Granite 999 Fine Art Reproductions

Selling yourself short

I was involved in a discussion the other day with a gallery owner who was lamenting an ethically questionable practice of some of their artists. It seems that the artists hold  open houses and sell their original art at a 40% discount, exactly the amount of the gallery's commission.

Now I won't pretend to be in a position to tell any artist how to sell their work or for what price, but this is definitely a poor business practice.

The first and most glaring point is that the artists are acting as a cheap clearing house for their own artwork. Selling for substantially less than the prices advertised by the gallery is devaluing their work in the marketplace.

The second point is that they are placing undue stress on a valuable partnership. The gallery is a point of sale for artwork in the community. A gallery arranges an artist's work on its limited wall-space, wall-space that they have to pay rent or a mortgage on. Then the gallery pays more in advertising to invite the general public to come in and see the work. An effective gallery will also employ sales tactics to close the sale of work and build a data base of collectors for future sales. Without the gallery the artist would have to invest the same time and money with no guarantee of a return.

I fully understand that any sales in this economy are important so I have two suggestions for those who do choose to sell from their studio or home. 1) Do not discount so deeply. If a patron is not willing to realize that 10 to 20 percent off the retail price is a bargain then this is probably not a relationship worth nurturing. 2) Send a portion of the proceeds to the gallery that currently represents you. If you are represented by more than one gallery pick either the one that brought you the client in the first place or the one in closest proximity to your studio or home.

If suggestion number two sounds ludicrous to you, imagine you are a gallery. Two artists that you represent have studio sales. One sends an unexpected check … the other does not. Which one will you remember as the next customer walks through the front door to make a purchase?

Ive sold my art for less than

Ive sold my art for less than I know its worth..but its not just to make a sale..My name needs to be familiar and my work accepted before I can seek gallery pricing, but once established, underselling yourself hurts every artist. Im sure there is a art buyer psychological reason why buyers believe they expect to pay less outside the gallery and if they are face to face with the artist

As a gallery owner

As a gallery owner representing 30 artists and marketing them well, I could not have stated this better.

If you are an artist reading this article, take it to heart.

Howard Cooperman