11 December 2006

The Dutch Golden Age, art markets and the Internet

Still life with cheese by Floris van Schooten

When the Dutch East India Company was established in 1602, the impact on global trade was massive -- similar to the internet's impact on trade today. The art world was changed forever.

The emergence of international trade on a broad scale also set the stage for the rise of a merchant class, who used their new income to buy large houses. They covered the walls of their new homes with art, and in so doing unleashed one of the biggest revolutions in art history.

Prior to this time, most artwork had been commissioned by the rich -- that is, by monarchs or churches, and most subject matter was either religious in nature, or served to exalt royal figures and aristocratic ideals.

But in the Golden Age of Dutch painting, still lives and domestic scenes took their place as worthy subjects for art. Painters like Rembrandt and Vermeer created wonderful paintings of apples and pears, home and hearth, feasts and wine and beer.

Today a similar market revolution is underway; one that threatens to turn the art world on its head. Artists and art collectors can now connect directly with each other, no matter where they are in the world.

Personally, I have decided to start a new blog where I'll sell my paintings by eBay auction, starting at 99 cents. The idea is to let the market decide, and let the market for my paintings evolve over time. If you're interested I hope you'll subscribe.

I am also excited to see how the paintings take on a life of their own, and hope collectors will share photos of how they chose to display the artwork in their personal environment.

In this thread, let's discuss the following questions:

1. What do you think is happening?

2. How will it impact you?

3. How can we work together to create a new art, for a new world?

4. What other thoughts do you have?

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