Saatchi Online Launches Fine Art Marketplace –

bruce livingstone Saatchi Online Launches Fine Art Marketplace

bruce livingstone

Since being relaunched in Beta mode almost five months ago, the new incarnation of Saatchi Online has already attracted almost ninety thousand artists from all over the world.  Based in LA and with a dedicated staff of 16, the new incarnation of the Saatchi Online gallery site means business – as does Bruce Livingstone, the Canadian entrepreneur and former founder of istockphoto who has been tasked with ensuring the new Saatchi Online is a success.   Having spent many happy hours browsing through the work of many talented artists on the old site, when I was asked to be the first person to interview Bruce about the redeveloped site and the new features that are about to be unveiled, I was more than happy to oblige.  Although full details of the new features will not be officially revealed until mid March during the Scope Art Fair, Bruce has allowed me to give readers of this blog a taste of what is to come.  Instead of trotting out the traditional structured interview, I thought it would be more beneficial to outline the reasons that, after talking to Bruce, I think make Saatchi Online well worth being a part of.  So, here are my top 5 reasons for joining Saatchi Online:

1.       Online Marketplace:  Members of Saatchi Online will already be aware that artists will soon be able to sell their work on the site.  What you perhaps didn’t know, and what will make the marketplace so attractive to artists and buyers, is that Saatchi Online will organise payment, will organise shipping of the work to the buyer AND will offer the buyer a seven day money back guarantee.  This means that the artist doesn’t have to be worried about organising payment or shipping, and that the buyer can purchase any work from the site with the knowledge that if it isn’t what they expected they can send it back within seven days.   If you are thinking that all these great features will result in a smaller portion of the sale price ending up with the artist, think again.  According to the Saatchi Online people, artists selling through Saatchi Online receive the highest commission ever paid in the online art industry at 70 percent.

2.       Social Networking Tools:  Bruce was adamant that he didn’t want to limit the scope of interaction by creating an environment where the types of works that members were exposed to were dictated by profiles and statistics. Instead, a social networking system will be put in place where members can create networks and share their journey of discovery with fellow members in an open and interactive environment.  Think twitter for the art world.

3.       Showdown Competition:  Showdown is a fee-free visual “head-to-head” competition. The winners of the Showdown competitions receive a cash prize and a spot in the Saatchi Gallery in London or are featured at SCOPE International Art Fairs.  The opportunity to actually exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in London or at an international art fair is something any artist would love to have.  This interaction with the “real” art world is a unique feature of the Saatchi Online site.

4.       Charles Saatchi: Any association with Charles Saatchi has to be a huge positive for a website.  It is good to know that Charles Saatchi is still a majority shareholder in Saatchi Online and that Bruce has regular contact with him.

5.       Collections: One of my favourite features of the site is the featured collections area.  Featured collections allows members to create collections of works from the works that artists have submitted to the site. Allowing members to curate their own space gives those members who are not artists the chance to be creative and gives the artists whose work is chosen to be in the spaces a bit of extra exposure.  Brilliant !!

Finally, I would like to provide a quote from Bruce that I think sums up his vision for Saatchi Online:

“People crave a sense of community with those who share their passions, their obsessions and even their trials. Saatchi Online will be home to art lovers and artists everywhere. I fully expect several of the art luminaries of the next century to be discovered here first.”  – Bruce Livingstone

To check out the new Saatchi Online go to

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications

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  • Isabella Gabriel Niang

    It would be grateful for contemporary art.

    I wish Saatchi a lot of success and a very good organisation.

    Best greetings from Berlin.

  • Alberto

    There is a social network for artists already since 2007, which has won the mashable open web award in 2008 as the best social networking application, called

    But bruce livingstone was def the right choice to revitalise the saatchi page!

  • Stuart Ridley London Artist

    This is so exciting. I look forward to its launch.
    Many thanks
    Stuart Ridley
    London Artist

  • Chris Barlow

    There are already quite a lot of similar sites like this. The only problem that I’ve encountered talking to hundreds of artists recently is that online sites are just too big and artists get swallowed up. Ironically, the sites make it very hard for artists to be contacted “outside” of the site for other opportunities too. How can an artist really have control and develop an ongoing buying relationship with a client like this? Am I right in thinking that they take 30% commission out of the sale price too? I think that is still high for what is a digital space. If there are around 90,000 artists on the site, the chances of getting spotted and selling are quite low. Have you ever trawled through just 2000 artists on a social networking site for research purposes? Things get blurry after 200. And only certain types of work will sell online so it will be quite limited. Like a lot of these social networking sites, including art focussed ones, the money is made in selling advertising space. It’s not about the art or artists, but about website interest and hits, as that is where the profit lies.

    • Stuart Ridley London Artist

      Hi Chris,
      Yes, you are right about a lot of what you say, but many artists globally can be contacted outside any art site by a “serious” collector just by googleing the artists name.
      What I think is incredibly exciting about the new formate of selling via Saatchi Online is the buyers (people with a limited budget to buy art, but are none the less art lovers, and want to possess today’s art) can buy quality art reproductions prints from Saatchi Online. I am more than happy to accept 70% of the profit, as I do not have to have the hassle of processing and posting my framed reproduction print myself. I sell a fair amount of reproduction prints of my own art creations more than I sell my originals,which helps to pay my bills.
      Kind regards
      Sometimes Starving Artist
      Stuart Ridley

    • Matthew Felix Sun

      @Chris – I totally sympathize with your sentiment. The website, Saatchi or other similar ones, are wonderful to showcase artists works, however, to be spotted amongst the huge amount of work is very difficult. Joining the network, is only the first step. It requires constant care. It is exhausting and artists would rather not to “waste” time on that. But, art making, unfortunately is business and artists are fools not to work in the business end. I was able to sell several paintings due to web presence – did not sold online directly, but buyer found me online. However, they found me either through gallery site or my personal site. Frustrating but a must. Pick no more than five sites and really work on it. 30% commission is about average, I’ll say.

      Matthew Felix Sun

  • Hans Heiner Buhr

    Selling art online never took of. We still wait for the big rocking Online Art Market! Maybe it is the right time now. There is a bright future for art selling online, but so far nobody succeeded to do it right. It should be bundled with a social network, like with Facebook and pages, so that one could follow the favorite artists easily. The new Saatchi Online looks great so far. Best regards, Hans

  • Archibald

    90,000 artists? Swimming in a sea of artists is not exactly the best way to sell art online. The problem is with social art sites like this is that they focus on growth to the point that artists end up feeling lost and buyers end up frustrated during searches. It has a powerful name attached to it, but names are not everything when it comes to a site. The one name artists should think about with a website is their own. Call me old hat, but a personal website should be the frontline of an artists goal of selling art online. They should attract buyers on Saatchi Online, but direct them to their own site.

  • Pati Springmeyer

    What about 18% commission. zero commission and you pay a small monthly fee for your gallery.
    Does anyone use these?

  • Andrea

    I like what Bruce and Saatchi are doing for fine art. We’ll see how it sells online.

    My favorite new site is PurePhoto ( They launched the exact same thing for photography. It has all the social networking features – I can follow artists and learn about their work – and easily buy any prints they’ve made available for purchase. I’ve bought several and the quality and service is great.

  • Frank Steineck

    this is all great to know. One thing I experienced here throughout the years is, that visibility is neglectable with this approach for an individuals artist. So I have left only a few images hanging around there; you never know. Presenting artists has not gotten anywhere beyond what counted since the beginning: Your own homepage, which is the only way to control any building of relevance in your targeted audience. There is no better way to have your potential collectors find you at all.

  • http://iusesaatchiandbrushspace charles santopadre

    Im getting old

  • wall paintings

    Thank you for letting us know about this art websites. I hope it would be more successful.

  • Meg

    I love that this transition to an online art market not only makes great pieces accessible to everyone, but it supports artists and creates communities. It’s a win-win situation. Thought this was interesting and relevant to this article:

  • Stefan Dowsing

    I have just joined Saatchi Online (July 11th). I am interested to see just how it goes. For now I have a website called and I am developing that myself as a place to find out about my art. The print facility on Saatchi Online looks pretty good so, I will try it out.

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