PSSST--WANT TO BUY A PAINTing? No need to go to a gallery. Now, you can use a computer to browse through 50,000 artworks, make a bid, and seal the purchase, all without ever leaving your seat. It's all thanks to the HoniCorp Art View System, an on-line art market that is the brainchild of Ken Nahan, proprietor of the Nahan Art Galleries of New York, New Orleans, and Tokyo.
The network, which will be marketed by Nahan's newly formed HoniCorp, gives tiny galleries and independent dealers the chance to offer their works around the world or in just a few select markets and gives them access to the works of other dealers. Each subscriber gets a Macintosh or PowerPC terminal linked by a private network to a central server in New York. Showing digitized color images on high-resolution monitors, the system presents the artwork in such detail that even the brush strokes are visible, says Douglas C. Scott, HoniCorp's acting president.
Artworks can be selected by artist, subject, price range, medium, or a variety of other criteria, and the viewer can call up information on the artist as well. Scott says 40 dealers have signed up for the network, which is scheduled to go live in early 1995. Each subscriber pays $1,200 a month for the service, plus Honi-Corp takes a 10% commission on any sale using the network.