Danielle Rahm’s article, “The Real Risks of Buying Fine Art in Amazon’s New Online Art Marketplace”(2013) asserts Amazon Art’s flawed online system lacks necessary details and clarity making purchases unreliable and more challenging. Rahm backs up her claim by outlining important information provided at traditional auctions like condition, history, and evidence authenticity then describing transactions missing the information, whether intentional or not, on Amazon Art. The purpose of this article is to clarify the dangers of purchasing art online in order to advise consumers to be cautious of every fine art purchase because the website may be misleading or even fraudulent. Since Rahm writes from the view of a customer and art appraiser and offers advice for making the purchase more dependable her audience would be fine art collectors, online sellers, and art market website developers.
I agree with Rahm’s point of view, when it comes to artwork purchases, transparency is key. I enjoy her argument mainly because she is not attacking all online art markets she even acknowledges that they have wonderful advantages over the traditional format like a non-judgmental atmosphere, high accessibility, and an easier buying experience. Thus, the only problem is how do you know a seller is not taking advantage of you, especially if you are new to the collecting scene? I realize Rahm specifically targets Amazon, but I think this article implies something even larger. If a well-known and trusted website like Amazon is underdeveloped allowing counterfeit works to slip through the cracks then their might be even more questionable sites out there. I recently read another article on this topic in The New York Times that states many online art sellers take advantage of the Internet market by placing misleading descriptions and images to sell counterfeit works. Previously, my research led me to believe most online art sites were reputable, Ledor and Masterworks, requiring an extensive amount of information from certificate of authenticity to the exact width of paper the art was created on. This makes me wonder how often counterfeit sites exist? Moreover, what kind of impact is this having on the art community? The article above only deals with famous artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, so is this a huge concern for new artists in the field? I would presume not, but perhaps copyright infringement is easier to get away with when no one cares to check. As always, there is more research to do.
Rahm, Danielle. “The Real Risks of Buying Fine Art in Amazon’s New Online Art Marketplace.” Forbes. Forbes Lifestyle, 13 August 2013. Web. 1 March 2016.
Image: The Technium