Working With Galleries

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on 30 Jun 2009 6:04 AM

Last Week, I wrote a blog for Fine Art Views where I suggested that it would be helpful to both the artist and the gallery owner if the artist and dealers were to share the names and contact info of the artist's collectors.

For the most part, everyone agreed that there would be more sales - and that complete trust and honesty would need to be present on both sides if the working situation were to be an efficient partnership.

But... there was one gallery owner who highly disagreed - saying that the if the artist has names of collectors, there is no reason for the gallery to exist and that eventually collectors are going to contact the artists anyway and put the galleries out of business.

Well, it seems "Times, they are a-changin'".

What do AA forum folks think? If you work with galleries, how would you handle having the names of your collectors and yet help the gallery sell paintings? Or do you think that you shouldn't know those names? What happens if the gallery goes out of business?

Do you think you need a gallery to sell work today? Probably another question for another post?






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judyl40 wrote
on 30 Jun 2009 10:06 AM

I think it's a most excellent question, Lori.

I've worked part time at a gallery that I also exhibited in, as well as having my work in other galleries. In all of my business relationships, trust is a must. You just can't juggle other galleries on the side if you're doing it right. Marketing guarantees that others will know about you & your work. Better to be above board right from the start.

I say, share the mailing lists. Galleries of today do not take an artist by the hand & guarantee that they will "make you a star". It just does not happen that way. And since it is impossible to guarantee sales & support, then they really should realize that it only benefits all if they play nice together.

Everyone wins if the game is played fairly.

As far as needing a gallery in today's market, I would say that a brick & mortar gallery still has selling power. If nothing else, it is a dedicated space to show & sell art. Personally, I support the gallery system, as it is still one of the best partnerships for gathering art lovers together. It might not be the system for all artists, but from my experience, a commission percentage is well earned, & a good gallery becomes almost family. 

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on 30 Jun 2009 10:11 AM

Well said Judy - your answer is "right on target" and eloquently states the postives for both sides to work together. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience.





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on 30 Jun 2009 2:34 PM


 You've brought up some excellent questions. I agree that Galleries should notify an artist of anyone that is collecting their work; but I also understand the gallery not wanting to compete for business with those that they represent.

 It seems to me that the only solution to keep both parties happy would be for the gallery to share the list of names with the artist, and the artist to agree not to sell to those collectors directly from their studios. The biggest galleries stipulate in their contracts that the artists they represent are not to sell directly from their studios anyway.

 I've always agreed with you that galleries work for us - not the other way around. There are benefits to working with an already established gallery, but we have to decide at what price. Unless they're selling our work better than we can on our own, putting up with a business that isn't looking out for our best interest is probably wasting our time.

 Just a thought.

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