Where to Buy Art Online: From Christie's to Paddle8
Splash image: Sarah, Alex Katz, Lithograph printed in colours on rising white 2-ply museum board. 14 x 39 inches (2012)
It's easy to get educated and purchase art from the comfort of your own home without having to travel to a gallery or studio. However, there is still resistance among 51% of art collectors in buying art online, challenging platforms to become more accessible, transparent and user-friendly. With so many online art platforms to choose from, how does one navigate through the noise?
A defining factor in selecting the sites below was their ability to connect collectors with art through unique and innovative approaches. They are market leaders with some of the highest membership numbers globally, providing an enjoyable art buying experience for collectors of every tier.
Preeminent auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have market dominance based on their long standing history and global footprint. Their online sales maintain the same structure as a traditional auction house, except that their live online auctions can last from a few hours to a few weeks. This allows buyers to bid in real time against one another. Offering artwork by mainstream artists, these auctions normally have higher price points.
Overall: Live online auctions are recommended for a more seasoned collector, able to commit quickly depending on the number of bidders vying for the same piece.
The Global Connector
Artsy has created a one-stop destination in the online space for collectors to seek out artists and galleries. Collectors can also preview a vast multitude of art fairs, allowing them to stay informed about the newest works coming to market. Easy to navigate, the site allows the ability to locate artwork according to every imaginable parameter—including size, color, price range, date, style and location.
Connecting directly with the world’s most reputable galleries is what differentiates Artsy. This model allows the collector to create a transparent relationship with galleries and provides an opportunity for personal engagement, something we encourage all collectors to do.
Overall: The intuitive user-interface is perfect for first time buyers, making Artsy one of the most enjoyable art viewing experiences currently available.
Artspace is one of the most educationally focused websites available, and is supported in its partnership with Phaidon. In addition to the artwork, Artspace provides artist and process descriptions, allowing a deeper window into the artist’s practice. It is also unique in that, as a member, you are able to view the price for every work available. In addition, it provides a collector guarantee for artworks bought through their advisor service, ensuring authenticity, fully insured shipments and dedicated customer support.
Overall: Artspace is a fantastic resource for every level of collector, highlighting both established and emerging artists and also provides the purchaser with a guarantee.
Paddle8 invites international curators to create auctions centered around a theme, offering a curated navigational art experience. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the abundance of online art choices. What differentiates Paddle 8 is their curated auctions, which create a collection of art that has context and relationships to one another. This gives the collector a more gallery-like experience, which bridges the gap between online and traditional art viewing.
Overall: A beautifully curated site offering a strong focus for every level of collector.