When ArtLink was founded by Tal Danai on April 23, 1996, its goal was to develop a new market for young and emerging art while introducing art as a cultural consumer product to audiences worldwide. The School of Visual Arts in New York City was the first to join the venture, and within a few years ArtLink had a network of over 150 art academies in 44 countries.

In January 1997, the 300-year-old market leader Sotheby’s joined ArtLink, fostering a collaboration that would span almost a decade. During that time, the ArtLink@Sotheby’s International Young Art program would be crowned by CNN “the most exciting business development in the art market in decades” and form the new young and emerging art segment of the market—which today represents nine out of every ten sales of art worldwide.

“We find your concept of promoting young, contemporary art to a young market an invigorating and promising venture and are glad you have selected to approach Sotheby’s with it. We expect this venture to create enthusiasm and a positive change with the younger generation of collectors.”

–Rivka Saker, Senior Director at Sotheby’s

In January 1998, ArtLink threw its first of many stones into the calm lake of the international art market and held the first International Young Art auction at Sotheby’s Tel Aviv. The auction included 137 works by 45 artists from 10 countries, all previously unknown to the public prior and all were consequently sold in the course of a two-hour auction at prices well over their estimates.

Park Chung Hwan, “Untitled”, was the first work by an emerging Korean artist to be sold (for $12,000) by Sotheby’s.
“We believe in making art available, accessible and affordable.”

-Tal Danai, Founder & CEO

In 1999, ArtLink held the world’s first live-online interactive internet auction. Sotheby’s Berlin exhibited 76 works by 35 artists from the 10 countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. They were auctioned live from Rostock, Germany and online through the LiveBid system.

“It is one of the most concerted attempts ever made to create an ongoing platform for young, unknown artists from all over the world.”

-Eva Sohlman, from Reuters, August, 6 1999.

In 2004, ArtLink decided the ArtLink@Sotheby’s International Young Art program had accomplished its goal: 2000 works by 365 finalists from 44 countries were sold at auctions in Amsterdam, Berlin, Chicago, Moscow, New York, Tel Aviv and Vienna, and the company turned its focus to other corners of the art world, utilizing the experience and relationships fostered through the program in its next undertakings.