Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An ecommerce giant forays into art

Amazon has just launched its full-fledged Fine Art store that features drawings, paintings, mixed works, art prints and photography. From renowned artists to new artists, it has on offer a wide range of works cutting across periods and styles such as Pop art, Modern art, Abstract art, Contemporary art and so on.

The vast online marketplace has over40,000 works for now sourced from close to 150 galleries and dealers from across America and is comprised of galleries in Britain, the Netherlands and Canada, which will sell directly to art lovers present on the shopping major’s site. The current offerings are relatively modest in comparison to Art.com. But volume, it seems, is not what Amazon wants to focus on, not yet. Instead, it’s focusing more on offering exclusive and high-end pieces, both originals as well as limited editions, drawn directly from known galleries.

Among the galleries presently involved in the ambitious project are Holden Luntz Gallery in Miami, The McLoughlin and Modernbook in San Francisco, and Paddle8 in New York City. Works are in the range of $200 (a Clifford Ross photo) to a painting by Norman Rockwell tagged at $4.85 million. What has brought the market players to Amazon? According to Paddle8, they are treating it as an avenue to sell some of their limited-edition works that are more ‘affordable’. Holden Luntz Gallery, on the other hand, feels the ecommerce giant sure can help access new client base.

Amazon.com, a Fortune 500 company from Seattle, allows customers to find almost anything that they might want to buy on the Web. Among their noteworthy arty picks are ‘Cascade’ by Monika Steiner, an artist who has been profoundly interested in the unseen aspects of life, reading about metaphysics, meditating, becoming fascinated by how abstract art expresses what can't be understood by the eyes and mind yet can be clearly felt. Steiner is attracted to spheres because they are nature's most efficient shape (requiring the least amount of structure to enclose the greatest possible volume).

In his iconic ‘Willie Gillis series of Saturday Evening Post covers’, Rockwell championed ‘the plight of an inoffensive, ordinary little guy thrown into the chaos of war’; an engaging and recently discovered oil on canvas (Willie Gillis: Package From Home) was the first of this series of 11 total covers about a young private during World War II. An unusually large work - comic yet still patriotic -it introduced the American wartime public to a young soldier who they came to know and love as if he were their own friend, brother or son.

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