More people in the UK visit art galleries and museums than attend Premier League football matches but record numbers are flocking to the internet too. And buying art is the becoming an industry norm.
The BBC News has an interesting but somewhat tendentious story on the rise of internet art selling. Opening with the compelling statistic that more people visit museums and galleries in the UK than attend Premier League Football matches, the story goes on to have a little fun with numbers. Jonas Almgren is quoted identifying the very small world of the big money: “The high-end is 200 galleries, 2,000 artists and maybe 2,000 buyers,” he says.
But the article goes on to try to suggest that more individual works are getting sold through online retailers like the Saatchi Gallery:
“We sell more art in a month online than most bricks-and-mortar galleries do in a year,” says Rebecca Wilson, a director of Saatchi Gallery. “It’s because of a huge international audience, a lot of work and a team of curators making sure very good work rises to the fore.” […]
The big surprise is the amount of art sold “sight unseen”. This means the art is sold from a traditional gallery without the buyer ever having seen the art in real life.
According to analysis from insurers Hiscox, about 90% of galleries regularly sell art to clients on the basis of a digital image only. […] And the stereotype of younger people being more tech-savvy is, according to Hiscox, simply not true. Most collectors aged over 65 had bought art directly online.
However, the story does close with this interesting bit of momentum building. According to Almgren, 14% of those who bought art online in April have bought another work since that time. That’s good news no matter how you slice the numbers.
Art ‘sold more online than in galleries’ (BBC News)