Don’t be surprised if your art-collecting clients ask your opinion about buying art online. It’s a booming business.
On Christie’s Live Bidding platform, for example, collectors can view auctions and bid on items in real-time. The online site drew 25% more bids in 2011 than in 2010, according to Michael O’Neal, head of digital media for the firm.
Each week New York-based Exhibition A gives collectors the chance to buy one signed limited-edition work from a “highly relevant artist and provide context around that artist and the artwork,” explains Laura Martin, co-founder of the site, in an interview with AdvisorOne.
The company aims to give consumers an entry point to “the often intimidating and ultra-expensive contemporary art world,” Martin adds. It does this by offering artwork priced under $1,000, that’s signed, culturally significant and has the ability to appreciate in value, she explains.
“Our mission is to foster a new segment of art collectors and to shift the focus of a broad base of consumers from just decorating to collecting,” notes Martin.
New art investors are taking the bait. Martin cites an online sale of work by Richard Prince that sold out in 12 minutes with prices of $750 for the first 70 prints sold and $950 for the final 30.
Exhibition A customers are typically between the ages of 25 to 45, she shares, and 15% of sales are shipped to clients outside the United States.
Catherine Levene, co-founder and CEO of Artspace in New York also points to the growing international clientele. “Without any marketing, we’ve sold to collectors all over the world,” she says, in an interview. “We’ve sold to Europe and we’ve sold to Asia, to South America and to Australia.”
The convenience of making online art transactions attracts collectors, Levene notes. Artspace provides an e-commerce site for a global collection of galleries, museums and artists that might be inaccessible otherwise.