Yesterday, the high-profile art startup Artsy launched a free auction results service that pops up when a user examines a work of art on the website. The results show what similar pieces have sold for at auction, and go back 10 years.
New York, October 16, 2013–Artsy announces Auction Results, a new feature that matches a work of art with similar works sold at auction through the use of smart technology. Now, a vast database of auction listings including the latest sales will be publicly searchable for free on Artsy.net and the ArtsyiPhone app. The launch of Auction Results is another stepping stone in Artsy’s mission to make the art world accessible to everyone by combining art expertise and science.Developed by Artsy engineers and art specialists, Auction Results utilizes the similarity technology that is the basis of Artsy’s Art Genome Project, an ongoing study to map the characteristics (known as ‘genes’) that connect the world’s artists and artworks. On Artsy, when a user views an artwork by an artist for which there is auction data available, an “Auction Results” link will lead to a list of comparable sales of similar works by that artist sold at auction, including pricing information. At any point, users have the opportunity to connect with an Artsy specialist to discuss specific auction results or inquiries.The technology takes into account numerous characteristics to make the most relevant matches, such as nuanced interpretations of medium, year, dimensions, and other factors that are important in determining the price of a work of art. The result is an unprecedented tool that is the first to use an algorithm to generate comparable sales at scale. Auction Results can compare an artwork with a hundreds of thousands of auction listings in an instant, utilizing the most-up-to-the-minute sales data available from over 300 auction houses. Currently, the Artsy technology has access to over one million individual auction lots dating back to as far as ten years.Artsy’s Auction Results tool is now available in an experimental beta phase and will continue to improve in accuracy as well as scope as its search capabilities are broadened and refined. Eventually an even greater range of characteristics of an artwork, including factors such as provenance, will be incorporated within the searches.“The new Auction Results feature leverages Artsy’s unique technology to give our users dead-simple, no-cost access to relevant auction results,” says Sebastian Cwilich, President and COO at Artsy. “We aim to provide comprehensive information about art, spanning educational aspects to the market. To this end, developing an auction data tool complements existing features on Artsy, including our database of over 60,000 artworks from galleries, foundations, museums, and major art fairs; 6000+ artist bios, in-depth editorial coverage of major art world events, personal advisement from Artsy’s specialists, and direct introductions to our gallery partners.”
(Josh Kushner, who sits on the board of the Observer Media Group, is a major investor in Artsy.)