Friday Memoirs – To Be or Not To Be – Galleries

1f912-stormclouds01cThe Calm Before The Storm
©2011 Dave Casey
18×24″ – oil on canvas panel
Daily Paintworks Gallery to Buy

I was just reading a column written by Jack White, over at the FineArtViews website and he was talking about the future of art galleries.  Or should I say, the lack of future for art galleries.  There have been many that have blogged and editorialized about the coming demise of art galleries, but I think the reports of their deaths have been greatly exaggerated.

I think galleries will still be with us for a while. Buying one of my paintings, which are mostly small in size, is not too hard to do over the internet. It’s pretty easy to get a good sense of a 6×6″ or 8×10″ painting from good, quality photos on the web.  If I post a good picture of one of my paintings, you can be pretty sure of what you are going to be buying.

But, how does one get a feeling for a 60×84″ painting over the net? Let’s take Scott Christensen for example. His large landscapes can sell for $50,000 or more. How many people will be willing to drop that kind of money for a large painting, sight unseen? The only people I can think of that would do it are SC collectors, who already own some of his work, or those who have seen his work in person. These buyers know what they are going to be receiving, even without seeing the new painting in person.  The only others I can think of would be those buying strictly off Scott’s reputation, which is quite well deserved I might add.  A lot of those buyers would just receive the painting, box it up and stick in storage for years.

But most other buyers are going to want to see a piece in person. They are going to want to feel the texture of the paint and see the shadows the peaks create under gallery lighting. In short, they are going to want to see and feel what it is they are buying and this is an experience that only a gallery or a visit to the artist’s studio can provide.  It is quite one thing to see a large painting on your computer monitor, than to see it in person, where you would have to stand back at least twenty feet to take it all in.  You can see Monet’s water lily paintings on the web and on YouTube, but you can’t really experience them unless you are standing in the Musée de l’Orangerie, surrounded by them.

Besides, I love a leisurely afternoon visit to a top class gallery, like Legacy in Scottsdale. I enjoy these visits, where I can spend as much or as little time as I want viewing, in person, hundreds of paintings by dozens of artists. Visiting a great gallery can be just as uplifting and inspiring as visiting a world class museum.

So no, I don’t think galleries are going to be going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon.  I will agree though that they do need to step into the 21st century with the rest of us and figure out how to make the internet work for them.  Those that don’t, will be closing their doors in the not too distant future.  And that will be a sad thing indeed.

About D Glenn Casey

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