The UK-based platform has an extensive database of art related articles as well as detailed information on over 300,000 artists. The 500,000 members have access to up to date art news from around the world in addition to price analysis and auction and exhibition listings. MutualArt also hosts private sales presenting a versatile range of artworks from both emerging and renowned international artists.
Widewalls magazine is a continuous source of high quality, in-depth art journalism. Dedicated to lovers of contemporary art, the platform covers top exhibitions, festivals, artists, events and fairs worldwide. Various trend topics and top tip lists can also be found here, as well as an ever-growing community of members that help contribute to this fantastic online resource.
Blockchain’s decentralised record-keeping technology has recently been suggested as a way for us to create a “more welcoming art ecosystem.” The technology’s potential for verifying provenance, authenticity and ownership is widely acknowledged, however, there are still those who remain sceptical. Sebastien Genco, a blockchain specialist at Deloitte recently spoke at the Christie’s Art + Tech Summit on the topic “Why the Art World Wasn’t Ready for Blockchain”. There are still parts of blockchain which are not yet fully understood, there is a lack of trust, as well as high costs which can be suggested as some of the reasons why blockchain hasn’t yet had a more drastic impact on the art market. Cybercrime is a major factor as to why people are nervous to buy online, with around 41% of art buyers concerned about cybercrime. Cryptocurrencies are predicted by many to be the entry point for blockchain into the online art market, with 60% of online platforms predicting the payment method will be used. Currently only 7% accept cryptocurrencies as payment method and a further 8% have installed blockchain technology within their business (Hiscox Report).
The ArtByte Foundation was built to help artists across all media gain recognition and financial support for their work through the technology of person-to-person digital currency. The Tipping App allows art enthusiasts to give ArtBytes to their favoured artists on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest. Both artists and fans can also earn ArtBytes by participating in community forums. Apart from its social media community, ArtByte continues to expand its mining pool and seed servers to cater to its growing global market. It also hosts weekly talent showcases and offers regular grants to promising artists.
ArtChain is a UK-based blockchain start-up that employs decentralised blockchain technology in providing digital identification certificates of artworks. The art market is currently fraught with counterfeit art and complicated processes of verifying an artwork’s authenticity, often involving third-party accreditation agencies. ArtChain relies on the Bitcoin blockchain to authenticate art by certifying chain-of-ownership, ensuring that digital certificates of authenticity cannot be forged. ArtChain also funds art contests by rewarding winning artists with ArtChain tokens. With the use of smart contracts and digital tokens, ArtChain aims to make art trading safer and more efficient, mitigating any possible risks associated with art investment.
ArtChain is a Melbourne based start-up putting high value artworks on the blockchain giving investors’ confidence and putting an end to art forgery. Founded by Kay Sprague and Cameron MacQueen earlier this year the start-up has already garnered interest from artists, art galleries and investors. Sprague is the former Managing Director of Citigroup and a former Vice President of JP Morgan’s asset management division, whilst Macqueen has worked in management and marketing roles at a number of Australian companies for the past 15 years. The platform aims to “clean up” parts of the art industry, whilst it also acts as a virtual gallery where owners are able to keep their work private or make it visible. They are currently based in Australia but have reported having their sights set on the Chinese art and crypto market.
Founded by Vladimir Povshenko (CEO) and Valeriy Kochergin (CTO), Artex is a platform which aims to record the history of art objects.
Artory was founded in 2016 by Nanne Dekking, (who was recently named Chairman on the Board of TEFAF) with backing from Hasso Plattner, the founder of SAP and renowned art dealer. Dekking and Plattner saw the problems collectors faced in the art market, many worried about buying fakes, there was a distinct lack of trust. From this came Artory, an information database and secure digital registry of verified information about artworks and collectibles history. Based in Berlin and New York, the database aims to add transparency and trust to the art market through innovative technological solutions.
Ascribe is a platform and tool for artists to digitally and securely share and track the ownership and history of an artwork. Founded in 2013 by Trent McConaghy, Bruce Pon and Masha McConaghy, it helps authors to lock in authorship for a piece of digital art to ensure that artists are recognised. Directed at the digital art community, creators can notarise their claim via the Bitcoin blockchain. Since its conception, more than 20 marketplaces and services have integrated the platform and over 4,000 artists use the service.
Codex Protocol was founded by Mark Lurie, with Jess Houlgrave as COO. The platform is a decentralised registry for art and collectibles backed by an industry consortium. The company is combatting the major problems of provenance and authenticity on which the entire value of an artwork is based. They also launched the dApp Biddable earlier this year, which enables cryptocurrency holders to bid in auctions through a smart escrow contract. Codex have recently partnered with Heffel, a well-established auction house based in Canada. The deal will improve the provenance record for items sold through Heffel auctions, with items identities recorded on the blockchain as a Codex record enabling them to accept cryptocurrency as payment.
READ MORE: INTERVIEW WITH CO-FOUNDER JESS HOULGRAVE
Founded by Matt Hall and John Watkinson, CryptoPunks originally started as an experiment. 10,000 unique collectible works of art were offered along with proof of ownership and stored on the Ethereum blockchain. Through removing the concern of authenticity of the works, the platform eliminates the need for buyers to meet in a physical location. Hall and Watkinson are no longer in control of the artwork as it has evolved into a new kind of community. The project was an overall success and demonstrated how some people are willing to purchase art that lives purely online.
Based in New York, DADA is the only social network where artists from all over the world are able to speak to each other through digital drawings created on the platform. It is also one of the first online art galleries to use blockchain technology for the transaction of work. Founded by Beatriz Ramos, their mission is to help artists make a living as artists. Everything featured in the gallery has been created originally by artists on Dada.nyc.
The Deloitte ArtTracktive service tracks the provenance and movements of an artwork. Launched in May 2016, the blockchain based technology manages the interactions between all parties involved – from the artist, collector and dealers to customs, art galleries and museums. The application addresses some of the main concerns in the art market today, that of documentation provenance and tracking the movements of a work of art.
Look Lateral is a start-up looking to generate cryptocurrency trading in fractions of artworks, founded by Niccolò Filippo Veneri Savoia, who believes that “the crypto world will bring huge liquidity”. Using blockchain technology it is able to provide galleries, museums, curators, artists and collectors an integrated system to respond to the market needs. The platform is made from four pillars: tagging, provenance, pricing and FIMART (fractional marketplace of art). The company is faced with challenges, they need to find pieces of art that are of a high enough quality and value so that they can be exposed to fractional trading without losing all value. This kind of blue chip art is usually bought by wealthy individuals from private galleries.
Maecenas is named after Gauis Maecenas, an early patron of the arts in Ancient Rome who financed poor poets. In their white paper, Maecenas states that they are “the first blockchain platform that democratises fine art”, aiming to make fine art available to everyone, not just the uber-wealthy. The founder and CEO, Marcelo Garcia Casil, believes the fundamental issues of investment in art is the lack of transparency and liquidity in the market and the fact that large majorities of people tend to only trust traditional galleries and auction houses. Their most recent auction, which only featured one work, Andy Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs, saw them partner with Dadiani Syndicate. The painting was divided into fractional shares which came to a total of 49% of the art work. Bidders were then able to win shares paying in Bitcoin, Ether or Maecenas’s own cryptocurrency, the ART token.
Rare Art Labs is a digital gallery for artists where they can sell scarce copies of their digital works and earn crypto, their motto being #ArtistsDeserveMore. The network leverages the IPFS and Ethereum blockchain in order to make digital works permanent, scarce and tradeable. R.A.R.E also advises artists on how to sell their works and how much for. R.A.R.E recently received widespread coverage for their Rare Digital Art Festival held in January, in which a single Pepe the Frog image, named “Homer Pepe” sold for over $30,000. At the NYC Ethereal Summit, R.A.R.E partnered with Codex Protocol and ConsenSys for a live charity auction, where for the first-time items were recorded on the Codex blockchain.
The relationship between an artist’s work and its audience is what Monegraph aims to refine. Monegraph offers an open platform where anyone can register their works on the Bitcoin blockchain. Creative practitioners are able to efficiently handle licensing, pricing, and social distribution for their works. Monegraph’s growing suite of blockchain and cloud-based tools allows artists to integrate their works into their own website, social media profiles, and other platforms where they communicate with clients. Artists upload their work to the blockchain, set the terms for the commercial use of the work, and distribute it through a public Monegraph catalogue or any other platform using compatible plug-ins and widgets.
Paddle8 (please see section on online auctions)
The goal of Provenire Authentication is simple: to protect stakeholders against forgery and theft through a secure system designed to safeguard priceless art. The Provenire Sticker was created using synthetic DNA polymers to uniquely mark each artwork. This way, provenance is traced through the sticker’s DNA using microfluidic methods. The tagging DNA can be examined several times for fifty to a hundred years. Provenire’s innovative system of authentication creates a safe space for art collectors, where the risk of buying counterfeit art is completely eliminated.
A British technology company launched in April 2016. Tagsmart established the application of DNA tags to authenticate artworks, now it is the top provider of tagging and certification in the fine art market. Tagsmart has over 20,000 artworks on its platforms, attributed to over 700 artists. In 2017 Art Basel estimated the market worth of Tagsmart at $67billion across 39.0m transactions.
Tend is a Swiss blockchain company that believes in a shared economy through investment in special and precious objects. Each luxury item is split into asset tokens via smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. Anyone looking to fulfil a passion or for a personal purpose can purchase these tokens and receive investment returns as co-owner of the asset. Tend claims all assets undergo a diligent procedure of authentication and individual shares are stored in the blockchain to be later registered, and subsequently traded.
With the aim to digitise the art and collectibles market, ZenDao is a platform developed on Metaverse. It utilises blockchain technology in order to create a digital representation of the real-world collectibles on Blockchain, whilst establishing an unchangeable digital provenance and ownership transfer channel. Each collectible can be converted into digital tokens on blockchain and every entry is non-reversible. Blockchain is hoping to solve challenges faced by the art and collectibles market.
ONLINE ART MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Online Art Inventory Management Systems act as a useful tool for artists, galleries, museums and collectors to keep track of their artworks. Most major art organisations now use these kinds of systems as they an efficient way of collecting important information about artworks. They are also regularly backed up, so users do not have to worry about data being lost. Information is stored and readily available for clients and galleries to view at any time from any device. Helping greatly with art management the systems also allow users to trace where an artwork is showing, archive when and how it was created, as well as where it goes on to be sold and who will be buying it.
Formed in 1993, ArtBase is a platform designed to help its users keep track of their artworks, ideal for those running collections. The database manages your inventory and contact information linking them together. Through Art Base you can track sales, manage customer relations and have a complete inventory of an objects history at your fingertips. Art Base is scalable for any business, being used for collectors or galleries alike.
ArtBinder is the art world’s first ‘on-the-go inventory management tool,’ established in 2010. Built by a former gallerist and team of experts the platform is the first IPhone and IPad application that has been specifically created for the art world. It aims to maximise sales outreach, creating a streamline communication whilst keeping your inventory private and secure. The tool is used by top galleries such as White Cube, Hauser & Wirth and the Lisson Gallery amongst many more.
Artcloud is a marketplace and art management application which helps galleries, artists and collectors buy, sell and discover art. artcloud is used internationally by dealers, artists, consultants, curators and collectors. They have also launched an app which helps users visualise the artwork in your own space through projecting the image.
ArtEngine allows you to keep high-res images and artworks information in one place, enabling you to access them for anywhere on any device. No matter how many artworks you store on the database it guarantees to keep them secure, organised and up to date.
An Australian based company, Art Galleria helps artists, collectors and galleries manage their collections with its easy to use software. The platform allows users to sell artworks, track artworks and gain insights into the full value of your inventory. You can also create online space called a ‘Private Room’ where you can invite your contacts to view a selection of your artworks.
Founded in 1999, Artlogic is an art Technology firm that works with galleries, artists and collectors internationally. In 2006 with the backing of the Victoria Miro and Hosfelt Gallery the first online version of Artlogic was launched. The art gallery database allows users to create websites, inventories, management systems and additionally functions through an IPhone or IPad app. The database aims to give owners the opportunity to increase sales and grow their businesses.
Founded in 2002 Artlook is a UK based software development company providing specialist services to businesses and individuals working in the visual arts sector. Artlook’s software can be used for selling, marketing, organising, sharing, managing and tracking artworks. They work closely with artists and galleries manufacturing software and websites in order for them to get noticed.
ArtMoi is an art initiative founded with the mission to simplify the process of documenting art. Every piece of art that is uploaded on to ArtMoi is assigned a globally unique ID number so that the information surrounding the work can be tracked. They are looking to create a new standard for the art industry whereby artists are in control of the long-term provenance tracking of art.
Arteia was launched in 2018 after two successful fundraising campaigns and has been part of THE KHUBE, the KPMG Luxembourg’s incubator which focuses on fintechs. KMPG assists Arteia with financial matters. The platform offers a secure and intuitive solution ‘facilitating inventorisation, visualisation, logistics, financial optimisation and the sharing of your collections.’
Founded in 2004 ArtSolution is a platform which aims to provide the best specialised technological tools for the art world. Aiming to provide IT services to art dealers, galleries, fairs and institutions internationally. They specialise in providing secure websites and apps that are easy to set up and straight forward to use as well as this offering efficient software and management systems.
Founded in 1989, Artsystems specialises in providing art gallery software and art collection software to professionals. Artsystems started out creating custom data management software solutions for art institutions and galleries and was involved in organising a large catalogue of Andy Warhol’s works.
Founded in 2010 and based in Denver CO, Artwork Archive is a database which helps its users easily organise and manage their artworks. One of the first cloud-based art inventory systems, they now serve thousands of artists, collectors and organisations globally.
Designed to replace old inventory management software GalleryManager aims to make managing inventory more straight forward for its users. It is a web-based solution for tracking the artwork, accessible from computer, internet or mobile devices.
GalleryTool is an online art inventory software system, specially developed for art gallery managers and artists. It aims to be user friendly application where artists are the focal point. The tool makes it easy to search for artists and to add to and modify profiles.
Founded in 2001, Managed Artwork built the first web-based artwork management solution. Created to manage every gallery detail from the database, including inventory, artists, consignments, sales and contacts. The tool is cloud based which means you can manage your account from anywhere.
Masterpiece Manager is a global art technology company which builds software and website designs for galleries, artists and collectors.
Miami based, Veevart aims to provide its users with the best application making it easy to connect with audiences and promote artworks. The Salesforce-based application geared towards museums, galleries, auction houses and design studios with features for visitor, donor, and membership management.
WrkLst is a software solution for art galleries used by artists, consultancies, collections as well as artwork-based publishing and exhibition projects. Designed by Tobias Vielmetter-Diekmann who has 15 years of experience working with art galleries and museums, the software supports inventory and contact management for the art world.
NEW BUSINESS MODELS
With the introduction of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) we are seeing rippling effects within the art market. Artificial intelligence is changing value chains for creative content, helping creators match content with audiences by learning about and classifying their interests, enabling them to recommend specifically tailored content. We are seeing art platforms use this technology, creating a filtering system for when users are browsing works and making suggestions based on their tastes. Virtual Reality has the ability to change the way we experience content, with the power to promote new feelings, skills and understanding which can make content more powerful than how it appears through traditional media. Companies are still identifying the potential in using these kinds of technologies and creating new and ground-breaking business models.
Conceived at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, ARTMYN is a start-up specialising in Virtual Reality applied to art. The platform presents an entirely new way of experiencing art, as well supporting its promotion and security. During the scanning of the work ARTMYN records the gigabytes of data using different light sources, this data is then processed using sophisticated algorithms. The end result can be experienced from any mobile device. Offering a solution for highly accurate digitisation of artworks, Artmyn recently partnered with Sotheby’s to apply their scanning technologies to the highlights of its’ spring/summer auctions. The start-up also recently received the Google-Focused Research Award, as well as a grant from the Commission of Technology and Innovation.
ArtStack is the world’s first art social media platform and the largest user generated content archive of art, sharing over 500,000 artworks ranging across genres and time periods. The platform is free for its users who can discover new artists and works whilst also browsing the taste of well-known curators, artists, collectors and gallerists who share their top picks on the site. The platform also has apps for iphone, ipad and android which operate in 200 countries. In 2015 the platform partnered with Christie’s for the first crowd sourced auction initiative which, using new technologies, gave emerging artists chosen by the public, the opportunity to be included in the auction.
Mearto is a growing online community aiming to make online valuations easy, whilst increasing the transparency in the art and antiques market. The company is based in Copenhagen and was Co-founded by Johan Laidlaw and Mads Hallas who are both fascinated with the history behind objects. The primary aim of the platform is for users to submit items for valuation in order to find out their objects worth. These objects can range from antiques, art, jewellery, watches and colletibles. At the same time as providing individuals with evaluations the platform aims to be a place where everyone can learn about valuing antiques and art, they do this by sharing appraisals with their community. You are able to browse their Auction Results Database, which contains millions of items, statistics and insights that can be used for your own valuations.
Launched in 2009 and founded by Patrock van der Vorst who had previously worked at Sotheby’s for 12 years, Value My Stuff gives its users valuations for collectibles in just 48 hours. Users have to upload photos along with any information about the item, an expert will then value the item and send the valuation to the user via email. They provide users with a printable PDF certificate and online record of valuations.
Bernadine Bröcker is the CEO and Co-Founder of Vastari Group, an online platform that securely connects private art collectors, curators, museums and venues for exhibition loans and tours. Vastari aims to improve transparency and facilitate exhibition collaborations worldwide, currently being the largest online facilitator of international touring exhibitions. The platform has become an essential tool for many in the museum and exhibition industry, enabling exhibitions to tour and share information globally.