When I was in London in June, I happened upon an exhibition called "Every Object Tells a Story", the collection of Oliver Hoare. Opening the cover of the
catalogue, there is this quote: "the universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." (Eden Phillpots, "A Shadow Passes", 1919.)
I reference the exhibition and the quote to remind me of what it is about our business that is different from all other businesses. For many of us, our job is
to enlighten those people who wish to see more but need a guide of some sort. That is our business.
I was quite literally assailed by a member of the AADLA (Art and Antique Dealers League of America) a month or so ago who called to complain that 1stDibs had
removed his contact information from the goods he had listed on the site. He was upset stating that these objects he sells are his, not the property of 1stDibs.
When he called to complain, they explained to him that it was an experiment and, indeed, depending on which server you used to access 1stDibs, the
information continued to be listed.
If dealers want to sell anonymously, that is their business. Sites like 1stDibs will serve them well. But, in my opinion, you might just as well be retailing
with bowling balls or radial tires at that point. It is the story that I buy when I purchase an antique and that is what I sell. I want to open my clients'
eyes to see what I see. Personal connections are necessary. So, for my part, since I must use the internet to sell, no longer having a gallery, my choice is
to use sites that promote me and allow me to interact with potential buyers.
All the best,
President of CINOA