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Online art discovery platform raises $50 million

Artsy, a New York-based art discovery marketplace, on Tuesday announced that it has raised $50 million in Series D funding.

  • Why it matters: Fine art sellers had long resisted putting their wares online, viewing it as a low-class loss of control. But now many are viewing the Internet as possible savior, with the global auction market still unable to regain its pre-financial crisis highs.
  • Investors: Avenir Growth Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers like L Catterton, Shumway Capital and Thrive Capital. The round also included individual angels like Joe Gebbia (Airbnb co-founder) and Larry Gagosian (founder of Gagosian Gallery).
  • Bottom line from The Verge's Ben Popper: "When Artsy launched to the public in 2012, it had a little over 20,000 images from 275 galleries and 50 museums. Today, Artsy is far and away the biggest player in the online art market, with over 800,000 works from over 4,000 galleries. Not only have gallery owners come around to embracing Cleveland's online marketplaces, 1,800 galleries now pay Artsy between $425 and $1,000 a month to be members. The company helped to put on 41 auctions last year, and is on track to participate in over 160 auctions in 2017."