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Mon June 17 2013 13:30:57

New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Although much of the Internet-enabled world has become used to buying just about everything online, one type of thing largely eluded eBay-style market-making democratization: fine art. While there is plenty of art on eBay, not many pieces of high-end art change hands there. But now there are a few newcomers in the online art marketplace putting their own spin on this rarefied world, and even making it friendlier to the mid-level collector: Paddle8, Auctionata, and SaffronArt

All three have recently attracted funding, as noted by TechCrunch. And Paddle8 has some famous names both in the art world and outside of it: controversial artist Damien Hirst, Alexander von Furstenberg (designer Diane von Fürstenberg's son), and members of the Mellon family. And one of its investors, the Founder Collective, is also funding a funky little startup called Artsy, where you can "follow" artists the way you do on Twitter or Pinterest.

Paddle8 differentiates itself by offering two types of auctions: monthly themed auctions, and "benefit auctions in collaboration with non-profits." One of their current nonprofit auctions is a benefit for The Glass House, a National Trust Historic Site in Connecticut.  They also have an interesting and informative blog, with a recent post being "On how to become an Art Collector / Q&A with Ethan Wagner and Thea Westreich Wagner." Their average sale is about $10K, according to TechCrunch, so their target market differs from the 100K and above of Sotheby's/Christie's ilk.

Auctionata, meanwhile, is revolutionizing the high-end live auction format by running auctions every Friday from its own TV studio, accessible to anyone on the Internet. It also has an online shop. (AuctionBytes blogged about an upcoming notable sale: an Egon Schiele on June 21).

SaffronArt features mainly Indian/Asian art, and describes itself as "committed to serving the growing community of Indian collectors, while also creating a cultural bridge to India for both the global Indian diaspora and the international community at large." They also sell Jewelry & Collectibles, Antiquities, and "Prime Properties."

In general, I think it's nice to see these Internet startups push the art world beyond its traditional, some might say stuffy, limits, and create a welcoming and informative atmosphere for both a new generation of collectors and anyone who's become interested in it but may be intimidated.

After all, as Wagner and Westreich Wagner say in their interview, "Collecting contemporary art is a stimulating way to engage with one’s culture. As many an art lover would say, There’s nothing like that moment of coming face-to-face with a work of art that causes you to see the world around you differently, that energizes your mind and your emotions."

What do you think about the new sites cropping up around the art world? Do you think they might inspire you to buy or learn more about art? Post a comment here!




Comments (3) | Permalink

Readers Comments

New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World   New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 17 23:49:39 2013

It will be interesting to see what and how much items are worth. In the process you will have to pick up some knowledge.  Maybe find a rare piece at a flea market   :)

New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World   New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Jun 18 10:43:40 2013

Hi Freddy...yes indeed! From my own experience, I have found all kinds of very cool original art at both yard sales and estate sales, and the occasional underpriced piece at an antiques shop. It's fun to research the pieces and you learn a lot about art along the way. :)

New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World   New Sites Freshen Art Online Selling World

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Fri Jun 21 18:30:26 2013

NPR just did an article on this, at

http://n.pr/12UHMVw ,which is right up your alley!



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