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Build your own collection through Artsy.

Thousands of websites offer art information. Artsy ( is unique not only because it provides a database of more than 250,000 art, architecture, and design images by more than 30,000 artists but also because it facilitates buying artwork to start or add to your own collection. Featuring works from the world's leading galleries, museums, art fairs, and auctions, Artsy offers the largest online database of contemporary art as well as educational resources spanning a wide range of art history.

Making Art More Accessible

On his LinkedIn profile, Artsy founder and CEO Carter Cleveland says, "In a sentence, Artsy is like Pandora for the fine art world. Our goal: using Artificial Intelligence, we want to make the traditionally closed-off and intimidating art world easily accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. We believe that by increasing access, we can expand the market and get more people educated, excited, and passionate about fine art."

Cleveland lists 2008 as the year he started working on Artsy. Today, the site's team, which is headquartered in New York, includes president and CEO Sebastian Cwilich, a former executive at Christie's auction house and Haunch of Venison gallery. Artsy's specialists and gallery liaisons are located in Los Angeles, Munich, Berlin, London, and Hong Kong.

The Artsy website is built on The Art Genome Project, a technological framework and classification system based on the identification of more than 1,000 artwork characteristics, including subject matter, historical movement, and formal qualities. A simple keyword box lets you search Artsy for specific works, artists, or movements. There's also a Browse page as well as Artists, Galleries, Fairs, Auctions, and Education pages.

Educational resources include biographies of more than 5,000 historically important or contemporary artists. You can zoom in on most of their works, and the site also provides 26,000 free high-resolution images of art and architecture. Many out-of-copyright images--including photos of such iconic works as the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt and Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper--are available through a Download Image button.

Artsy maintains teams of art historians and journalists. The historians are creating an expanding resource that covers art worldwide. The journalists report on current events, including hundreds of major gallery and museum exhibitions, art fairs, and biennials.

Building Your Own Collection

You don't buy artwork directly from Artsy. You visit the page for a particular work on the site and send a message to the gallery or institution that's offering the piece for sale. You can ask about such details as pricing and shipping. Art available through the site ranges from about $100 to more than $1 million.

Whether you're an experienced collector or you're buying your first piece, Artsy's specialists are just a click away. They can help you find works that fit your interests and budget. These specialists join Artsy from auction houses, galleries, and museums, and--through an international network of galleries--they can even find works that aren't listed on the website. There's no charge for consulting with a specialist.

Art fair previews are an especially popular feature on the site. Previews are available for such major fairs as Art Basel, ArtRio, NADA, Frieze, The Armory Show, IFPDA, ZONA MACO, and Design Miami. Artsy lets you preview works that exhibitors will bring to a fair, ask about specific pieces, and view special content, such as Insider's Picks.

You also can sign up for email alerts about new works, openings, and other news by "following" specific artists, galleries, and museums. Artsy even offers an iPhone app that not only lets you explore and collect art via your phone but also serves as a customized guide to the art fairs featured on the site.

Thomas Pack is a freelance writer who lives near Louisville, Ky. Send your comments about this article to
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Title Annotation:LiTe byte
Author:Pack, Thomas
Publication:Information Today
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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