Not content with selling just about everything made on the planet today, Amazon is making perhaps its boldest move yet - into selling fine art. A letter sent out from the company's business development department last Friday invited selected galleries to a get together to talk about a new site Amazon Fine Art Gallery, apparently due to launch later this summer.
Part of the letter read: "This summer Amazon is planning to launch a Fine Art Gallery where customers will be able to purchase original artwork offered by a select group of invited galleries via Amazon.com. You are cordially invited to a special event in New York where we will introduce the Amazon Art marketplace to New York galleries.
We’re inviting you and a select group of your peers to join us for light snacks and refreshments on Wednesday, May 22, to learn more about connecting with new customers and driving sales on our platform. We have received overwhelming support from the galleries that have already joined the platform and we would love the opportunity to offer your gallery’s selection in the Amazon Art Gallery."
Amazon appears to be targeting middle market galleries, some of which have suffered slightly since the art-buying action moved perceptibly to the top of the market. The approach is also noteworthy as it appears to be very different from the way that Amazon sidestepped the book and music buying business on its launch and relatively quickly, effectively replaced it.
In selling art Amazon obviously needs the reassurance a gallery offers the buyer when making a purchase. Hence the letter inviting them to become a part of the endeavour. Expect a formal announcement tomorrow. The best art buying advice of course comes from legendary New York art advisors Ethan Wagner and Thea Westreich Wagner. You can find some of it in our recent interview with them and a whole lot more of it in their wonderful new book, Collecting Art for Love, Money and More.