Many artists partner with Art Galleries to help promote and sell their artwork. If you can make contact and build a relationship with a Gallery, this creates an excellent opportunity for you to focus on creating your work while the Gallery sells your work. It is beneficial to start with an initial enquiry; in this article we have guided you on how to get started including information on contracts.
Step 1 – Finding the Gallery to sell your work – Visit many galleries first to get an idea of the type of work they sell. Then, create a list of galleries you want to scout. As a starting point visit some art shows, get an idea of clientele, the owner and the type of art. Will your work still fit with the gallery? If you are happy that the Gallery is right for you, either email or phone to make an appointment or turn up to see if you can have an informal chat.
Step 2 – Commission Rates – Know your commission rates. Sometimes galleries will buy the art upfront but in most cases, you will allow the Gallery to take your work upfront, to sell on an agreed commission rate. The average rate of commission paid to a gallery is between is 30-50%.
Step 3 – Artwork Pricing – This is normally determined by the gallery, who are experienced in this field. Be vigilant though against unscrupulous galleries.
Step 4 – Keep an Inventory List – Make sure you know where your artwork is by keeping a list of where everything is located and keeping in regular contact with the gallery.
Step 5 – Legal Contract with your Gallery – It is important to make the terms of your arrangement with the Art gallery into a legal binding contract. Below is a list of the common points that should normally be included in your contract (please however seek legal advice).
Points common in contracts with Galleries:
- Length of time the work is on display – how long will your work be on display, will there be solo-shows, how many pieces are you expected to produce over a certain period? Will the display be permanent or temporary?
- What happens to any unsold artwork? What dates should the artwork be collected from the gallery?
- Which party is liable for any damage to the work whilst on display?
- Rate of permission payable to the Gallery?
- When will commission be paid by the Gallery?
- If the gallery ever offers discounts, how much? Will the discount be split between parties?
- While showing at the gallery, can you display work for sale at other galleries or is your contract exclusive?
- What happens if a customer wants to commission an original piece?
- How will the gallery market you and your work?
- What is expected from the Artist for marketing?
- Regular inventory reports (never leave the gallery without a list of work you left and the retail/post-commission prices.)
- What happens in the event of the gallery closing?