Fine art on Amazon? Retailer could return to online art sales

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. The e-tailer could soon sell fine art on its site.
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. The e-tailer could soon sell fine art on its site.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Would you buy fine art from Amazon?

The online retail giant is in talks with galleries across the country to sell high-end art on its site starting as soon as July, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Amazon will charge art houses a $100 monthly membership fee, which will be waived for early adopters through 2015, and take a 5% to 20% percent cut in commission, depending on the price of the piece, according to WSJ.

PHOTOS: Arts and culture by The Times

The e-tailer, which recently started selling wine and upscale apparel, has been trying to attract a more high-end clientele. The international art market, which last year reached about $60 billion in sales, seems to be attracting more online buyers.


An analysis from Hiscox, which insures art at galleries, museums and auction houses, found that 64% of collectors surveyed bought art via the Web. And online art sales are estimated to grow from $870 million in 2012 to $2.1 billion by 2017, according to the report.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has tried to sell fine art. The site had a 16-month partnership with Sotheby’s that ended in 2000 after the jointly operated auction site the failed to gain traction.

Yahoo and EBay also made several attempts at fine art sales with little success.


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