Saturday , Apr 25, 2009

Online sales make a splash in art world
Shalini Rai

Traditionally, art appreciation and sale was associated with standing in front of rows of paintings in a starkly painted gallery for long durations and mulling over the finer aspects of the artworks on display. However, a recent trend, which could change this scenario forever, is fast picking up in the city. More and more art galleries are now exhibiting their works online, thus doing away with the need for connoisseurs to physically visit art galleries.

As Sanjeev Pawar, co-owner of the Art2Day Gallery says, exhibiting artworks online helps in two ways. “One, it saves on time, which most people have on a premium these days and two, it demonstrates how technological advancement can ease things by letting buyers order paintings online,” he adds. Pawar feels e-trading has changed the entire market scenario and that it’s been a positive development for the trade.

Shanth Mannige, a regular buyer of artworks online, feels the level of trust involved in online trading is high. “I’ve been a regular buyer of online artworks from Art Hut and have acquired many coveted pieces by Bengali artists — Jamini Roy, Nandlal Bose and so on, over the past seven-eight years,” says Mannige. Mannige admits that at one point it was tough for her to imagine buying a painting without having seen it in person, but “now, it’s all part of the process of buying art and no longer feels strange.”

Buoyed by the response that online art exhibitions are receiving currently, many artists have opted to put up their paintings for sale online. Nitin Khilare is one such artist and says he’s positive he’ll receive a good response. “I’ve already put up my paintings for sale at the Art2Day Gallery’s website and I’m planning to upload some more at the Indiaart Gallery website,” he adds.

Milind Mulick, another well-known artist, says it’s a good platform, but things are no longer the same owing to the recession. Another sceptic and someone who says the trend is not new but was always in vogue is Milind Sathe, founder-director, Indiaart Gallery. He says the concept of online exhibitions makes sense only if an artist has a novel body of work and something totally new to offer. “Unless the novelty factor is present, it just might act as a disincentive,” he adds.