Ebay to launch online art venture
This is the internet giant’s third attempt to enter the art market
By Charlotte Burns. Web only
Published online: 05 December 2013
Ebay plans to launch an online venture that will focus on fine art. The New York-based art adviser Josh Baer, who publishes the art industry newsletter, the Baer Faxt, is acting as a consultant on the project.
The president of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda, announced on Wednesday that he is leaving the school to work for a venture capital firm as well as consulting for eBay. The move follows the launch in August of an online art marketplace by its rival Amazon.
This will be Ebay’s third attempt to enter the art market, and comes a decade after the collapse of its joint venture with Sotheby’s. The California-based internet company first dipped its toes in the art trade during the dot.com boom when it acquired Butterfields auction house in 1999 for $260m in stock. It sold the company for a fraction of the price to Bonhams Auctioneers in 2002. Since then, online art companies have mushroomed, though there is no clear leader in the field.
Ebay and Baer declined to comment.
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