ARTISTS. As acceptance of online art sales expands, online galleries are adopting different business models. For example, some galleries make a big selection of a art available to the mass market; others offer small, curated selections to more discerning collectors.
One gallery succeeding with the curated approach is 5piecesgallery.com in Bern, Switzerland. They are taking a global approach to selling original works and small editions by contemporary artists.
The gallery currently offers more than 500 original artworks and 400 small print editions by 100 painters and 34 photographers from 38 countries. Prices range from $50 to $20,000. All pieces come with a certificate of authenticity.
Most artists featured on 5piecesgallery.com are under 40, and have already had exhibitions at important museums and galleries such as the MoMA, PS1, ICP, MOCA, CO2, and the Saatchi Gallery.
Access to New and Veteran Collectors
The goal is to reach out to the many people who are interested in contemporary art, but have little access to it, says Dennis Amman, the entrepreneur and art collector who founded 5piecesgallery.com in February 2011. The gallery treads the fine line between offering access to newcomers and exclusivity to veteran collectors.
As Ammann explains, “The gallery’s website is not only a place for art collectors and investors looking to find the ‘next big thing,’ but also affordable enough to encourage a new generation of collectors.”
One of Ammann’s goals is to connect contemporary artists from overlooked regions of the world with the growing number of new buyers from Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. At 5piecesgallery.com, art collectors from all over the world can see many different perspectives on life and society.
Unlike online art galleries that offer editions of 200 or even 500 prints per work, 5piecesgallery.com provides small print editions. Ammann also offers art consulting services to individual and corporate collectors.
“Besides the undeniable beauty of a handmade, originally created artwork, any art collector knows that the artworks with a real possibility of increasing in value are the unique, original ones and the small editions,” says Ammann.
Artists and Collectors Benefit
Ammann founded 5piecesgallery.com because he believes the time is ripe for digital innovation in the art world. The growth of social media and e-commerce combined with improved technology for viewing images on-screen have made collectors more comfortable about purchasing original art online.
He confirms that collectors are increasingly willing to spend large sums on art online, noting that works by artists such as Anthony Lister, Brett Amory, and Daniel Lumbini sell out within minutes.
According to Ammann, 5piecesgallery.com is establishing itself as an international meeting place for art collectors, art enthusiasts, and artists. Over the past year, traffic to the site has tripled and the website has become the second-most visited curated online art gallery in the world.
He attributes this success to using social media to build personal relationships between collectors, artists, and gallery employees and providing daily art news to art collectors and enthusiasts. The site’s round-the-clock customer service provides members with the details they need to make informed and confident purchasing decisions.
The lower fixed costs of running an online gallery benefit everyone, says Amman. Not only is it possible to offer buyers art works well below traditional market prices, but the artists also reap greater direct benefits from every purchase. According to the website, “It is our goal to deliver to our clients the artist’s message and work at transparent and fair prices, connecting and empowering collectors and artists alike.”
According to Ammann, monthly sales figures have quadrupled in 2012, compared to last year’s monthly averages. He says, “It’s a great feeling to support the best talented artists from around the globe and see the demand for their work growing.”