10 to Watch Winner 2024 – ArtRow

10 to Watch Winner 2024 - ArtRow
Principal Lara Tomaszewska. Photo By: Jeffrey Bosdet.

Sector: Fine art

Year launched: 2022

Principal: Lara Tomaszewska

Unique selling proposition: ArtRow is a disruptive digital marketplace for the buying and selling of professionally vetted artwork.

Strategy: ArtRow brings fine art to everyday sellers, seasoned collectors and art industry professionals.

Website: artrow.com

ArtRow brings buyers and sellers of fine art together online. As many businesses foundered, the pandemic was an incubator for ArtRow, a virtual art gallery that’s changing the way fine art is bought and sold.

With a PhD in art, and over 20 years in the field as an adviser, researcher and appraiser, Lara Tomaszewska has placed works from Henri Matisse to Andy Warhol in museums and galleries around the world. She saw an opportunity to change the game: “As bricks-and-mortar galleries were forced to close, and in-person events came to a standstill, the lack of alternatives was spotlighted, and ArtRow was born.”

Tomaszewska seems to have solved that and brought what can sometimes be an elitist practice to the rest of us via ArtRow, an online marketplace where buyers and sellers can list and purchase fine original artworks at prices ranging from $300 to $175,000. ArtRow charges a 25 per cent commission upon a successful sale, half that charged to professional artists by traditional galleries and less than the total fees at an auction house

Simply, ArtRow lets everyday collectors independently buy and sell professionally vetted artwork, from historical works by the Group of Seven to Indigenous artists like Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun and Kent Monkman, as well as locals like Shawn Shepherd — paintings, prints, sculptures, works on paper and photography.

To Tomaszewska “managing” means professionally vetting and appraising all the work she sells, as well as providing detailed background on artists and art.

On the tech side, ArtRow offers engagement of its galleries through audio and video descriptions, with high-definition images featuring lots of perspectives (“So you can zoom in and really see the brush strokes”), and even an augmented reality feature allowing you to superimpose an image of a particular artwork on your own wall to see what it would look like there — above the couch or over the stairs.

Ultimately, Tomaszewska wants others to embrace that instead of making art elitist, unattainable or something that is not intrinsic to our well-being.

“I want to break down the barriers between everyday life and art. Why can’t art be part of our everyday vernacular and everyday living?”