Even as a fresh-faced start-up in the online fine art marketplace, Amparo Art Gallery already has attracted artistic talent in three U.S. regions—the mid-Atlantic, where the company launched earlier this year, New England and the Southern region, which includes artwork developed in the Dallas area. This e-commerce marketplace, which exhibits original fine art from selected artists in each region, provides views of artwork in a variety of virtually staged environments to help buyers make better decisions about the right piece of art for their dining room, home office, bedroom or as a room’s focal point.
“Our price point is attractive for young collectors,” says Amparo CEO Mark Marotta. “Amparo curates a small group of artists and showcases selections of their highest-quality pieces on the marketplace. This curation ensures Amparo’s online inventory is easy to navigate, especially for new collectors.”
“We are not interested in being another online art catalog with 10,000 or more paintings,” says Ben White of Amparo. “As a smaller marketplace, we are positioned so our artists can be more easily discovered. Generally, Amparo is focused on who the artists are and not on the category of artwork they produce. Our artists are producing high-quality work but many of them are lacking a platform. We give them that digital platform so they can spend more time in the studio working their creative processes and not building websites and handling other technical logistics of selling artwork.”
In addition to bringing emerging artists to the attention of collectors, Amparo also represents a roster of established artists who sell selected works of art on the marketplace. Claire Giblin is one such artist; she has an extensive background as a curator and appraiser and paints large-format post-war and abstract artwork, which she has also exhibited internationally. “Mark and I had an initial conversation by phone, and he was candid and honest about his founding of Amparo and his ideas for launch and expansion,” she says. “I later curated and exhibited at Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation in Jim Thorpe [Pennsylvania]. The exhibit opened on the hottest day in July, and Mark came to see the show and meet me in person. I was very impressed with his commitment and knew I wanted to support this new venture and to work together toward success.”
Marotta and White have art backgrounds of their own. Marotta says although he is not formally educated in fine art, his parents are collectors so he has been surrounded by art and regular museum visits throughout his life. Since the fine arts community took such a hit during the pandemic when galleries closed and exhibitions were canceled, Marotta has made it his mission to help the industry recover and thrive by connecting artists and arts patrons online through Amparo.
White is an arts administrator, with 15 years of experience as a performance musician, playing alto saxophone and bassoon in classical ensembles. When he met Marotta and realized their shared passion for arts advocacy, he decided to join Amparo, where a love of fine art and industry connections help both artists who need technical assistance with shipping, logistics and web development, and collectors who need an easy way to find new talent.
While partnering with artists, Amparo also provides expanded services and process automation through its industry partnerships. Artsy, for example, is a large blue-chip e-commerce marketplace that provides added visibility and wider distribution for increased sales by Amparo’s artists, while ARTA provides white glove fulfillment, shipping and installation services for customers who purchase a piece through the marketplace.
Amparo’s goal is to break the mold of online art sales by curating the highest-quality art from regional artists that patrons may not be able to find anywhere else. And while the company may expand into other areas, for the near future, its leadership is focusing on adding new artists originating from the New England, Southern and mid-Atlantic states. *
Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.