Artsy: The Rise of Online Art Commerce

Published 25 Sep 2017
Reference 6322
Industry Retail Arts and Crafts
Region North America
Summary

The case documents the emergence of Artsy, a digital solution to the sale of artwork. Once the preserve of the elite, the art market has been democratized by the founder Carter Cleveland, who in 2012 created an online catalogue of painting, photography, sculpture, film and video, and design. The curated platform features works by 70,000 artists, including Pablo Picasso and even a drawing by Vincent Van Gogh. How the young Princeton graduate became the go-to art player for museums and major auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s is attributed to a business model based on a network of gallery owners, museum curators, art fair organizers and auctioneers, and the creation of a unique database that renders artwork accessible. A truly global powerhouse, Artsy offers art lovers a secure portal to the world’s leading purveyors of art.

Teaching objectives

The case can be taught in executive education seminars and elective MBA courses in the following courses: luxury management, art history, e-commerce, digital marketing, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. It allows instructors to focus on a wide range of issues related to the sale of artwork—e.g., as a means to discuss the power and diversity of e-commerce solutions, a way to look at innovation in entrepreneurship, the methodology of forging powerful alliances, and the need to offer continuous education to customers.

Keywords
  • Artsy
  • e-commerce
  • Carter Cleveland
  • artwork
  • art dealers
  • Sebastian Cwilich
  • online platform
  • Auctionata
  • auction houses
  • museums
  • Larry Gagosian
  • art genome project
  • Christie’s
  • Sotheby’s
  • Q11718