Fine Art Estates Disrupting the Art Buying Process

The startup founded by Dallas art gallery owner Kevin Vogel uses a pricing system that breaks away from the traditional art auction model. Through its app, augmented reality allows users to see how an artwork would look in their own space.

Fine Art Estates

Six years ago, Kevin Vogel, an experienced Dallas art gallery owner, received the news that a dear family friend had passed away from cancer.

The estate, which contained numerous works of art, was left for her husband to manage. At a loss for what to do, her husband called Vogel and asked “What do I do with all this art?” Even after working in the art industry all his life, Vogel didn’t have an answer. 

“[That question] started me on a quest to figure out how I could help people like this,” Vogel told Dallas Innovates

Kevin Vogel owns Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Dallas and recently started Fine Art Estates.

FINE ART ESTATES LOOKING TO EXPAND BEYOND TEXAS

For the past five and a half years, he worked to develop Fine Art Estates, a startup dedicated to selling art that would otherwise go forgotten in estate sales. The venture officially launched last November. 

“My goal is to offer the professional artists the ability to start selling off these assets and turn the money over rather than the art.”

Kevin Vogel

“What normally happens with an artist is that they generally are not thinking about the future, they don’t think about what’s going to happen with the artwork after they’re gone…. My goal is to offer the professional artists the ability to start selling off these assets and turn the money over rather than the art,” Vogel said.

Currently, the Dallas-based company’s main market is Texas; however, Vogel hopes to expand out of state soon.

After taking over Dallas’s Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden from his father in the early 1990s, Vogel began making connections with credible art dealers across the state. Now, many of those dealers work for FAE as area representatives who connect people wishing to sell art to the Dallas startup.

STARTUP USES ORIGINAL SALE PRICE AS STARTING POINT

The FAE business model allows clients to contact the local representative, who then evaluates the artwork, and puts it up for sale on the website and app. The dealers are responsible for ensuring authenticity and setting a price range. Vogel’s long-term goal is to have a dealer in every mid-sized American city. 

The price range is normally set at the same price the piece of art was originally sold. The longer the artwork goes unsold, the dealer can choose to lower the price at set increments until it is sold. This system, which directly contrasts the traditional art auction method of starting with a low price then working up, is unique to FAE. Vogel has dubbed it the Serrace Sales System; a system he claims other art selling companies have slowly started to adopt due to its flexibility and transparency. Artnet News described FAE as the possible “eBay of the art world.”

This innovative system has allowed the company to flourish, and develop other new concepts. Customers can now access FAE via an IOS app. The app allows customers to browse artwork and read about the respective artists. Additionally, prospective buyers can use the app’s augmented reality tool to virtually see how the piece of art would look in their home, office, etc. before they purchase the item. 

As detailed on the FAE website, people can print off a target and tape it to the area of the wall they would place the painting. Then, as the phone’s camera captures the target, the FAE app places the artwork on the wall to create a realistic image of what the room could potentially look like with the artwork. Since the majority of FAE clients are interior designers, Vogel says, this technology will greatly help them in the decorative process. 

“The idea is to sell the art, not sit there and hang on to it for 15 years. The idea is to provide a place for people to find quality artwork at fair prices,” Vogel said.

 

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