Does it Make Sense To Show Your Art in Commercial (Consignment) Galleries?

I’ve presently discussed the ins and outs of displaying your artwork in “vanity” galleries and co-op galleries. I would like to round out the dialogue by thinking about irrespective of whether it’s highly recommended for an artist to exhibit his/her function in a common, consignment gallery. I won’t fake to be goal about this model, considering that this is the product my gallery operates below, but I hope the feedback will aid retain the discussion well balanced.

When most artists convey a wish to get gallery publicity, it is likely a traditional gallery that they are imagining. In a consignment gallery, the artist signs a agreement to display function with the gallery and then delivers artwork to the gallery for display and sale. The artist retains possession of the artwork although it is on show until eventually it is marketed, at which time the gallery remits payment for the artwork, minus the gallery fee.

Unlike the other gallery types mentioned formerly, there is typically no up-front rate to clearly show art with the gallery. The gallery assumes most of the hazard of artwork not advertising, but in return for assuming that threat, they typically acquire a 40-50% (and occasionally even higher) commission on the sale of artwork. This construction offers a real incentive for the gallery to actively promote and promote artwork. If the gallery doesn’t provide art, they really don’t have earnings – it is as uncomplicated as that.

It would be a mistake to say that all consignment galleries are produced equal. There are many distinct sorts of consignment galleries. Some of these galleries grew out of body stores that started exhibiting art for sale together with their frames. Some are designed by art patrons who have a adore for the visual arts and a motivation to share artwork they really like with their local community (and they usually also have deep pockets to aid fund the gallery). There are smaller galleries that border on becoming far more of a gift shop than a accurate gallery. There are also galleries that have been close to for over a hundred yrs and are marketing tens of millions of bucks really worth of artwork to collectors from around the planet.

We ought to in all probability have discussions about each individual of these types of galleries, and maybe we can in the responses and in potential posts. For today’s dialogue, I’m going to concentration on galleries that are like mine, as I suspect these galleries make up a good part of the common gallery marketplace.

My spouse and I established Xanadu Gallery in 2001, and we have targeted on selling early- to mid-job living artists. Typical costs of art in the gallery vary from $300 – $10,000 (although we do have numerous sculptures that variety from $45,000-$95,000), and most of our revenue are in the $1500-$7500 range.

I symbolize artists who range in working experience from becoming incredibly new to the art industry (less than 5 a long time) to really nicely-founded artists (30+ years in the market place). My gallery house is about 2300 sq. ft.

In other words, by the specs, I have a really regular gallery. There are numerous galleries across the nation and, without a doubt, all around the globe that are extremely similar to ours. I like to consider that Xanadu is executing some intriguing points to a lot more proactively sector to collectors and that we are innovating on the web and in the ways that we interact with artists. For the goal of this discussion, nonetheless, I’m likely to overlook what we are carrying out outside the norm and concentrate on what we do in terms of symbolizing artists and offering their get the job done in our bricks-and-mortar gallery.

As in my prior posts on charge-for-illustration galleries and co-op galleries, I’d like to lay out some of the strengths and drawback of operating with a conventional gallery.


  • For the reason that a regular gallery is reliant on product sales for revenue, extended-standing regular galleries are likely to have bigger product sales volumes than charge-for-representation or co-op galleries. It is hard to again this declare up with facts, but from the stories I hear from artists who have revealed in “vanity,” co-op, and/or classic galleries, classic galleries offer a lot more operate. I lately read the product sales figures for a major co-op gallery. This is a gallery with a substantial space and a number of good artists represented. The gallery’s total gross sales over the training course of three a long time have been considerably less than just one 12 months of our artwork income. I hope that doesn’t audio like bragging simply because I really don’t intend it to be. I only want to illustrate that as a business gallery that has to offer to survive, we have to deliver a significant amount of revenue to continue to be in organization.
  • Connected to the 1st issue, rates of artwork in classic galleries tend to be bigger than in other galleries.
  • Compared with co-op or charge-for-representation galleries, there is a considerably smaller sized up-entrance cost for an artist to demonstrate in a traditional gallery. Since of this, the initial financial chance for an artist exhibiting in a conventional gallery tends to be reduced.
  • Traditional galleries tend to have far better-properly trained, more proactive gross sales employees. Observe-up with clientele tends to be improved.
  • Quite a few artists feel a feeling of status by displaying in classic galleries. If a gallery was prepared to take on your operate, they will have to feel assured that your operate will provide. In some strategies, it can truly feel like an independent validation of your art.


  • Standard galleries charge increased commissions than other galleries.
  • There is no promise a standard gallery will market your artwork. Increased in general quantity is no ensure for any person artist that their operate will sell.
  • For the reason that the regular gallery assumes additional upfront hazard, this business model tends to be much more risky. Galleries go out of organization at an alarming price, specially when the financial system is terrible. Regrettably, we’ve all listened to stories of galleries remaining slow to pay for product sales or going out of company with no obtaining paid for marketed artwork. So, while upfront chance might be less, long-expression danger may well really be bigger with a classic gallery.
  • It can be complicated for an artist to split into the professional gallery current market. For the reason that conventional galleries acquire on far more risk, they tend be pretty conservative in what they will show. Regular galleries have to have a substantial degree of self confidence that an artist’s function will sell before they will commit precious exhibit house. For an artist new to the art sector, co-op or “vanity” galleries can present place for the reason that it’s significantly less of a hazard for the gallery considering that the artist is shelling out up front for illustration or membership.
  • As the art market will become more aggressive (with on line sales encroaching on gallery revenue) the quantity of classic galleries is lowering.

In my other posts on galleries, many of you commented that “success relies upon on how properly the gallery is run.” This applies to cost-for-representation galleries, to co-op galleries, and to standard professional galleries. A properly-run “vanity” gallery will almost certainly sell much more of your do the job than a inadequately-operate traditional gallery. So, when once again, in advance of you start out working with a traditional gallery that wishes to have your operate, it will make sense to investigate the gallery and conduct some due diligence. Chat to other artists who are demonstrating in the gallery and obtain out if they have had a excellent expertise and if their romantic relationship with the gallery has been useful to them.

If you come to a decision you want to pursue interactions with conventional galleries, I would humbly propose a reading of my e book “Starving” to Profitable. I wrote the e book to help artists put together by themselves to properly strategy galleries, and I give a tried out and true technique for creating your strategy to galleries.

Distinctive Strokes for Distinctive Folks

We have now talked about “vanity” galleries, co-op galleries, and traditional galleries. The remarks to these posts have been awesome. The ordeals you’ve shared will support other artists decide where to clearly show their art, so thank you! Of study course, as an artist is selecting exactly where to display their work, the three styles of galleries we have mentioned are not the only solutions. Many artists these times are foregoing gallery illustration completely and going the route of self-representation. We will talk about the ups and downs of self-illustration in an forthcoming post.

What Do You Assume?

Is it worthwhile displaying in common galleries? Have you had principally constructive or damaging encounters working with galleries? What did I leave out of the strengths and drawbacks checklist? Make sure you share your thoughts and advice about working with classic galleries in the comments under. If you have one thing unfavorable to say about a gallery, remember to really do not use the identify of the gallery.

You should Share this Publish!

If you discover the posts and discussions on helpful, would you be sure to share them with your social media contacts or put up a backlink on your blog? The broader the audience the posts arrive at, the much better the discussion. Thank you!

Mildred K. Pearson

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