View Full Version : To Thank or Not to Thank?

Donna T
01-25-2008, 11:58 AM
I recently had the good fortune of selling a painting from a group show at a gallery. My first thought was to find out who bought it and send them a card to thank them for purchasing my pastel. My husband says it might be seen as a way of 'sucking up' or looking for more business, which is a definite turn-off. I have a friend who regularly sells her work (gorgeous oils) and she also used to run her own gallery. She said she got in trouble once for sending a card because one spouse had bought a painting as a surprise gift for the other and the arrival of her card ruined the surprise. Many couples have both names listed on their checks and she can never be sure whether both people are aware of , or even approve of, the purchase. Instead, she now records the buyer's name and address and sends them invitations to her upcoming shows. I attached one of my business cards to the back of the painting and although I do not have a website (yet) I have my contact information listed. So, I ask all of you who have experience with this, what should I do? What is considered proper and professional? Thanks!!!


01-25-2008, 01:46 PM
Donna, congratulations! I agree with you, as you've actually talked yourself out of sending a thank you note. :-) I suppose the gallery thanked the customer when the sale was made, and your "baby the painting" has been adopted by a new family, so to speak. OK, I'm from another culture, so I may be way off regarding customs in the US, but I'd not send a thank you-note. Be interesting to hear what the others say.

The Imp Within says: "They should be grateful you allowed them to buy a painting from you." ;-D Posture, eh?


Deborah Secor
01-25-2008, 02:07 PM
Neat that you had a sale, Donna!

My experience is that the gallery should do the thanking, not the artist. I've way too often found that a gallery can be a little territorial about clients, and if an artist starts writing thank you notes it looks a teensy bit suspicious to them. They have a hard enough row to hoe, IMHO, without artists courting clients--and let's face it, sometimes clients figure the artist gave the gallery 'a cut', so they think that if they deal directly with the artist they can get the cut too...

I have on occasion had the gallery ask me to write a thank you note and send it to them (the gallery) to include when they contact the buyer. That sometimes gives them a nice entree to follow up the sale. And once I had a big enough sale that I sent the thank you to the gallery and asked them to forward it to the client for me because I really wanted to thank them!

With a group show sometimes the dynamic changes, but if the gallery hosted it let them stay in the driver's seat. When we do group shows on our own we all share contacts for follow-up and each handle our own sales, etc., so sending a thank you card is natural.


Donna T
01-25-2008, 05:51 PM
Thanks so much Charlie and Deborah. I will assume that the gallery thanked the buyer properly and let it be. I never thought that a gallery might be offended by the artist sending a card. I'm so glad I asked, it's not like these 'rules' are written for beginning artists anywhere. Deborah, if I ever sell anything on my own and not through a gallery I will be sure to send a card. That makes sense. Thanks again for the advice!


01-25-2008, 07:52 PM
Deborah gave you excellent advise Donna, and I concur with all she said. :thumbsup:


01-25-2008, 10:28 PM
oh- I tried sending a 'thank you note' too.... and really have to agree with Deborah... best to leave it to the gallery.