Amazon has a new art market place. Amazon Art is an online retail space dedicated to giving consumers access to real artwork. At launch, it will offer roughly 40,000 pieces from 150 galleries and dealers, with the art itself coming from about 4,500 different artists.
The online retail company, which continues its path toward retail domination with its recently announced grocery delivery service AmazonFresh, says it designed the art marketplace to include “easy-to-use discovery tools” so that it can “open up the art world to customers.” Featured galleries include Paddle8 in New York, Modernbook in San Francisco, and Catherine Person Gallery in Seattle. Galleries from the U.K., Canada, and the Netherlands are also in the mix (though not, apparently, galleries from more well-known art-centric cities like Paris).
The kinds of work on offer range from hundreds of dollars to over a million–including an original Monet on offer for $1.45 million, and a Norman Rockwell for $4.85 million. Amazon says the wide range of price points “increases the accessibility of quality works of art enabling any customer to become a collector.”
The move will likely rattle the traditional and conservative art world, and may worry some smaller galleries who rely on actual patrons coming into stores to browse. These galleries may be looking at what Amazon’s allegedly done to crush independent bookstores and feel nervous.
But this actually may be Amazon’s biggest challenge: It’s one thing to buy an e-book or an electronic toothbrush from Amazon, or even groceries, but it’s quite a different experience to actually stand in front of a beautiful painting and feel moved by it.
What’s your take on Amazon Art? Is this expansionist folly from Amazon that will damage the emotional value of artwork? Or will it deliver a smart and much-needed shake-up to the industry?