Art Comes to Aldi | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 16.10.2003
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Art Comes to Aldi

German discount supermarket chain Aldi has announced that it will begin selling original artwork by German artists in selected stores from the beginning of December.

That's never going to fit in the shopping cart

That's never going to fit in the shopping cart

Forget sitting amongst the well-heeled at Sotheby’s and scratching your nose subtly to bid for original masterpieces. Those in the know will be heading to their local Aldi supermarkets come December to pick up original artwork along with their cat food and ravioli.

Thanks to the German discount supermarket chain, signed and numbered prints from German artists will be available in selected stores across the country for between €10 and €15, making life for the casual collector as easy as buying a bottle of no frills Chianti.

Signed, numbered and dated

Selling the artwork, which will come tastefully framed and set, through Aldi stores is the brainchild of Düsseldorf artist Felix Droese. He and seven other artists, who Droese refuses to name, will provide one or two original pieces which will then be reproduced before being numbered, dated and signed personally by the contributing individual. “I have the art and Aldi has the customers,” he told the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Aldi Logo

Aldi plans to sell around 100,000 pieces of art through 1,450 stores in its Aldi South region only, limiting the amount available to around 70 artworks per supermarket. An Aldi spokesperson told Deutsche Welle that the decision to sell artwork through the company's outlets was in line with Aldi's philosophy of bringing affordable and quality products to its customers.

Art for the masses

By transforming its hundreds of stores into galleries, Aldi will become the first major supermarket to mass market original art to its customers. But it's not alone in the trend toward opening up the once exclusive art world to everyday people.

In recent years, artwork has been sold at the Art Supermarket in Solothurn in Switzerland to great acclaim. The success of the outlet, which sold art for between €50 and €300, led to the founders opening similar stores in Frankfurt/Main and the Quartier 205 shopping centre in Berlin.

“Buying art is unfortunately seen by many as a luxury,” said Art Supermarket director Mario Terés told a newspaper last year. “Many people don’t even look in galleries, such is their fear.” So Terés and two friends began importing artwork from Barcelona and selling it in comfortable surroundings at affordable prices.

"Dumping price" proves popular

Similar attempts to take art from the elitists and give it back to the people have been made by underground artists in Berlin who have made a successful trade in “dumping price” art. In certain galleries, original artwork can be brought for as little as €50.

However, they will have to go a long way to better the deals being offered by Aldi which will not only combine even cheaper original works by, presumably, established German artists but will allow the art fancier to pick up something for the living room or private collection along with the weekly shopping.

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