It makes sense for art buyers to find out everything they possibly can before they buy a work and add to their collection. MasterArt has developed a number of applications that enable collectors to identify top quality, learn more about art, and remain abreast of trends in the art market. MasterArt’s innovations include an online database of art, antiques and design available from over three hundred reputable international dealers, a digital library of art catalogues, and virtual tours of the most important fairs. The organization provides a quality label for art and brings together collectors, traders and art experts.
Henry Blundell founded MasterArt in Brussels in 2012. His ArtSolution company developed software applications and websites for the art world and Blundell worked closely with the organizers of major art fairs such as TEFAF Maastricht, the Paris Biennale and Masterpiece in London. He realized that collectors had a need for a quality mark for top art galleries.
‘Many reputable auctioneers had good online information about their offerings, but the rest of the market was lagging behind. There was no international overview, particularly for art at the highest level. You had to search each and every gallery website in order to find a particular work or artist,’ he explains. MasterArt set up a network of the best art dealers and created a single online database with details of thousands of objects.
The three hundred selected MasterArt dealers come from twenty countries and are represented at important international art fairs, where their works are subjected to rigorous vetting. ‘MasterArt.com gives access to more than 17,000 artworks, all of the finest quality,’ continues Blundell. ‘Whether you are looking for Rodin, Cartier or Charlotte Perriand, our database lets you search by keyword, category, artist or gallery.’ Don Carlos Montero de Alba from Madrid collects antique weapons. ‘MasterArt enables me to monitor my special field and locate the countries where the objects I’m looking for can be found. The selection is made for me, and I know who I’m doing business with,’ he says.
There are two sides to the coin. The MasterArt site successfully attracts over 30,000 unique visitors a month. More than half visit a gallery, museum or art fair every month, and a quarter do so every week. Eighteen percent of MasterArt.com users earn over one million US dollars a year and fifty percent buy art, on average about four times a year. Dealers establish new contacts through MasterArt, and sometimes this leads to sales. Blundell does not believe that the internet will take over the role of exhibitions and fairs. ‘The internet is not competition for the art trade as we know it. It’s simply a way to communicate.’ He advises interested art buyers to go and see an artwork for themselves. ‘Contact the dealer and make sure you get properly briefed. You have to be confident that this is the work you’ve chosen.’
MasterArt participates in leading international art fairs—TEFAF Maastricht, BRAFA in Brussels, Fine Art Asia Hong Kong, Masterpiece London, PAM Monaco, Cologne Fine Art and PAN Amsterdam. Visitors to the opening days of these and other fairs receive a copy of the MasterArt Directory of the World’s Leading Art and Antique Dealers. It contains an overview of the most important art and antique dealers as well as a calendar of events.
Blundell and his team find out about the news and views of international collectors and gallery owners and managers at these fairs. ‘That’s how the idea for the MasterArt Catalogues iPad app came about. It’s a digital library with over a hundred and fifty gallery publications that are normally reserved exclusively for art dealers’ customers.
More information at www.masterart.com.