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Amazon joins the online art gallery biz

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AMAZON ART has just been announced by Amazon. It’s still in beta, but you can now order original art online. For the official press release, click here.

Amazon describes AMAZON ART (www.amazon.com/art) as “a marketplace that gives customers direct access to more than 40,000 works of fine art from over 150 galleries and dealers. At launch, Amazon Art will showcase artworks from more than 4,500 artists. The store is one of the largest online collections of original and limited edition artwork for purchase directly from galleries and dealers. The new store features easy-to-use discovery tools to help open the art world to customers and offers detailed information about the works of art. Customers can explore fine art from galleries of all sizes, including Paddle8 in New York, Holden Luntz in Palm Beach, The McLoughlin Gallery inSan Francisco, Modernbook in San Francisco and Catherine Person Gallery in Seattle.”

The viewing interface is quite flexible: Besides searching on artist or keywords, you can refine results by media, subject (abstract, figures, etc.), style, price range, size, orientation (portrait etc.), color and even seller. Some outstanding omissions: sculpture, installations, glass, and mosaic. The usual Amazon “sorts” are available for browsing: price high to low, customer reviews, etc. Or you can browse the “featured” works or galleries.  If you wish to be notified of new works, Amazon offers a fine art mailing list.

The Amazon name is a big advantage, but will it put a dent in online art sales from eBay, Etsy, ArtSpace and other established art marketers? Much of the sales through those outlets are from artists not promoted by galleries, so perhaps not. The fact that some art galleries are now selling their inventory through Amazon gives hope to both established and struggling galleries, as well as a wider market for their artists. It also provides convenience to art lovers to have so much quality inventory in one place.

So far, selling on Amazon is not an option for individual artists, but one can hope. At this point the artist who wishes to sell through Amazon must meet the standards of a participating gallery to be included.

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