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Amazon calls their online marketplace "Earth's biggest selection," but there are still a few areas of retail they have yet to explore. Last week, the e-commerce giant debuted its (still-beta) fine art storefront which includes a Norman Rockwell painting retailing for 4.85 million dollars.
Amazon partnered with more than 150 galleries on the project including the LA-based Artspace Warehouse, Philadelphia's Rodger LaPelle Galleries and The McLoughlin Gallery out of San Francisco. A fine art appraiser, writing for Forbes, sees "serious risks" in the way that Amazon has decided to sell the art. She mentions that Amazon does not require sellers to list the condition each work is in, a factor which would most definitely affect its selling price. Another possible issue: listing information which may lead a buyer to believe that they're purchasing an original instead of an edition. Most troubling, Amazon doesn't have a clear strategy for guaranteeing authenticity of works.
Of course, there's also the possibility that one of the largest retailers in the world might actually revolutionize the way that art is bought and sold. Amazon isn't intimidating and users can browse is anonymously whenever they want.
Huffington Post spoke to the owner of the New Orleans gallery that put the Rockwell on Amazon and was told that she doesn't actually expect the work to sell. Instead, she sees the move as a "branding tool." They also highlight an Amazon Art shopper, Maya Wiest, who loves to buy art online from contemporary artists and isn't concerned with the acquiring something that will increase in value.
Amazon's gloss-free interface makes browsing works by the likes of Salvador Dali disconcerting, but also removes any trace of snobbishness from the art-buying experience. Maybe that's a good thing?
· Fine Art [Amazon]
· Amazon Opens Fine Art Market [Daily Beast]
· Why Amazon's Art Experiment Might Pay Off [HuffPo]
· Amazon Opens Fine Art Market [The Daily Beast]
· The Real Risks Of Buying Fine Art In Amazon's New Online Art Marketplace [Forbes]