Online Sales Platform Offers Artists a Cut

Maxime Germain, Artlist head of product; Astrid de Maismont, head of sales; Kenneth Schlenker, CEO.
Photo courtesy Artlist.

ArtList, a new online art sales platform from the team that founded Gertrude, went live today after six months of beta testing. To announce themselves, ArtList threw a rowdy Christmas carnival back in December (see Dustin Yellin Got Naked at a Christmas Carnival), but the public hasn’t been free to explore the site until today. The question on the tip of everyone’s tongue, of course, is what makes ArtList any different from the myriad of other online art sales platforms that have sprung up over the past few years?

It turns out, quite a few things.

“It was coming from a place of ‘how do we make buying and selling on the secondary market not suck,’ basically,” CEO Kenneth Schlenker told artnet News.

This entails cultivating a peer-to-peer marketplace that eliminates the middleman and allows potential buyers and sellers to communicate on their own terms, outside of the auction-based model. It also entails allowing for the desired amount of anonymity between parties.

Sellers have a lot of privileges, including not having to be bound by an exclusivity agreement. They also have the option to list something without revealing the exact work they’re listing, instead choosing to share just the artist, series, and asking price. If a buyer is interested in one of these works, their profile and an introductory message must be approved by the seller before they can see the specific work in question. One such work, a sculpture by Dahn Vo from his series “We The People,” which is going for $400,000, is prominently displayed on the site.

The best part, however, is that artists and their estates get a cut—they receive half of the commission from each sale, which means 5% of the total sale goes straight to their pockets (this company would make Jerrold Nadler, the congressman behind the American Royalties Too Act proud). “We think it’s very important and very fair,” Schlenker said. So while the platform might be an art flipper’s dream, the company clearly has a soft spot for the people often overlooked amid the money madness that collecting has become.

ArtList currently has about $6 million worth of artwork for sale from a variety of artists including Yayoi Kusama, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Sam Falls, and Yves Klein.

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