Art market commission rip off is over, says Artplode CEO


Maureen McCarthy

The days of paying commission to sell art are over, according to Maureen McCarthy, founder and CEO of Artplode, a platform where art is traded direct between buyers and sellers all over the world.

The site has attracted millions of dollars in listings of artworks from sellers in more than 40 countries since it launched in August 2014. It allows everyone – artists, collectors, dealers and galleries – to list art for sale for a one-off fixed fee of $60 per artwork with no commission charged to either buyers or sellers.

Artplode was created by international art dealer McCarthy to meet a gap she identified in the art market and to give art collectors a low cost way to resell quality artworks.

McCarthy, who for 20 years was an agent for the publishing arm of the John Lennon estate, represents a number of dealers in works by masters including Monet, Picasso and Boccioni. She predicts Artplode will be a forerunner of the demise of auction houses that charge 40 percent or higher commission on sales and online art sales websites clinging to outmoded commission based business models.

She said that prominent galleries in the UK, US, Europe and Australia have embraced the site where works by collectible artists Banksy, Warhol and John Lennon are for sale alongside art by emerging artists who see value in marketing and selling their art alongside works by big names.

“The absurd rates of commission charged by auction houses to resell art, in some instances exceeding 50% of the hammer price has left many collectors looking for a better way to sell art,” McCarthy says.

McCarthy says there is no reason why artists or anyone else should pay online galleries commission to sell art.

“It is absolutely crazy that some websites are charging artists and collectors 30% or more in commission to sell their art online,” McCarthy says.

“Equally outrageous is the practice of some art sales websites requiring artists to sign exclusivity agreements where artists are prohibited from listing their art for sale anywhere else.”  McCarthy said she has doubts that this practice is even legal.

Her website was created to be easy to use for buyers and sellers. Sellers list information about the artwork, upload photographs, discuss questions directly with potential buyers and arrange payment and shipping the art themselves.

Art can be purchased on Artplode at prices beginning at $1000 to US$126,000 for Andy Warhol’s Marilyn 26 lithograph.

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