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Contemporary art sells online, confirm enthused VIP Art Fair organisers

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The inaugural ‘Viewing in Private’ international contemporary online Art Fair – known as the VIP Art Fair –is being hailed a success by participating galleries, including White Cube in London, David Zwirner in New York, and Galerie Max Hetzler in Berlin.

Many of the 138 participating contemporary art galleries, from 30 countries and exhibiting works by more than 2,200 artists, reported significant sales and direct contact with new clients throughout the nine-day event, held at the end of January.

The site – – attracted 41,000 collectors and art lovers from 196 countries, and enthusiasm for the event is being taken as confirmation that the world is very much ready for online art sales.

“The galleries showed leadership and courage in joining VIP Art Fair to launch a new global paradigm for art conversation, exposure and commerce,” said James Cohan, co-founder of VIP Art Fair with Jane Cohan, Jonas Almgren and Alessandra Almgren. “The event brought together a diverse international audience who collectively viewed more than 7.65 million artworks. On these measures alone, our inaugural effort confirmed the value and potential of this model. We look forward to working with our galleries in expanding the platform for next year’s VIP Art Fair 2.0.”

The David Zwirner gallery in New York sold the sculpture Mary Magdalene (Infinity) (2006) by Chris Offili for between $250,000 and $500,000 USD; White Cube, London sold Christian Marclay’s Sound Holes (2007) in the price range of $50,000 and $100,000 USD; and John Berggruen Gallery sold a painting by Beatriz Milhazes for between $100,000 and $250,000 USD.

The site’s VIP Lounge offered behind-the-scenes videos of artists sharing their creative process, as well as leading art collectors who gave video tours of their private residences. Visitors viewed these videos more than 14,000 times.

Unfortunately a planned VIP Art Fair chat feature, allowing online dialogue between galleries and interested collectors, was discontinued as it slowed down the performance of the website, said the organisers. “However we are re-designing the chat feature and plan to re-launch it for the next VIP Art Fair, as we continue to feel it will revolutionize conversations about collecting art online,” said co-founder Jane Cohan.

  • More than 2,000 artworks on display were viewed over 7.65 million times throughout the VIP Art Fair.

  • Artworks were zoomed into more than 420,000 times,

  • Individual artists’ pages were viewed more than 42,000 times and artwork descriptions were read more than 45,000 times.

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