YourArt – a new art marketplace which comes with its challenges

In 1999, the website Eyestorm broke new ground by launching an online platform dedicated to acquiring photographs and editions of leading artists such as Damien Hirst or Lee Miller. Today, dozens of them compete in the online art market, which, according to the Art Basel and UBS Art Market Report 2023, is valued at nearly $11 billion.

Artsy is currently a world reference, having managed to join forces with many galleries and fairs. In France, it is also worth mentioning the prominent platform Artsper, dedicated to galleries, as well as the Docent app, which allows galleries to create a selection of work of artists they represent and offer them to collectors. Beyond these organisations, fairs are now at the heart of the art market and have developed ever more innovative Online Viewing Rooms (OVRs). However, these platforms are mainly aimed at professionals working in the sector – dealers, auction houses and sometimes artists – or collectors with access to the physical market, and its actors.  


French businessman Maurice Levy, Chairman of Publicis' supervisory board and former Director of the Palais de Tokyo, is trying to address the frustration of tens of millions of artists around the world who do not know where to present their work, and potentially meet a broader public of art lovers. He is now launching the marketplace YourArt, with the ambition to make it into "the most advanced and open platform". 


Lévy found "other platforms soulless" and, “with family and friends", he invested 9 million euros for an initial fundraising, along with other investors such as Henry Kravis, the billionaire founder of the American fund KKR.   


Led by CEO Laurence Bonicalzi-Bridier, YourArt allows French as well as international artists and galleries (with no prior selection) to create a virtual space for a monthly fee of €10 to €90. The website, also available in English, charges a commission on sales ranging from 5% to 10%, and, beyond the simple portfolio, offers subscribers (artists, galleries or collectors) the possibility to create a Metagallery – virtual spaces that have in recent years been considered and used by some fairs or galleries (without being fully convincing so far). 


The idea of bringing together an entire artistic universe on a single marketplace reminds the YouTube model, where "artists" with limited notoriety can see their work appear alongside Beyoncé's. Yet, firm boundaries exist in the art world. Legitimacy acquired from the market and institutions is the only way of enabling artists to meet collectors. To provide this legitimacy, YourArt begins its adventure with a selection of established French galleries, such as Air de Paris, Cécile Fakhoury, Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois, Magnin-A, or Laurent Godin. 


For the launch of this beta version, YourArt has time, ambition, and funding on its side. But it is still mindful that the challenge tackled – becoming an international reference in the coming years – is audacious, and, if it is to succeed, will take time and require platform adjustments.