what we always wanted


Headquartered in New York, the company Collectrium LLC offers what we humbly consider the first ‘real’ cloud solution to help us manage art inventory.

Their software, also named Collectrium, is developed for use on mobiles-, tablets- and desktop computers. It is characteristic for its clean minimal design. Evidently, much time has been invested in the usability of the software to the extend that you no longer think about the tool itself whilst using it. In summary, it is a responsive design experience that seems as smooth as dragging and dropping stuff on your desktop. For those of you who would want to create your branded experience, it is no problem to do so, and with the help of the Collectrium team you might even offer your own mobile app using Collectrium functionality.

The entire food chain of the art world has long needed something like this, and here it finally is. Collectrium takes care of the entire raft of peculiar inventory requirements unique to art that other types of inventory would never require. Here are just two trivial examples that are distinctly arty:
1 you would want a sophisticated record of attribution and provenance and
2 something that cuts the mustard when it comes to handling high resolution images for accurate records.

Collectrium does that and much more. On a subscription basis, the solution is offered in three slightly different flavours. These are lovingly adapted to the needs of three different market segments within the world of art. One is for the collectors, the other for galleries and the third for the special requirements of Art Fairs. Odds are that the next art fair you’re attending uses Collectrium, and it is not just on the US home turf. Art Copenhagen in Denmark will be using it for this year’s fair, as will many other international art fairs. Other than that the solution has been adopted by prominent art collector Oni Zazen, and others whose names we ought not mention out of respect for their privacy. The Gallery clients include Eli Klein, De Buck Gallery and David Nolan.

Collectrium understands the need to be safe and discreet at the same time

A cornerstone in the solution is privacy. There is what you need in terms of login, and protection of data. Even when you grant other’s access to view some of your Collectrium records, it is easy to provide partial access only.

A nifty little feature is a location map of the whereabouts of your collection. Of course it is plausible that collectors collect so much that they, like squirrels, can’t remember where they stash everything away. Upon hearing that you would be tempted to think that the software has reached a level of bloated feature-itis not called for, followed by thinking ‘who would you possibly share the locations with?’ Not a burglar surely. However, the last bit lacks imagination. Clearly it is useful. E.g. it is far easier for insurance brokers to provide you with an exact quote on the cost of insuring your collection, when you can document what is stored where and under what conditions.

Art inventory in the cloud

IBM coined the phrase FUD, for fear, uncertainty and doubt. The term is what comes with the territory when you like Collectrium is the first to offer decent cloud tools.

You are painfully aware of that you are addressing a demographic footprint that does not say early adopters between 20-30 years of age. On the other hand Collectrium is not underestimating its clientele, and the management team adopts a long term view on the market.

If you are the regular technophobe challenged by all our mod cons, you might ask yourself:

Is my data secure out there?
Could it not be hacked by someone?

Both are legitimate questions with reassuring answers. The Digital records of your art collection are many times safer stored in the cloud than on your own computer.

If you take a regular computer user, online hackers or their automated tools are successful as long as they go unnoticed. The backup of files may be infrequent, and there is no other computer acting as a mirror or clone if your computer melted down. Besides your laptop can be stolen and hacked in a flurry. In contrast, security is the middle name of the server experts in any cloud solution, and they make sure that you always access the latest version of the software as stored centrally.

Convenience, transparency and faster transaction speed, what more would the art market want?

One of the things that Collectrium has made incredibly simple is sale of an item. A work of art can be set up for sale by inviting people a view of that item and some or all of its records. Who you invite could be a collector, an art dealer or a representative of an auction house, say. Alternatively, you can share a selection of works of art in your collection. For collectors, you can view the primary documentation, and view graphs that plot out appreciation in monetary value over years, and there is even a feature where you can simulate how the art would look in situ. Of course, the latter is for those who want to have the art in their homes or company board rooms, rather than in the climate-controlled art storage facility. If you want it all a more public in nature, there is social media integration.

Anyhow, we’re now getting closer to what we see as the real value of the invention. Upon a sale, your buyer can take over all the records of the bought item in a convenient way. Unless the records are incomplete or contain inaccuracies, there is then no work involved for the buyer. In the past there was a lot of research and duplication of effort, and even if there were similar solutions then, they were more propritary and less fit for mass adoption in the market than Collectrium appears to be.

E.g. Sotheby’s and other major players have their own tools or strategic alliances with software vendors. But somehow much of it has a tie-in with flipping art at auctions, and that way it caters well for parts of the art market and less so for others.

Collectrium, in contrast, was founded in 2010 by Boris Pevzner with the clear vision of using cloud computing to build an interconnected art world.