Despite this, Tunick is confident in the opportunities the internet offers the category. He said transitioning his business online has been a “welcome challenge,” and that Old Masters works have become more accessible than ever because of high-resolution image sharing and Zoom capabilities. He pointed out that since his business moved almost entirely online because of the pandemic, he has still been able to achieve significant sales every month since March. While some older buyers are hesitant to make use of online viewing rooms or email inquiries, the vast majority of clients have embraced the expansive possibilities of the internet.
As technology continues to advance and tastes continue to change, the Old Masters category will continue to adapt. From private and cross-category sales to virtual viewings and Zoom meetings, the tactics will constantly update, but the works will remain timeless.
“Selling ‘pre-contemporary’ art online will never be as straightforward as selling studio-fresh artworks,” Mackay said. “There are too many physical nuances that are impossible to convey on a screen. However, these platforms prove a great starting point for conversations.”