Oil Painting by O?Neil Scott available from Artsy
Artsy, Artnet, and Saatchi Art are online venues built to sell art. Unlike Saatchi Art which is geared for artists to sell online, Artsy and Artnet is not for artists. It is a selling tool for galleries, museums which have work on loan, institutions, fairs such as Miami Art Basel, and auctions.
Anyone who has art to sell may set up an account on Saatchi Art for free. I know because I have my photographs up there. It doesn?t cost me anything to set-up images and offer prints from Saatchi Art.
If an artist has a physical piece to sell such as a painting and a collector is interested in buying it, all the collector has to do is click on a button and buy the work. The artist is then sent an email confirmation that a sale has been confirmed with information on where to send the artwork to. The artist is responsible to ship the work according to the packaging requirements from Saatchi Art. Please note that this is a very cumbersome and several of the artists in our PoetsArtists community have sold work through Saatchi. In many cases they have confessed it is a nightmare to ship the works because of the stringent requirements.
However, there is a reason for their stringent request. I have encountered several shipping disasters of works sent to museums and I can see why Saatchi is so strict about packaging artwork.
As mentioned previously, Artsy and Artnet are used by galleries. It is not a free service unless it is for a museum. The fees are approximately $1000 a month for Artsy. This fee allows galleries to upload images of the works available from their represented artists as well as upcoming shows including works by invited artists.They recently added Viewing Rooms which are meant for collectors to learn more about a show or artist. These rooms have additional copy and information about the artworks.
The way Artsy works is anyone who has an interest in an artwork or artist may follow galleries and artists which have uploaded their inventory to the website. Followers such as art collectors are then alerted when a new work has become available. Buyers may also follow tags.
There is an app for Artsy as well. It is only available for an iPhone at this time. Here is the link if you would like to download it.
There are several options to inquire about an artwork. Artsy offers a BUY NOW or MAKE OFFER. The other option is for interested parties to INQUIRE. If the interested party selects BUY NOW, they are quickly prompted to enter their credit card information and proceed to checkout just as any online commerce offers. If the interested party selects to MAKE OFFER, they are quickly prompted to enter their offer for the artwork and their credit card information. If the offer is accepted, the sale would go through as a normal purchase. The gallery may counter offer or decline.
Galleries may select to have a purchase button versus an inquiry button. Some galleries do not have pricing up on Artsy. The chances of an artwork selling online without any pricing is difficult to say. The idea is to make it easier on a collector to buy online.
The one aspect Saatchi, Artsy and Artnet have in common is that they all have a form of editorial and have writers reviewing art, news, and other art related matters.
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In either case here is the important missing link of buying online whether it is through Artsy, Artnet or elsewhere. The price of the sale is documented somewhere in the art market bank. This means that down the road when a piece goes up to auction, there is a documented price for what a work sold for.
It is important for galleries to be strategic about what work is uploaded to Artsy and also the pricing especially since galleries set the price for an artwork for their represented artists. Many times once an artist is represented by an established gallery, the price for the artwork changes to accommodate their gallery?s selling strategy.
To run a successful online selling venue, there must be someone dedicated to maintaining it and answering inquiries in a timely manner. I have bought through Artsy and Saatchi Art and I don?t like to wait longer than a few hours for a response even if it is during the weekend. When an inquiry is received from Artsy to a gallery, the email contains information about the buyer. They will see how many times they have inquired and how many works they have bought.
This feedback from Artsy will give the gallery an indication of whether the buyer is serious or not. This is a word of caution to buyers clicking away on Artsy. We once received an inquiry who had inquired 1000 times and never purchased any work. The gallery may then decide to consider it spam or not. I would recommend to be cordial and just give basic information and then mark it as spam since Artsy is checking at their end if the inquiries coming in are being answered promptly.
The main difference between Artsy and Artnet is that they attract different buyers. It depends on the artists which are up on either. Artnet has been around longer than Artsy. It all depends on where you prefer to shop.
Even though Artsy is my favorite tool for selling art, it is not right for every gallery. Read the information on their website and set-up an appointment to talk to one of their representatives. Do your homework and reach out to me if you have any questions.
Update: Since this article was originally published, it is now possible to buy art from Instagram. They are setting it up so that galleries have a storefront. Selling art online is a mainstay for galleries and there will be many opportunities and venues to start keeping track of. If you are an artist make sure to submit your artwork to galleries which have an online presence and are keeping up with the latest online sales trends.
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