Visual Art

Would You Buy Fine Art from Costco?

The wholesaler is back in the affordable art business with Warhol screen prints and Matisse lithographs.

By Laura Dannen October 5, 2012

 

Does "Flowers in a Pot" come in bulk?

I'd love to see the average consumer's shopping list for Costco. Maybe something like this?

40 rolls of toilet paper
Steak to feed 20
Four-pack, Michelin tires
"Femme au Chapeau," Matisse lithograph

There's a great article on nytimes.com right now about Costco's latest addition to its inventory: affordable art. For the past two weeks, the Washington-based wholesaler has quietly listed "Fine Art" under its Home and Decor category on costco.com—a subtle re-entry into the art world (sans press releases) following controversy six years ago over the authenticity of Picassos it was selling.

Greg Moors, a San Francisco dealer who's also made artwork available on Amazon.com, is Costco's new supplier; and according to Times reporter Patricia Cohen, the retailer has so far sold: "two framed lithographs by Henri Matisse, one for $1,000, and the other for $800; a framed lithograph by Georges Braque for $1,400; a framed screen print by Andy Warhol for $1,450; and a framed textile-and-paint collage by Heather Robinson for $1,699."

Not that those bold-faced names are for sale at the moment. Of the five pieces currently online, all but two are out of stock: a $629.99 framed lithrograph by painter/costume designer Marcel Vertes, and the oil painting "Flowers in a Pot" by Robert Cot for $779.99. Which means that people are actually buying art through Costco. Would you?

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