According to an article published in The Art Newspaper in July 2011, the growth in sales of art experienced over the last few years by leading auction houses worldwide has meant art dealers are reconsidering and reinventing the traditional gallery business model.

Premier international gallery Gagosian have developed an iPhone application that allows users to browse exhibitions. Image by Art Radar.

Premier international gallery Gagosian have developed an iPhone application that allows users to browse exhibitions. Image by Art Radar.

Galleries compete with auction houses

The article is written by Clare McAndrew and based on a recent study commissioned by Confédération Internationale des Négociants en Oeuvres d’Art (Cinoa) and carried out by the writer’s own organisation, Arts Economics. McAndrew presents the results of the study and outlines some of the ways in which gallerists are innovating in order to stand out against their competitors.

One of the most recurrent themes that dealers cited in the research is the challenge they have faced in recent years of dealing with the increasing power of the auction houses. … Many dealers now compete with them for clients and stock.

Click here to read the article, called “The personal touch can still pay off”, in its entirety on The Art Newspaper’s website.

Retail shopfront in decline

But what is it being replaced with? According to the study, thirty percent of the Cinoa dealers polled made their sales through art fairs and a growing number are dealing from offices or homes or by appointment only. Others have moved online although, as the article states, “it is worth noting that while the Internet has become an integral communication and marketing device, e-commerce for dealers remains relatively patchy” due to “the subjective nature of the market and the need for advice and personal contact.” in grid view. Image by Art Radar. in grid view. Image by Art Radar.

For an online success story, click here to read our interview with Alice Zhang, owner of Hong Kong gallery and online art buying site Mischmasch.

Globalisation the way forward?

International “brand” galleries like Gagosian that are rapidly globalising, and “specialised one-man shops” or spaces in “visible thoroughfares such as key cities or destination towns” are among those able to stick with the traditional gallery format and remain successful, writer McAndrew sums up.

Do you believe that the death of the traditional shopfront gallery space is nigh? Leave your comments below.


Related Topics: market watch – galleries and auction housesart and the Internet

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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