Saturday, September 29, 2007

Changing Relationships in the Art Reproduction Business

The business of art reproductions in North America has changed over the past few years in some very obvious ways. One is the drastic reduction in “print galleries” which were the rage in the hey days of the “Limited Edition Print” – touted by publishers of artists such as Bev Doolittle, Robert Bateman, and many more. Those were the days when it seemed that a “limited edition” of 96,000 prints was not only a “good size for the market” but somehow still had the personal touch of the artist. It is amazing what marketing can do for a consumer anxious to own a piece of history in the form of art – or the greed that a potential “investment’ can bring out.

For all the negatives of that time of marketing, there were also many positives. It made people aware of art, it created a desire in many people to learn to appreciate the talent of many different artists and it created a “new norm” that people adopted that said that artwork needed to be a part of their lives, their homes and their d├ęcor.

Today, the internet as one key element has brought us closer to the actual artist who creates the work. We have an incredible opportunity to reach out and touch the talent, to try and understand what makes them create, to understand the motivations behind a particular piece and to feel as though we are able to experience the actual creation in a vicarious way.

As a result the business model has also changed with people more anxious to collect original work, with more original work available in galleries, on the internet, via art shows etc.

This has raised the expectations for reproductions and has caused the market to expect that even the reproductions should come directly from the hand of the artist rather than through several middlemen. Where is the place for publishers, distributors and art marketers? More on these thoughts in the days ahead. As always – your thoughts and comments would be greatly appreciated.

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