The world seems to be running at a slower pace at the moment with more than half of humanity being confined due to the coronavirus pandemic. But this didn’t stop the art world from moving forward.
Online Platform Inventory for Artists and Galleries
An online sales platform was launched by Darren Bader to allow artists to sell their art online. He called the platform Inventory knowing very well how taboo this word is in the industry. Term usually reserved for unsold art held in storage, kept in the storeroom of a gallery or an artist’s studio.
The platform will host work from 20 artists a week, including Darren Bader’s own. Art pieces’ prices will vary from 30% to 90% of their primary market price. The website was developed during the course of the last month during coronavirus lockdown. Since gallery exhibitions and fairs won’t be operating normally for a long time, the website serves as a viable solution during this tumultuous time.
Keeping art alive
The website is also a way to keep art alive, breathing and circulating but also to provide much needed assistance to people in the industry. Both artists and dealers are facing huge losses of annual income and revenue with many struggling to sell their work in order to get basic necessities for their home. But still, the art market is normally resistant to “liquidation” sales, even if absolutely necessary.
Various artists such as Margaret Lee, Barb Chiot, Jesse Wine have their work featured in Inventory. Artists as well as their dealers can switch out works when needed or when some are sold. Works on the website are all more than two years, included in the artist’s inventory and most are marked down by up to 90%.
While 30% of a sale goes directly to the artist who made the work, 40% goes to a COVID-19 related charity and 22% to the gallery where the work resides in order to keep employees. 5% serves as administration fees.
Sotheby’s Prepares Reopening of New York and London Galleries
While the whole world is still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Sotheby’s is actively preparing for the reopening of its galleries in New York and London. This will serve as the real test of the market and is not as far as next month. Plans are being made to hold its trendsetter Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art auctions in New York during the last week of June.
The preparation to reopen galleries also means that teams in a number of offices are returning to work including those in Europe and Asia. Charles Stewart, Sotheby’s chief executive is looking ahead to the June and July flagship sales, and just awaiting the lifting of certain restrictions from relevant authorities.
There’s no denying that the market has been deeply disrupted over the past few months, and more so, the recent events will have a long-lasting impact. Sotheby’s has already been going through a period of restructuring which at the end of last year resulted in the departure of around 25 senior executives. More changes are to be expected in the coming weeks.
Jewellery, watches, wine, 20th-century design, Asian Art, books and decorative art were identified by Stewart as “key growth areas” for the firm. Since March, Sotheby’s has held 37 online auctions totalling close to $70m which included a $1.3m Cartier bracelet.
For consignors, this period is a remarkably good time to sell even if many would think the contrary. In a world where people are self-isolating, there is an increased engagement by collectors who are focusing on their areas of passion.