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It is only fairly recently that you can find art for sale as it is today; that is to say in galleries, at auction and especially online. Historically, artists have been almost held hostage to a system of patronage that dates back thousands of years. The earliest recorded examples of arts patrons are found in Feudal Japan, however nearly every society that operated in an imperial or royal system with an aristocracy has evidence of arts patronage. Patronage distinguished outstanding artists and craftsmen from the thousands of artisans that worked to decorate the living spaces and everyday items of the privileged in society.

In the middle ages and Renaissance in Europe, patronage of artists was mainly controlled by royalty, high nobility and the church. This greatly constricted the subjects and type of art artists produced to religious themes, historical or mythological themes or portraiture. Despite this, artists like Leonardo Da Vinci still undertook works of art in a personal capacity that strayed outside the sanctioned themes.

The first art auctions took place in England in the late 17th century, however these were mostly in the vein of estate auctions, where Old Masters were under the hammer. It was in the mid 19th century, when ‘self-made men’ entered the art collecting scene, that artists of the day began to be seen at auction and to prosper under their patronage. It was at this time that exhibitions also became more commonplace, and collectors could buy art for sale direct from the exhibitions, and in some cases direct from the artist themselves, or ‘off the easel’. This progression in buyers’ attitudes meant that artists were now more in control of subject matter, with collectors buying art that suited their tastes or interested them, rather than dictating to artists what to paint, laying the foundation for artistic expression and innovation that lead into the Modernist period.

Today people have an unprecedented access to art for sale, particularly with the growth of online art galleries and auction houses. For artists, there is also a plethora of avenues to showcase and sell their art, ultimately giving them complete artistic freedom.

Artorca's online gallery has a large collection of original art for sale directly listed by artists from around the world. Buying art for sale from Artorca allows art enthusiasts to collect the works of some of the most talented emerging and established artists in the world today, while also making a great investment and directly supporting creative culture around the world.

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