Hi artist friends, I have an ethics question. I am a member of a local artist's co-op and this month I am Artist of the Month which means I have a good number of my paintings in the shop now. On Friday, I delivered a new painting to replace one that had sold. I also posted the new painting on Facebook and within one day I had someone who wanted to purchase the painting. She only saw the painting on Facebook and not in the gallery. She lives out of state. Also, my co-op does not have a clear policy on this type of sale. My understanding has always been that if the buyer saw the painting in the gallery, the gallery should get the commission and even if the painting is back in my possession and not in the gallery, the gallery should still get the commission if the buyer saw it first in the gallery. I have picked up the painting and talked with some members that don't think I owe the co-op the commission. I want to do the right thing, the "ethical" thing, so please let me know what you would do.
Hi Sharon - Was the painting shown on your Facebook page or the Co-op's page? If a person had come by your studio and saw the painting there, then called you a few days later after your had taken the painting to the Gallery, the gallery wouldn't have been involved with that particular sale, in my opinion. You would/could have replaced the painting in the gallery with another one. If it was the Gallery's Facebook page, then would they not have been involved in the sale in some minor way because of the posting? If it was my Facebook page, it would be my sale. If it was the Co-op's Facebook page I believe I would bite the bullet. If it was the Co-op's page, I think they need to set up the perimeters for resulting sales, there should be no second-guessing.
Thanks Valerie, it was posted on my personal Facebook page and my Sharon Repple Fine Art Facebook page and that is where she saw the painting. I agree that we need to make this clearer for members.
These are good discussions. I would say to discuss it with the gallery and I think it is fair to put forth your position but be open minded about the decision you take together.
I think If you posted it on your own pages and then took it to the gallery--and the person saw it on your page before you took it there and then called you directly, I would say, intuitively, it feels like you are the salesperson and not the gallery.
But it depends on what your agreement is with the gallery. Some agreements would state that whatever is shown at their space, during that period is also their right to have some of the commission.
If the agreement was not clear--again, I think, an honest discussion like you are having here would be the best course. Think long-term relationships and living with a good conscience on the long-term timeline and you will feel good about whatever outcome.