Amazon today opened up a new subsection of the site: Amazon Art. And this isn’t for dorm-room copies of that Pink Floyd poster with the naked ladies: Amazon is partnering with legit galleries to sell originals from Warhol, Dali, Hirst, Rockwell, and more.
Amazon has lately been branching out into new areas of selling; pretty much anything you can buy, Amazon wants you to buy it from them. Hence Amazon Fresh, the FreshDirect-like grocery delivery service (currently only available in Los Angeles and Seattle), and now Amazon Art. Amazon Art is working with more than 1,500 galleries across the world to sell, it says, more than 40,000 pieces of art. Those galleries include Paddle8 in New York, Holden Luntz in Miami, McLoughlin Gallery in San Francisco, Modernbook in San Francisco, and Catherine Person Gallery in Seattle, to name a few in the States.
The selling works pretty much like any other Amazon third-party retailer; Amazon handles the listing and processing, but the galleries take care of the shipping. And shipping a fine work of art is a bit more complicated than a 48-pack of toilet paper, so you’re not going to be getting free two-day shipping from Amazon Prime here. This lovely Chagall lithograph will cost you $250 in shipping, for example.
There’s also a cool little option that shows you how the painting would look in a room. It’s helpful, but for something this expensive, we wonder if a small JPG image on a website is enough to get a potential collector to pull the trigger. Amazon Arts’s main competitor seems to be Artsy, a smaller startup backed by big names like Google’s Eric Schmidt and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. But Artsy’s main goal is discovery; it wants to help you figure out what you want, and connect you with smaller artists. Amazon Arts seems to be leaning on bigger artist names and higher-value works, at least so far. Still, it’s almost certainly the most convenient way to blow a million dollars on a painting from your cellphone. Check it out here.