CULTURE & ARTS
08/12/2013 11:51 am ET Updated Aug 12, 2013

Christie's CEO Steven Murphy: We Have Something Amazon Art Doesn't

FORTUNE -- On Tuesday Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Art, a partnership with 150 U.S. dealers and galleries that currently features some 40,000 works from 4,500 artists. There's a Monet selling for $1.45 million (user reviews are appropriately snarky: "BUYER BEWARE: THIS ITEM IS IN FRENCH. There is no English version. I purchased this product and couldn't understand a word of it.") and a Norman Rockwell for $4.85 million, the most expensive piece on the site, so far.

On Wednesday Fortune sat down with Christie's CEO Steven Murphy, who is especially well-suited to consider the magnitude of Amazon (AMZN) entering the fine art space. Before arriving at Christie's in 2010, Murphy worked in music and book publishing -- first at the publishing house Simon & Schuster, then as a president at EMI Records, and finally as the CEO of Rodale. So he's seen, firsthand, his industries hugely affected by the online retail Goliath. Edited excerpts follow:

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