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Gallery commission

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 6:53 pm
by Lottiedoggy
I sell paintings in a gallery which charges 50% commission, so they sell for double the price I would normally ask form them if selling them privately. When I get the unsold paintings back from the gallery I can't sell them on my website below the price the gallery has asked as i unwittingly quoted a lower price once to someone enquiring on my website and the gallery owner found out and got very angry. So how do other artists sell their gallery rejects? If they've failed to sell in the gallery surely I should try and sell them at a lower price but the gallery owner won't let me. I have no written contract with him. Does anyone else have the same problem?

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 9:11 am
by helennock
Hi Lottie,
Something that affects most of us!!
I suppose it depends how much revenue and profiling that gallery brings you in relation to the sales you are able to generate from your own marketing.
Most Galleries won't operate with artists undercutting their prices for the same work especially since the advent of internet-wise consumers who will research artists on-line for price comparison. I keep my prices in line with galleries meaning I receive less for work sold through them. Commission sacrifices should reflect their usefulness in promoting your name and selling your work, as well as future opportunities from being seen to be represented by them. The only rights your gallery has is choosing to stop working with you. Hopefully you'll get some better answers re strategies for selling cheaper direct.

Best wishes
Helen

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 11:58 am
by alexanderkorzerrobin
I agree with Helen, if you sell through a gallery you are making less money for an individual piece because you are paying the gallery for selling and representing your work.
If you want to have a sustainable career with your artwork you won't be able to do that without exhibiting in serious galleries.
Now if your former price minus fifty percent comes down to a ridiculously low amount, that probably means you need to adjust your prices up.
For me, most of my work gets sold through galleries, and when i sell work myself at the same price it subsidizes the small loss i have by selling through galleries.
It sounds to me, like you could reevaluate your prices to find a middle ground for both cases.

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:34 pm
by alexanderjohnson
You can't sell work at two different sets of prices, this is one of the biggest mistakes artists make I think. An artwork has a price and no matter where you sell it from the price should be the same, otherwise galleriies will soon cotton-on that you are undercutting them and refuse to stock your work. It means that you make more if you sell directly to a client of course, but it all evens-out in the end as Helen and (the other!) Alexander have said above. Any other way of operating will just make you look really unprofessional and you will struggle to get representation or be taken seriously as a professional artist. I cringe when I see artists having 'sales' or offering two-for-one deals like they are a supermarket. If you sell work off cheap people will never accept your work at full price, consistancy is important to reassure people that they are getting value for money. I know how I would feel if I bought something for £500 and then discovered someone else had got it for £250!

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 6:44 pm
by helennock
With all above.

Galleries can choose to offer discretionary rates - dropping their commission fee where they see fit just as we are at liberty to accept offers. But it's worth reminding buyers pushing for a deal on no commission involved appeal that they are not advertising your work.

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:50 pm
by Lottiedoggy
Thanks all. Very logical and useful replies. I realise of course that it is a perpetual problem for all serious artists. Maybe I should aim to sell exclusively through galleries and stop doing local exhibitions (where I have to 'harmonize' my prices with those of the gallery) where people simply won't pay as much for a painting. Again, many thanks.

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:21 am
by joetymkow
Fortunately? I have not yet had this problem. I am not represented by a gallery. I only graduated last Summer. I have submitted to several group shows, then there was the degree show, and last month I had my first joint show.

I personally feel the need to have a few more joint and solo shows, to keep my cv moving and demonstrate my commitment to the development of my art practice before approaching a gallery.

Having said that, I have sold work and pointed out that if bought through a gallery the prices would be double.

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:08 pm
by Ninjakat
You could solve the problem by selling originals to the galleries and giclee prints to other buyers. It's also a great revenue creator, OK it's not an original but it's proving very popular.

NK

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:47 pm
by rebeccabarton
hi all, I guess the question is are you selling much through the gallery, if you are, then there is obviously a market for your work at the higher price, and you could raise your prices accordingly when selling via your website. If they don't sell a lot or are not proactive in promoting your work then i would question their level of commission.
I sell cushions not paintings but I increased all of my prices (doubled them) about a year or so ago so that I could sell through shops etc also and still make a profit. I sell less now but never feel ripped off when I do sell something. I have learned that when buying something that isn't essential eople are happy to pay more because it has an implied value, if your paintings cost more people will probably think they are worth more (if that makes sense!) one of my cushion designs sells for £120!! but it is my biggest seller by far, people are happy to spend money if they think something is special. The cheaper, simpler styles sell less well. I also was given the advice by a business man that you should always raise prices in a recession rather than discount because people relate price with quality so will be happy to spend on something they feel is an investment.

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:52 am
by helennock
Sound advice. Selling less at a more realistic price for the work so at least you don't feel ripped off...Kudos! I wonder how many artists and crafts people actually earn less than two or three pounds - or less- an hour when it's all taken into consideration...and zilch for originality or intrinsic value.

Re: Gallery commission

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:36 pm
by joetymkow
I agree Helen, if we were to price our work, even at the minimum wage, we would never be able to sell anything; it would mean everything I produced would cost thousands.