Are Pierce Brosnan and High-Profile Collectors Really Using Instagram to Buy Art?

Brosnan, a known art lover, posing with Marc Newson's Lockheed Lounge at Phillips, London Photo: @piercebrosnanofficial via Instagram


Photo: Instagram/@piercebrosnanofficial.

Photo: Instagram/@piercebrosnanofficial.

The New York Times has finally caught on to a little trend we discovered almost two years ago: collectors—many of them high profile—using Instagram to purchase art from galleries and auction houses.

What took the Grey Lady so long to catch on to this wonderfully democratizing trend? We’re unsure, but we do know that it was one Pierce Brosnan who exposed the world of social media sales, which is hidden in plain sight.

In late April, Brosnan visited the showroom of Phillips auction house in London and posed for a quick photo in front of designer Marc Newson’s Lockheed Lounge, which he then posted to his Instagram account along with the caption “let the bidding commence.”

Later that week, the auction house broke the world record for a design object, selling the work for an impressive $3.7 million.

“It’s hard to make a direct correlation between Pierce Instagramming us and the world record, but certainly it made the lounger more desirable,” Megan Newcome, director of digital strategy for Phillips, told the Times.

Sure, it’s a bit of a different story than the Instagram art sales legends we’ve heard in the past—such as the one where Leonardo DiCaprio spotted Jean-Pierre Roy’s painting, Nachlass (2015) at a Copenhagen gallery. He reportedly used the social media app during PULSE art fair and contacted them to purchase the piece (which, it’s worth noting, his art advisor Lisa Schiff denies happened in the Times article).

The painting Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly purchased via Instagram: Jean-Pierre Roy, Nachlass (2015).

The painting Leonardo DiCaprio allegedly purchased via Instagram: Jean-Pierre Roy, Nachlass (2015).

But the gist of the story is the same: in a highly visual sector like the contemporary art world, images sell. And where better to find beautiful, curated, filtered images than Instagram?

“When you see something on Instagram that’s hanging in a gallery somewhere and you want to acquire it, you can instantly call up the gallery,” auctioneer and man-about-town Simon de Pury told the Times. “I’m sure that a number of transactions are taking place as a result of works being shown on Instagram.”

While Schiff denies that collectors would deign to use Instagram to buy artworks, uber-collector Anita Zabludowicz cops to having used the app on multiple occasions to scope out potential purchases, especially from emerging artists.

“Instagram for me is one of the most important social media channels as it is the quickest way to absorb visual information, however shallow,” she said.

For related coverage, see:

10 Tips for Promoting Yourself (and Your Art) on Instagram

Ways of Seeing Instagram

Richard Prince Steals More Instagram Photographs and Sells Them for $100,000

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