Artsy (website)

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GenreArt website, collaborative consumption, online marketplace
FounderCarter Cleveland
Key people
Carter Cleveland
Sebastian Cwilich
Wendi Murdoch
Dasha Zhukova

Artsy is a free online platform for collecting and discovering art.[1] Artsy's search engine and database draw connections and map relationships among works of art.[1] Led by Carter Cleveland, computer science graduate from Princeton,[2] and Sebastian Cwilich, former executive of Christie's and Haunch of Venison director,[3] Artsy aims to “expand the art market to support more artists and art in the world."[4]

Artsy is backed by a group of investors, including Eric Schmidt, Wendi Murdoch, Dasha Zhukova, Thrive Capital, Jack Dorsey, Bob Pittman, Rich Barton, Jim Breyer, Keith Rabois, David Tisch, Chris Dixon, Peter Thiel, Charlie Cheever, Dave Morin, and David Kidder.[5][6] John Elderfield, former chief curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art serves as Artsy’s senior advisor and Larry Gagosian and Marc Glimcher, president of Pace Gallery, are advisors.[7]


Carter Cleveland, the son of an art historian,[8] founded Artsy during his senior year at Princeton University and worked on the site from his dorm room.[9] Cleveland’s goal for Artsy is for the site "to be the place where every single user in the world goes to discover art online."[10]  In May 2010, Artsy participated in the New York City conference, TechCrunch Disrupt, where they competed in the Startup Battlefield and received the Yahoo! Rookie Award![11]  A year later, the team demoed Artsy at the Beyeler Foundation at Art Basel (June 15, 2011).[12][13] Artsy hat $50 million in venture capital, when it opened for business in 2012.[8]

Corporate affairs[edit]


Artsy is led by Founder and CEO Carter Cleveland. Other key executives are:[14]

  • Sebastian Cwilich, Co-founder and COO
  • Sandy Cass, Chief Financial Officer
  • Daniel Doubrovkine, Chief Technical Officer
  • Wendi Murdoch, Co-Founder
  • Dasha Zhukova, Investor, Advisor and Co-Founder


Artsy initially raised around $160,000 in seed funding.[5]  Since launching, Artsy has raised a total of $100 million from players in the worlds of art, tech, and media, including Larry Gagosian, Wendi Murdoch, and Rich Barton.[15][16][17] The company currently employs over 200 employees across three continents.

Product (Website and App)[edit]

Artsy currently features over 1,000,000 works and 100,000 artists on its site, and more than half are for sale.[18][19] Artsy partners with over 2,500 galleries, 800 museums and institutions, and 60 international art fairs, who also publish work on the site, providing collectors and enthusiasts a central resource to learn about and purchase artwork from anywhere in the world. In addition, Artsy partners with top auction houses, like Phillips, Christie's and Sotheby's.

On average, Artsy attracts 2.5 million unique visitors each month.[20] In 2018, it was the top-ranking art marketplace on Google with visitors from more than 160 countries.[21]

The Art Genome Project[edit]

Artsy is powered by The Art Genome Project — "an ongoing study of the characteristics that distinguish and connect works of art."[22]  A collaboration between art historians and engineers, The Art Genome Project draws upon art-historical scholarship and artificial intelligence to assign values to artwork based on over 1211 characteristics or "genes."[23][24]  These genes ranges from color to "Content: Private of Personal Space" to period to "Technique: Documentary Photography" to "Group Portrait."[23][24]  The Art Genome Project aims to help users uncover works of art based on personal taste and preference to facilitate education and discovery of art.[22][23][24] Matthew Israel serves as the Director of The Art Genome Project and Artsy's Lead Curator.[25]


According to Wired, Artsy "has the potential to introduce each buyer to a wide range of artists and artworks, all of them related in some way and—this is key—most of them unknown and otherwise inaccessible to any but the most knowledgeable connoisseurs."[26]

Bloomberg said that "[o]ver the past nine years the New York startup has become one of the top destinations for buying, viewing, and learning about art. It has pulled off this feat by partnering with galleries and auction houses, rather than directly competing with them." [20]

In 2012, criticism around The Art Genome Project centered on “its classification system, which rubs some artists the wrong way. 'I don't think what I am doing has anything to do with Cindy Sherman,' says British artist Jonathan Smith after being told the site links his work to hers via a staged-photography gene. 'That sounds like something a programmer would think of.'" Also, "there's the issue of whether art can be properly represented on the Web. "'There is something sensual about a visual object that doesn't translate online,"' says New York City-based collector Niel Frankel." [27]

Numerous publications, including Wired,[28] The New York Observer,[15] Vogue,[29] and The Wall Street Journal [30] have written articles on Artsy.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Carter Cleveland was listed in BLOUINARTINFO’s The 30-and-Under Crowd: The Art World’s Most Influential Young Figures of 2012.[31]

Artsy received the "Rookie Disruptor Award" in 2010 and was listed in ForbesNames you Need to Know in 2011.[32]


  1. ^ a b Chad Hanna, James. "The Power of Suggestion". BLOUINARTINFO. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  2. ^ Miller, Michael. "Point, Click, Collect: Brings the Art World Online… Again". New York Observer. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  3. ^ "Sebastian Cwilich: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  4. ^ Childs, Mary (May 6, 2016). "Art Collecting: Young money, old masters". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b Schonfeld, Erick (November 24, 2010). " Raises $1.25 Million From Schmidt, Murdoch, Dorsey, And Super-Artsy Angels". TechCrunch. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  6. ^ Frommer, Dan (November 11, 2010). "Eric Schmidt, Wendi Murdoch, And Other Huge Names Are Betting On To Shake Up The Art Market". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  7. ^ Wolfe, Alexandra (March–April 2012). "Buying Art on the Internet". Departures. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b Shnayerson, Michael (2018-03-15). "Artsy's Wendi Murdoch Just Wants to Sell You a Painting". Town & Country. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  9. ^ Allison, Chelsea (November 28, 2011). "New Deal:'s Innovative Online Take on Contemporary Art Sales". Vogue. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  10. ^ Wallis, Stephen (June–July 2011). "Who is". Art in America.
  11. ^ "Yahoo! Disrupts TechCrunch". Yahoo. May 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Dasha Zhukova's Site Launches to Celeb-Packed Crowd". ARTINFO. June 15, 2011.
  13. ^ Mufti, Shahan (November 23, 2011). "'s 'Genome' Predicts What Paintings You Will Like". WIRED. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Crunchbase Employee Overview".
  15. ^ a b "As Online Art Auction Space Shrinks, Is Artsy the Heir Apparent?". Observer. 2017-02-06. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  16. ^ Schonfeld, Erick (November 3, 2011). " Raises $6 Million Series A From Peter Thiel, Thrive Capital, Wendi Murdoch And Dasha Zhukova". TechCrunch. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  17. ^ "United States Securities and Exchange Commission".
  18. ^ Goel, Vindu (2015-10-28). "Purchasing Fine Art Is Increasingly Just a Click Away". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  19. ^ Hamilton, Anita (May 25, 2012). "Fine Art for Everyone: Five Cutting-Edge Sites for Collectors and Newbies Alike". Time.
  20. ^ a b Schuetz, Molly (March 27, 2018). "New York's Artsy Is Making It Even Easier to Buy Art Online". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Artsy is planning to become the Amazon of the art world". Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  22. ^ a b De Leon, Don Michael Acelar (March 29, 2012). "THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ONLINE ART DATABASE MAPS CONNECTIONS BETWEEN WORKS". psfk. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  23. ^ a b c Wolfe, Alexandra (March–April 2012). "Buying Art on the Interner". Departures. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  24. ^ a b c Jeffries, Adrianne (March 23, 2012). "A Peek at's Much-Anticipated Beta". BetaBeat.
  25. ^ Israel, Matthew. "Matthew Israel".
  26. ^ Mufti, Shahan (November 23, 2011). "'s 'Genome' Predicts What Paintings You Will Like". Wired. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  27. ^ Hamilton, Anita (June 4, 2012). "Works for Me". Time. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  28. ^ 6/14/11 7:50pm. "Point, Click, Collect: Brings the Art World Online… Again". Observer. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  29. ^ Allison, Chelsea. "New Deal:'s Innovative Online Take on Contemporary Art Sales - Culture". Vogue. Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  30. ^ Gamerman, Ellen (2011-01-14). "From the VIP Art Fair to, the Art Gallery Goes Digital -". Retrieved 2012-10-05.
  31. ^ "The 30-and-Under Crowd: The Art World's Most Influential Young Figures". BLOUINARTINFO. June 26, 2012.
  32. ^ Laneri, Raque (2010-11-11). "Names You Need to Know in 2011:". Forbes. Retrieved 31 August 2012.

External links[edit]