Peter Hort and The Internet

Collecting in the 21th century

The number of online art sales platforms is staggering – new ones are popping up every month. The online market seems to be here to stay with record-breaking sales: a watercolor by Egon Schiele from 1916 has been sold for 1.8 million euro by Berlin-based online auction house Auctionata earlier this week.

Contemporary art collector Peter Hort, an attorney specialized in fine arts law and son of noted collectors’ couple Susan and Michael Hort, has recently shared his thoughts about buying art "sight unseen" with Blouin Artinfo.

In the article Peter Hort states that he often browses through online art sales platforms. Beyond that he uses social media such as Twitter to keep family, friends and followers up to date about the art pieces that he is looking at. Having purchased about 10 to 15 pieces - without seeing the work in person - over the last few years, Peter Hort has become well acquainted with the process of buying online. "But", he relativizes, "we buy a lot of art. So proportionately speaking, that’s a small number."

Before committing to a work seen only online, Peter Hort calls the dealer or gallery to get a feeling for the work and artist. He also mentions that he has never been bold enough to buy an artwork completely blind. The collector values the relationship between dealer and buyer, and even cautions people to buy online. "I don’t love to purchase things from a jpeg unless I know the artist’s work, and I’ve seen other things in the same style", he says.

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