Amazon Opens Fine Art Store (Wine and Cheese Not Included)

The Seattle megaretailer is crashing the fine art party

By Brangien Davis


August 6, 2013

Amazon Fine Art (beta) launched today, right on the heels of the gigantic news that Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post (not a copy of the newspaper, but the entire newspaper). The timing has many people fretting about Bezos becoming king of the world, but until that happens we might as well explore the new art offerings at Amazon.

The press release boasts 40,000+ artworks from more than 150 galleries, including three from Seattle: Linda Hodges, Catherine Person and Abmeyer + Wood. That translates to a bunch of Northwest artists whose work is now up for sale in front of a gazillion eyeballs. For example, Seattle artist Jennifer Beeden Snow’s cool pool painting ($1000; via Linda Hodges) or an intriguing tin tray painting-collage by local artist Deborah Faye Lawrence ($1890; via Catherine Person). 

In addition to plenty of affordable options (including a couple hundred works in the $250-$500 range), there are some impressively high-ticket offerings. Extreme Beatles fans might consider photographer Harry Benson’s archival print of the Fab Four having a pillow fight for $16,500 (plus $308 shipping). Those with a more Impressionistic bent can snap up an original Monet for $40K (plus $250 shipping). Prefer Pop Art? How ‘bout Andy Warhol’s 14”x14” screen print of flowers for $1,150,000 (plus $350 shipping)?

It’s hard to replicate the element of “discovery” in an online shopping environment, but if you establish some parameters (price range, medium, style), you can wander around inside them. Looking at the art by “subject” is perhaps the most akin to exploring an art fair—with all the associated pros and cons: “Animals” pulls up all manner of paintings and photos of goats, birds, bears and horses, but “Emotions” is a mysterious bag indeed, including an oil portrait of a Native American in full regalia, a vintage photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge and an illustration of a chicken next to the number 8. (Perhaps I’m not sufficiently in touch with my emotions to get the connection here. Or perhaps it’s a tagging issue.)

If you’re worried about how a piece will look in your home, click on the decidedly silly “in room” thumbnail to see it virtually hung on a large white wall, above a mod gray chair and a green cube ottoman. Don’t have a mod gray chair and a green cube ottoman? Well, you can probably buy those on Amazon too.


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