By last summer, the East End's art fair roster had dwindled to a sole survivor, Market Art + Design in Bridgehampton, whose plan to return this year has been derailed by Covid-19. If anyone was likely to find a way to bring art buyers and sellers together during a pandemic, it was Rick Friedman, the founder of ArtHamptons, which ran for eight summers before he sold it in 2015.
Now Mr. Friedman, who lives in Southampton, is back, with the Hamptons Virtual Art Fair, which will launch at noon Thursday on its website and continue through Sunday. It will return again over Labor Day weekend.
"People are going to see the finest in postwar and contemporary art, as well as some European Impressionist paintings," Mr. Friedman promised, adding that more than 60 galleries from around the world would participate.
"Every gallery is preprogrammed into an interactive situation," he said. A click on a specific gallery will lead to a profile page with thumbnail images. "From there, you click to enter, and you'll be transferred into this magical world of 3-D virtual reality."
Viewers can move freely around each booth. Clicking on an individual artwork will bring up information about it as well as the options to "buy now" or "contact the dealer." The 600 to 700 artworks range from emerging artists to Picasso, Monet, and Renoir, according to Mr. Friedman.
Speaking of ArtHamptons, he said, "The thing is, you had to live here or be here. Now you can be anywhere in the world and visit any time, day or night." Those who register on hamptonsvirtualartfair.com will receive an email invitation.