Operating an art gallery can both rewarding and challenging. You can enjoy the freedom of selecting the pieces you want that are an expression of your own creative spirit and brought to you by artists you admire. Holding exhibitions or galas are an exciting part of building your reputation within the cultural community. A bricks and mortar gallery is not the only option, however, as many gallery owners offer their pieces in an online art gallery and have enjoyed increased exposure and sales.
Today’s technology has made it very easy and inexpensive to set up an online art gallery. By entering the online world, original and fine art becomes accessible to more people thereby increasing exposure for the artist and sales for the gallery owner. Shopping for artwork becomes simple, as potential buyers can search for paintings or sculptures based on their needs and wants. For example, buyers can search by artist, category (landscape, portrait, etc), or price range. Artists benefit because their work can be displayed for longer, increasing their potential earnings opportunities.
It’s no secret that the vast majority of consumer purchases start with an online search. It makes sense for the world of fine art to join the fray and be accessible to everyone. The cost of setup is minimal and the benefits are many. Besides, bringing the enjoyment of artwork and the beauty it brings into more people’s lives can be its own reward.
Analysis of Sales of Art
Traditionally the two most prominent modes of organized selling of art have been through art galleries and physical art auctions houses (auctions) apart from private sales.
Ten years ago, Saffronart, an online store for lovers of art was started. Art websites online have since then caught on as they provide the benefit of increasing reach to a greater number of buyers. Art fairs such as India Art Summit which started in 2008 (now an annual fair) are another very recent phenomenon spurring art sales.
Offline Sale of Art
Art works are usually with the art gallery on consignment basis. So there is flexibility in terms of display and showcasing and contracts are used. Artists from different locations rarely come together and interact.
Apart from gallery, middlemen exist in the industry – connecting artists to galleries with their knowledge of the artists and art styles, they may also act as curators at times. Greater dependence is on trust, although contracts and agreements exist.
Art galleries give artists independence and yet the artists cooperate with the gallery to sell their works. Therefore, it is a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship.
Online sale of art
Online sales comprise of display of artwork on websites. Fixed price sales of art prints and artworks (standard e-commerce model using a transaction gateway) and online auctions for bids online are the modus operandi. Mobile auctions along with website-based auctions are the norm. A new development has been entire art-fairs being conducted online using rich graphical website technologies and 3D look and feel (VIP Art Fair – January 2011). Such fairs are for the internet-savvy and are international in nature due to the prevalence of high-speed internet connectivity. High-resolution images are sent out via e-mail to potential buyers/patrons who often buy. Gallery repute and the artist are most important when buying online as per inputs of art galleries.
Art Transaction Processes
Transactions in the art world comprise of buying and selling of art. Artists and art entrepreneurs sell their artworks. The price of the artwork is either determined by the artist or in collaboration with the art entrepreneur as a fixed price. References for this pricing could be artists of the same style or genre. At times when it is not possible to determine the price of a piece of art, auctions are conducted to determine the worth of a piece of artwork especially if it is a new style of art. These auctions then go on to determine the relative worth of an artist’s artwork. The auction results become a reference for setting the base price for future auctions. Often secondary art pieces are auctioned. An art collector possessing an art-collection, sells off some of his artworks to potential buyers or collectors, and this maybe done through an auction house or a gallery!