From the Fine Art Connoisseur November/December 2021 Editor’s Note:
We all know the pandemic has altered a wide range of behaviors, some forever. When it comes to art, a survey conducted recently by a leading insurer, Chubb, took a helpful look at U.S. art collectors’ attitudes and purchasing decisions over the past year (spring 2020 through spring 2021).
I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow summary, but there are several findings worth pondering here. First, 74 percent of respondents have purchased, or would consider purchasing, art sight unseen. That confirms our impression that we have been combing the Internet more than ever before.
Following from there, 79 percent of respondents used an online auction platform to buy or sell valuables or collectables, though of course they also bought via Artsy, Etsy, eBay, nonprofit arts organizations and clubs, and the websites of individual artists and galleries located nearby or far away.
Going further, the Chubb survey found that collectors are most influenced to purchase art by social media (57 percent), the appeal of online auctions (54 percent), the perception of an investment opportunity (52 percent), and the desire to support a specific artist (47 percent). Not surprisingly, Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most likely (72 percent) to be influenced to buy art through social media.
These findings underscore how crucial it is for the artists and purveyors we love to refine their Internet and social media presence so that it accurately reflects the art they are offering and makes it easy to purchase.
This is not to say that in-person experiences are over. We have noticed a pent-up desire in the art world to get out there and reconnect with each other at live events — from gallery exhibition openings to raise-your-paddle auctions. Masks and elbow bumps can make such occasions a bit surreal, but for most of us they feel so much more engaging than sitting at home tapping a keyboard.
It’s clear now that both approaches must be pursued: ensure that anyone in the world can find you online and fall in love with your art, and be present in real time when there is something specific or time-sensitive to see and acquire.
The team at Fine Art Connoisseur and RealismToday.com is actually quite excited about this hybrid existence, and we look forward to participating in its evolution.
In the meantime, enjoy your collecting adventures, and please keep us posted on what you see out there.