How Auction Houses Can Benefit From the Digital Age

August 22, 2016

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auction housesIt’s no surprise or secret that the contemporary art realm has been greatly affected by the digital revolution. Even the world’s leading auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, now offer regular online art auctions. Additionally, some 71% of art collectors have purchased art through the Internet.

Far from signifying the end of the auction era, digital trends have actually helped improve many of the services offered by auction houses and opened up a world of beauty for many new buyers. Here are just a few of the ways auction houses and their customers have benefited from digital technology.

Real-time access from anywhere in the world.
You can be in Dallas or Dubai and still bid on fantastic art pieces up for auction in New York City or Paris. Instantaneous access and live-streaming technologies allow for the same energy and excitement as an in-person auction event, all from the comfort of your own home or hotel room.

Safe monetary transactions.
Much of global finance is now done through the web, and secure payments can be delivered in an instant. This makes transactions much easier for buyers and sellers alike.

Streamlined shipping and handling.
Glass artwork in particular can be difficult to transport, especially since 70% to 74% of the weight of modern glass is pure silica, or fused quartz. While 90% of glass used today is enriched with lime, that doesn’t make it any less fragile. Online auctions allow pieces to be transported only once, often directly from artist to collector, saving many unnecessary and precarious trips in between.

Bringing art to the masses.
One of the best things to come of the digital revolution is that anyone, anywhere, can study and appreciate art without necessarily having to go to a museum or gallery to see it. This has expanded an interest and knowledge in the field, encouraging young people to expand their artistic horizons and further the potentials of creative expression.

Not everyone feels at home in the digital realm, and plenty of auction houses still hold traditional events for in-person bidding. Still, the many ways that online auctioning has expanded the art world should serve as an inspiration for artists, collectors, and dealers alike.