Be Smart About Art

Providing a sense of scale to successfully sell from afar

written by: Susan Mumford Sept. 24, 2017 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan Mumford + Chris King's Blog 340 views

Providing a sense of scale to successfully sell from afar

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here)

When you look at the above image of me standing in front of seven black & white photographs, you’re no doubt struck by the scale of the prints.

The installation - presented by South Korean photographer Bae Bien-U at Somerset House during Photo London Fair 2017, reminded me of the important role of ‘context’ images. In addition to presenting a professional reproduction of a work of art, presenting it in context of something else – in this instance, a human being, provides a sense of scale. Placing a work of art above a sofa or alongside a dining table and photographing in situ offers the same sort of understanding.  

This concept recalls a webinar when I was in conversation with Jonas Almgren*, CEO of Artfinder.com. He emphasized that presenting ‘context’ photographs is one of the most successful methods for selling art online. Presumably this is one of the reasons that Artfinder provides an easy-to-use template for popping an image of a work of art into pre-done living room setting, for online viewers to see. They firstly find the professional image of the art work, and then select a context image to get a sense of scale and to see how it looks in situ.

Here’s a quick exercise for you:

Take your index and middle fingers and hold them over me in the photograph.

Keep looking at the image for thirty seconds.

Take your fingers away, and notice what your mind does.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that you re-adjust your perspective to take in the impressive scale of images. It’s somewhat mind-boggling.

Whatever it is that you’re presenting for remote viewing, including if it’s online or in print, think about how you can provide a real sense of scale. It can make a world of difference for someone understanding the size, and potentially impressing to boot. 


*Watch video recap of the original conversation with Jonas: Why and how artists and galleries sell art online.

p.s.: And while you're at it... Check out the latest Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, an annual edition always well worth a read. 

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