Online retail behemoth Amazon is getting classy, launching a fine art division with works ranging from a $44 cat portrait up to a $4.85m Norman Rockwell oil on canvas and a Monet for $1.45m. Best to steer clear of this one if you’re prone to impulse buying at 3am.
Amazon.com/art launched in beta mode yesterday, showcasing over 40,000 works from more than 4,500 artists and 150 dealers and galleries around the world. Straight out of the gates it’s one of the biggest online collection of original and limited edition artworks, and could spell trouble for the incumbent online big boys such as Artsation and Eyestorm. It’s likely to be a tremendous opportunity for smaller galleries to scale up operations without the usual costs, though.
Galleries that have gotten involved from the outset include big US names such as Paddle8 in New York, Holden Luntz in Palm Beach, The McLoughlin Gallery in San Francisco, Modernbook in San Franciscoand Catherine Person Gallery in Seattle.
The best bit of the whole idea, though, is the customer reviews that are already flowing in. “Kyle” reviews Rockwell’s “Willie Gillis: Package from Home”, on sale at $4.85m, for example, thusly: “Installed one of these on top of my urinal, and besides the creepy looks on their faces when I pee, its been worth the purchase. I give it 4 stars. Minus one star for looking old.” Who needs Brian Sewell? Another, on Helen Frankenthaler’s Adirondacks, points out that Amazon’s image of the work is displayed upside down.