Amazon has partnered with more than 150 galleries and dealers across the US to sell fine art via a new portal, Amazon Art. Through the site, users can browse "more than 40,000" works of fine art from a range of galleries, including Paddle8 in New York, Holden Luntz in Miami, McLoughlin Gallery in San Francisco, Modernbook in San Francisco, and Catherine Person Gallery in Seattle. Amazon says the store will showcase artworks from over 4,500 artists, making it the largest online collection of art available for purchase directly from galleries and dealers.

40,000 works from 4,500 artists

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Amazon was planning to open a fine art portal last month, noting that the retailer faced trouble persuading a disinterested art community to sign up. The majority of galleries and dealers simply didn't respond to Amazon's request, reportedly concerned that the company's site wouldn't be able to offer the "tasteful presentation" necessary to peddle fine art. According to the WSJ's report, Amazon will take a five to 20 percent cut.

This isn't Amazon's first foray into art: a 2000 - 2001 pilot scheme saw the company partner with auctioneer Sotheby's with a similar aim. The pilot only lasted 16 months. Other retailers like eBay have also tried to focus in on art sales, but few have had success to date. Despite mainstream retailers failing to make an impact in the field, Amazon will face competition from smaller outlets like Artsy.