Gallery Network: Sotheby's launches online marketplace for buyers to make instant art purchases
The auction house's new platform features a 'buy-now' function for works below $150,000
Auction house Sotheby’s has launched an online, ‘buy-now’ marketplace for partnering galleries. The Sotheby’s Gallery Network allows collectors to make immediate purchases directly from the website.
Prices will be listed publicly and works of up to $150,000 (Dh550,000) can be bought as point-of-sale transactions, much like on other e-commerce platforms. Visitors can send enquiries to staff for works priced beyond that amount.
Sotheby’s Gallery Network was created to help partners during 'these unprecedented times'
For every piece sold, Sotheby’s will collect a commission, which is stated in the price online.
The marketplace, which launched on Wednesday, currently showcases viewing rooms for eight New York galleries. This includes Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Jack Shainman Gallery, Kasmin Gallery, Lehmann Maupin, Luhring Augustine, Petzel Gallery, Sperone Westwater and Van Doren Waxter.
The "buy-now" function is not unique to Sotheby’s. Online art platform Artsy introduced this feature for member galleries on its website last year. What's different about the Gallery Network, however, is that it will focus on primary sales as opposed to the typical auction house approach of secondary market sales.
The project was created to help partners during “these unprecedented times”, according to the announcement. This refers to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has caused closures of galleries and cancellations of art fairs and auctions. Amid the crisis, art fairs and galleries have stepped up their digital strategies.
Last week, Sotheby’s marked its highest total in online sales with their "Contemporary Curated" selection, bringing in $6.4 million. Pre-sale estimates were placed at $4.2m to $5.8m.
This was initially intended to be a live auction in London, but the event was converted to an online sale due to the pandemic.
The top lot was a painting by George Condo titled Antipodal Reunion, which sold for $1.2m. Second to that was Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian’s Geometry of Hope, which sold at $470,925. Other names in the lot included Fahrelnissa Zeid, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.
The auction house is due to host a Covid-19 charity sale in collaboration with Google to support the International Rescue Committee on May 1. This online auction will offer bidders the opportunity to converse with some of the biggest names in music, politics, science, culture and sport – from Hillary Clinton to Madeleine Albright.
For more information, visit www.sothebys.com
Updated: April 29, 2020 01:36 PM