And you thought art wasn’t selling online

An article in the New York Times proves that people are buying art from digital images and that entire shows are sold out before they even open to the public. Quick! Read this article before they archive it (sorry I’m late reading it and sharing it with you).

Some things to note:

  • This is happening because the gallery dealers are really working their lists and offering the work as a preview to their most loyal clients.
  • The clients trust the gallery dealers and the reputations of the artists. Note this quote: “But I think a lot of people buying this way are buying the name of an artist, not a particular work.”
  • A special "secret" website is set up for the clients. This makes them feel special and "in" on something.
  • This is why every artist needs to know how to create, resize, and attach jpegs to emails.
Send to Kindle

6 comments to And you thought art wasn’t selling online

  • Jul

    Check out this New York Times permalink generator for linking to articles: http://nytimes.blogspace.com/genlink I use it all the time on my blogs. Very handy! The permalink for the article you mention is http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/arts/design/04fink.html?ex=1328245200&en=127390592aa83574&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss By the way, great article!

  • Ok, I tried all of this and it doesn’t work for individual, emerging artists. I can understand if a well-established gallery with a solid clientele would do it, that might work well for them. (I’m sure they all try it, with varying degrees of success). But to sell out a show before an opening, you need a well-known, well-publisized artist, a quality gallery, and the work has to be priced just right. But a sellout of this nature is extremely rare. In my opinion this article doesn’t apply to the millions of artists out there struggling to get noticed. They can try these things, but don’t expect much.

  • This definitely seems to be more and more true even here on the Cape where the galleries are very active but not exactly NYC. Many times a gallery show goes up with all the paintings sold before the opening, a fact which is frustrating many old school collectors. In reference to the above comment, many artists who are not well known are selling a lot of work online. It’s incredible exposure. It may take a while for someone really new but people do find you if you have what they want, good keywords, etc. And that’s without a gallery promoting your sales! Totally off subject–I did not receive my email newsletter this week as usual. Do I need to sign up again with your new format? Not a problem if I do–just checking. Thought I might not be alone…

  • Quilt National is doing something similar this year. Not just with the work in the show but also with pieces that were not juried into the show but received a high score during jurying. The website will only be available to a small group of collectors that purchased work from previous shows. Artists had the option of potentially participating in this website when they entered the show. Although noone outside of the QN organizers know who’s work is included on the website. It will be interesting to see how this effects the show sales. Will there be more sales? Or will there be fewer show sales because there is more competition from the work that didn’t make it into the show? My pieces has sold during the opening the last 2 shows. This year I’m hoping my piece sells before hand!

  • Thanks, Jul. I’ll try that!

  • Quote: Ms. McLeod said […] “In this business supply is always the problem, not demand,” I guess this is the rate of supply from a few select artists? All I’ve ever herd is that there are way more art and artists than buyers, not the other way around!