Transparency in the art market

The art market

The art market has always had a higher degree of opacity than other markets, and despite the rules and laws put in place, this workings of the market are often difficult to understand, especially for collectors who are just starting out.

In the art market transparency can refer to the clarity of price, the conditions of purchase, the condition of the work and the impact on its value, the history of the work, the certificates of authenticity etc. The transparency of the art market and the laws that apply to are meant to prevent many illegal actions such as money laundering, the distribution of counterfeits and other major issues in the art market. Unfortunately, such problems continue to occur despite the number of laws trying to prevent them, and it is often a lack of transparency that allow for these transgressions to take place.

One of the major obstacles to greater transparency in the art world is that privacy is king and there are cases where various actors in the art market do not want to reveal certain information about a buyer, seller, provenance or history of a work.

Why is transparency important?

Transparency is important for the vast majority of markets. Indeed, transparency helps to create a trust between the buyer and the seller. The greater transparency, the less the possibility of regulatory infractions. For the buyer transparency also means more clarity about the terms and conditions surrounding the purchase of goods or services. Other concerns involve problems of price, provenance or manipulation.

Imagine if a collector buys a work without knowing if it is authenticated because this isn't mentioned, or it is mentioned but the information provided is incorrect ... there would certainly be problems and the customer would be very dissatisfied with his purchase.

The benefits of transparency for the art market

The purpose of this article is not to solve the big problems of the art market but rather to explain how transparency can help galleries increase their sales, especially in the online art market.

Price transparency

One of the key differences between the art market and other markets is that the price of products sold (so the artworks) is not always easily accessible. Many galleries do not display any prices and for new collectors this gives a very elitist and closed image of the art world.

By displaying the prices, there will be fewer obstacles for the collector who will feel reassured to know immediately whether or not the artwork is in his budget. This is especially important online where customers expect to see all the prices displayed as this is the norm for e-commerce websites. Moreover, in order to fully instill confidence in the buyers it is very important that the prices are the same as those in the gallery.

Details, details and more details !

If you sell artwork online, you have to be transparent and clear with all the details of the artwork to facilitate the purchase. Include information about the signature, the certificate of authenticity, the biography of the artist, the artist's exhibitions and describe the work and the techniques used to complement what the collector can see in the photo.

All these details will allow the collector to make an informed decision and feel more reassured when they decide to make the purchase.

In conclusion

A more transparent art market would make it easier for collectors starting out to participate more easily in the art world and encourage compliance with art market laws and regulations.

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