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Online Art Galleries Transform The Hi-End Oil Paintings Industry

Jun 4, 2008
Over the years, online businesses have grown to unbelievable heights. So much in fact that many brick and mortar street stores and vendors are becoming obsolete.

In 2001 the Wall Street Journal reported many mom and pop stores in the optometry market were losing out big to web-based suppliers able to provide similar eyewear at half the cost to consumers, same with the travel industry, where local travel agents gave way to online behemoths such as Expedia and Travelocity. Seven years later, that trend has carried over to other markets such as the wall art industry.

OverstockArt.com, one of the web's leading producers of reproduction oil paintings, has reported many of its buyers come from brick and mortar art galleries around the West coast. The company believes many of these private buyers turn reproduction work around in their stores for profit.

"It's often hard to differentiate between one of our art reproductions and the original," says OverstockArt.com's Amitai Sasson. "That's why we outsell a lot of our oil paintings directly to local galleries. Many clients that walk through their doors can't afford million dollar originals, so they add our art reproductions to their collections, and append a few extra zeroes on the end of the price tag."

Sasson says he's not unhappy with the trend, but that consumers shopping in galleries should be aware of the tactic.

"Many of the galleries know that art purchase is emotional, spur of the moment decisions. People fall in love with the painting and take it home. However, it's always good to check online before making a purchase," he said, clicking through a list of some 20 or 30 street galleries his company has sold to in the past year.

Many Bush-era economy art connoisseurs are even turning to the online world of reproduction art instead of buying at galleries, simply because the price is good and the product is just like the real thing.

Mary Moon, a resident of Missoula, Montana has turned away from local galleries because gallery prices are just too high to pay right now. "I can buy four or five paintings online for the price of one piece at a local art gallery," she says. "I've seen a lot of originals in person and the reproductions are very, very accurate. Of course they're not the original, but they're hand painted, textured and they look great."

In gallery-style fashion, OverstockArt.com allows buyers to view art in the frame on a wall in cyberspace, and is now offering incentives like eco-friendly frames made from scrap molding and sawdust.

"It's almost just as good as seeing it in a gallery, you can find the perfect frame to match your selection and you can even read experiences of past purchasers," he said.

Sasson doesn't believe the reproduction industry will ever completely take over the gallery market, but companies like Overstock Art will always offer a great alternative, especially when money is tight.

"Some people will always prefer to buy art in their local gallery, simply because it is an emotional buy; however, if they'd take the time and look through online, they might find the same paintings and a much better price," Sasson states, . "A lot of people just want something that looks great that they can look at everyday and love. That's what we specialize in - making that happen."
About the Author
Amitai Sasson of OverstockArt.com is a renowned art connoisseur on a mission to seek out and explore the beauty and passion of the art world. As an avid enthusiast of oil paintings, he contributes greatly to the industry with his writing. Read more on art and wall decor today!
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