Why I Started An Online Art Gallery By Robert Berry, Founder, Robert Berry Gallery
After 15 years working in New York City’s vibrant art world, I decided to open Robert Berry Gallery as a virtual exhibition space where artists could create amazing exhibitions where the only limitation is their own imagination.
Great art can change your life for the better, and everyone should have art in their homes that they fall in love with day in and day out. As founder of Robert Berry Gallery, I developed a passion for art that started when I was a kid. I first saw Jackson Pollock’s famous Autumn Rhythm at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and that was the painting that changed everything for me. It was that moment when I was inspired to pursue a career in the arts. As a teenager I would walk around New York City, and put extra emphasis on visiting all the Chelsea galleries discovering new art.
I started my own gallery to exhibit and work with artists that I believe in. I wanted to tell their stories, and also have control of the artistic vision of the gallery. My vision for Robert Berry Gallery is to find the best artists in their respective mediums, and I want to find the right collector for every work that my artists create. Whether it’s abstraction, figurative, sculpture, painting, or photography, with price points that are accessible, from first-time buyers all the way up to experienced collectors.
All the artists I represent are personally vetted by me, and my education and experience in the field of contemporary art lead me to seek out the artists that inspire me. I know that when I love something, I’m sure that clients will too. I want to create a positive art experience for my clients.
There are hundreds of galleries in New York City, but almost no virtual galleries. A virtual gallery allows the collector to experience the artwork and gallery from anywhere in the world. It runs like a gallery with monthly exhibitions, connecting artists to collectors, but all the exhibitions will be done digitally. As a burgeoning entrepreneur, key benefits of an online business are that there is lower overhead, and I’m able to do much more with less. In a digital gallery, my artists can promote their visions thoroughly, more clearly, and without worrying about limitations, such as shipping expenses, production costs, and logistics. The only limitation an artist has for their show is their own imagination.
People are increasingly comfortable buying things online, and art is no exception. It’s a lot easier to buy something online than it was the past. Most individuals don’t want to deal with all the cold, unreceptive sales staff in a bricks-and-mortar setting, and attending art fairs can be daunting not to mention time-consuming. People often tell me that they are overwhelmed by the enormous size of the fairs, and how many people, artists, and dealers using high-pressure sales tactics. The experience of collecting should be fun and enriching, unimpeded by these factors.
In the early days people would discover art though popular culture, and word-of-mouth, but would still have to physically go to a gallery to inquire about owning the art. Several companies started bringing art online in the late nineties, but none of them got it right. Fast forward to 2020, customers are used to buying everything online — designer clothes, antiques, jewelry, watches — and they are also getting more comfortable with discovering new artists, and acquiring artwork online.
Back in the early and mid 2010s I was hosting pop-up exhibitions around New York City with a rotating roster of artists, and a hefty commercial lease was daunting for an entrepreneur focused on promoting emerging and mid-career artists. Over the past few years, the art world has started to transition to online sales and is dedicating staff to these platforms. This means away from the art fairs, and more importantly, away from the physical gallery. I decided to open my own art gallery, but instead of spending tens of thousands on rent, my artists would be able to create virtual exhibitions without any physical or financial limitations.
I’ve always trusted my eyes when looking at any artwork, and I know what I can sell versus what I can’t. Believing in the artists I represent is something that is crucial to my business. I’ve known most of them for five or ten years, so there is a significant level of trust built up already.
Over the years, in addition to working full-time at art galleries, I sold art on the side, made studio visits with artists for fun, and am always going to art fairs, museums, and galleries. Starting my own gallery was the natural next step.
My first show, featuring Chicago artist John Ruby’s paintings, and a few other works by some of the others artists, have already been shipped to their new homes around the world. It’s all about connecting the right artwork to the right collector. My business will grow and evolve over time, but the mission will always be to offer the world’s greatest best artists and artworks.
With a loyal client base built up over 15 years, an amazing group of artists, and the best PR agent money could buy, I look forward to sharing unique and best-in-class art with the world.
I often work with new and experienced collectors, museums and cultural institutions, as well as corporate groups. Contact me at www.robertberrygallery.com. I would love to hear from you, and help you build the right art collection for you.