Amazon, “earth’s biggest selection” in the online shopping world, recently got bigger. Almost two months ago, the website announced the addition of Amazon Art, a fine-arts and collectibles category which allows shoppers to buy extravagant art pieces with the click of a button. This saves a trip to an art gallery, but is it feasible to sell fine art alongside books and toys? Amazon is betting that millions of customers will happily buy paintings and prints in the same way that they now buy clothes, books, and electronics online.
Although selling art online is a big step for the online shopping giant, the concept is not at all new. Several websites, such as Etsy and Artnet, sell art and handmade wares online.
According to an article by Gizmodo, there are several issues that arise when buying and selling artwork online. One issue is the lack of information given about provenance- crucial information regarding where a painting came from and its history. An art piece’s provenance can greatly affect its value. Without such information, buyers cannot know exactly what they are buying or if they are actually getting a good deal. Another obvious issue is the condition of the art pieces. Amazon makes no claims about the quality of the pieces. Amazon will not be doing any curation and will leave that to the galleries.
Amazon Art is an exciting new venture for the company and will hopefully attract many for its convenience and simplicity. As the online art market grows, it will be important for potential customers to understand that purchasing art is normally a complicated process. Buyers should educate themselves before dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on art online. Definitely do some research on past auction prices. Buyers should also contact the gallery and ask questions regarding the art they are interested in.
For more about Amazon Art, visit Gizmodo’s article at http://gizmodo.com/is-amazon-art-a-ripoff-1154778115 and the New York Time’s report at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/arts/design/art-collections-a-click-away.html?ref=design.