This month’s issue of Art & Auction featured an interesting editorial about the fact that fewer and fewer people seem to be visiting galleries. Is there some kind of “gallery phobia” out there?  The reason usually given is that now people can simply go on-line – why bother to go out and visit, when there is so much at your finger tips? There are many good reasons to actually visit galleries, as opposed to just browsing on-line.

Visiting galleries is exciting and fun. You can admire the great techniques and details of what is on offer – things that may not show up well on web images. You see things in a context, rather than as isolated images, and there is no substitution for actually having something right there in front of you, in all it’s glory!

It is almost impossible for most galleries to put their entire inventory on their web-sites. We can only show a fraction of the wonderful furniture, objects and jewelry that we have, so those who only visit our web site are missing the opportunity to see all the beautiful things that we have, and also to see them in a beautiful setting.

I am mystified by people buying jewelry that they have not examined and tried-on. Part of the beauty of a fine piece of jewelry is in the details – workmanship may or may not be important to you, but it should be. A piece of jewelry may look nice in a picture, but be less nice in person – there are lots of “enhancements” that can be done with computers.

Consider how it will look on you – how could one possibly tell from an image if a necklace or pair of earrings will fit well and be flattering? What about the tactile pleasure of holding a beautiful object or jewel? Then, of course, there is the fun of trying things on.

Consider furniture and objects. An image is static – you can only see a piece from one or two angles on line. When it is actually in front of you, you can walk around it, touch its surfaces, appreciate the design and workmanship, and have a better feeling for the proportions. Glass is even more interesting in person – the way it transforms light, subtle colorations, the way the colors change as you walk around a piece –  The artist who created the piece put a lot of thought and effort into creating interesting effects and details – these can only be appreciated when you actually see the pieces – they come alive.

Even for paintings, which are two-dimensional, there are many details that can only be appreciated by actually seeing the work. You may love something when you see it on line, and like it less when it is before you. The opposite can also be true. Most computer monitors distort color to some degree – a painting may not shine in an image, but be very exciting when one actually sees it.

Then there is the social aspect. When you visit a gallery, you have the opportunity to get to know the owners – the people who have devoted their careers to fine and beautiful things. We have a lot of knowledge, and enjoy sharing it, and actually meeting our clients in person and developing a relationship.  A personal relationship with a good dealer is an invaluable asset.

There are other benefits as well. As galleries tend to be located near other galleries, you also have the chance to see a great variety of things – some may be interesting  – some not, but just being out there and looking around is so much more fun and exciting than sitting in a chair and typing.

Audrey Friedman for Primavera Gallery

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