Coronavirus Driving Sales to Online Art Galleries

Top Quote With brick and mortar galleries closed, collectors are visiting online art galleries, accelerating a trend that was already in progress. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) April 15, 2020 - The coronavirus is driving collectors to online art galleries, according to art dealers trying to survive the current pandemic along with other retail businesses. Many collectors are discovering for the first time the wealth of art to be found on the Internet, often with guarantees that allow them to return the art if they are not satisfied.

    “The acceptance of buying art online has been gradual until now,” said Guy Lyman, owner of European Art Underground and New Orleans Art Exchange. “There is a natural preference to see art in person before you buy it, but this limits you to just the galleries you can physically visit. Shopping for art online gives you access to literally millions of works of art.”

    “If there’s a good guarantee, you’re not at any risk buying art from online art galleries,” he continued. “If you don’t like it in person, you just send it back.”

    The pandemic has moved a lot of brick and mortar activity to the Internet, and art galleries have experienced this as well. Those with a strong online presence are continuing at least some of their sales through their web sites. But those for whom websites have been an insignificant presence are feeling the pain now that most of their doors are closed and buyers can no longer view their art in person.

    “We went completely online a couple of years back,” said Lyman, who previously owned a gallery featuring New Orleans art and artists. “In addition to selling New Orleans art online, we also expanded into European and worldwide art. It turns out we were pretty lucky not to have the expense and overhead of a brick and mortar art gallery when this pandemic came around; I have a lot of sympathy for New Orleans art galleries and those elsewhere trying to get through this.”

    Guy Lyman’s art business sell both direct and through venues such as 1stdibs and Barnebys. “Because of people’s preference to browse art in person the business has been a bit slower to move online, but especially in this environment we’re seeing things change quickly,” he said.

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