Artnet chooses Hong Kong as debut venue for new venture – Art Radar scoop interview
Posted by artradar on October 10, 2010
ART PRICE DATABASE DEALER NEWS
Artnet group, the leading art price database and online art auction company has chosen the year 2010 to branch out into a brand new venture: art dealing. And it chose a surprising venue for its debut.
In a brief chat with Max Wolf, Modern and Contemporary Specialist in the Artnet booth at Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair 2010, Art Radar learned more about the ambitious plans Artnet has to break into high-priced art dealing and what has surprised the Artnet representatives about the collectors they have met on their first visit to Hong Kong.
Most people know you from your Price Database but this is a new venture?
It has spawned from our online auctions. We found a need to extend from our private treaties with dealers and collectors and a lot of the galleries on our website who perhaps don’t want to sell the work on the website, perhaps because it is a more significant work.
Yes, so this is the first time that we are showing work which we are not necessarily putting online for sale.
This is the first time you are in a fair?
Why did you choose this fair?
It seemed to align itself with this collection we are offering … this complete set of Warhols.… Hong Kong seemed like an ideal venue and it just serendipitously worked out with the timing that it just made sense…
Right. So how has your experience been?
Great, we have had considerable interest from a handful of collectors. We shall see; today should be pretty revealing…. We took the less-is-more approach and I think this has worked out well for us. We have this Warhol portfolio, a Haring, another Warhol and two Ashers.
What do you propose to do with this new arm? What do you hope for your new venture?
Sales! Of course. (laughs)
And apart from that (laughs) do you plan to go to more fairs in the future?
Which fairs would you like to try?
Well, depending on how this works out…. But with our online auctions and our private treaty sector of the business this seems like the natural progression for us.
What is your background in art?
I am one of a handful of auction specialists with Artnet.
So you didn’t come from the art world to Artnet?
Yes, I came with an auction background and was hired by Artnet to become an online auction specialist. There are six of us specialising in photography, unique painting works and prints.
How is that going?
Our online auctions are doing really really well. It seems that we are a panacea for the economy in a downturn. We are useful to collectors who don’t want to wait six months to consign a piece to a bricks and mortar auction house and then wonder whether it will be bought in. And then they have to pay for shipping and insurance even if it is bought in. With us they send us a .jpeg and within two weeks have money in [their] pocket.
That is great, great for the art world, great for collectors.
It is great. We have really enjoyed seeing the diversity of buyers. We sell to a lot of dealers but we also sell to private collectors, new buyers [and] new young collectors from all over the world…. From Australia, Kazakhstan, from all over. You would be surprised at the breadth.
You must have a great deal of information about where new collectors are coming from, the data…
Yes, the data that our technical team can gather, where and when is pretty impressive…
Have you been to Hong Kong before?
What kind of collectors have you met over the last three days?
A wide variety but we have seen a considerable number of serious collectors from Taiwan. We were surprised…. We thought we would see more Mainlanders but we have seen Taiwanese and local Hong Kong collectors, some Koreans and Brits, but we were surprised by the size of the Taiwanese presence.
About Artnet services (source: Artnet website)
In the mid 1980s Artnet developed its first product, the Price Database. Today the Price Database has a broad base of customers dominated by major auction houses, art dealers, museums, and insurance companies. Representing auction results from over 500 international auction houses, the Price Database covers more than 4 million auction results by over 188,000 artists, ranging from Old Masters to Contemporary Art.In 1995 the company transitioned the Price Database to the Internet and introduced a second product, the online Gallery Network, building and hosting websites for art dealers and galleries on its platform. In 1999, the online auction business was launched and now has 60,000 collectors visiting the site each month.
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