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Old 10-31-2017, 09:41 PM
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paperpainter paperpainter is offline
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Do galleries always claim a commission?

I'm retired and a novice to gallery sales. Recently, I was accepted into a local collaborative gallery that I admire. I'll be installing some paintings there on Friday.

My member agreement seems straightforward, but I do wonder if they have exclusive rights to sales. This topic is not mentioned. I do intend to continue marketing my work on my website, business cards, word-of-mouth, etc.

Question: In general, If one sells a piece listed in a gallery's inventory through other channels, do galleries usually still claim a commission?

Of course, I'll clarify this with my gallery's manager on Friday. Thanks.
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Old 11-01-2017, 05:16 AM
tiago.dagostini tiago.dagostini is offline
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Even if legally not it woudl damage your relation with the gallery.

After all one could see the painting in the gallery THEN contact you trough internet to buy the work by a lower price. The gallery would have done it's part of the deal.. but gained nothing on it.

You might want to consider your relationship with the gallery.
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:56 PM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

I have found that all legitimate galleries take a commission after a sale. (Vanity galleries often look for upfront non refundable payments and possible commissions to show work;Beware). Coops are a different type of gallery since it is a membership gallery. Each coop has its own bylaws but from a general ethics point of view, if because a gallery shows a specific piece of your artwork and that artwork sells outside of the gallery, the artist should honor the commission agreement. If the sale is completely unrelated to the gallery showing then you have an argument against paying a commission. However, this situation can cause conflict with your gallery owner/coop administrators. Definitely double check your contractual agreement. Mutual trust is essential between an artist and gallery. Good luck with your coop
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Old 11-02-2017, 01:29 AM
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paperpainter paperpainter is offline
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

I found this informative thread that has a long comment section with a wide range of opinions on gallery representation:
https://theabundantartist.com/why-ar...epresentation/
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Old 11-02-2017, 01:43 AM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by artbymdp
I have found that all legitimate galleries take a commission after a sale. (Vanity galleries often look for upfront non refundable payments and possible commissions to show work;Beware). Coops are a different type of gallery since it is a membership gallery. Each coop has its own bylaws but from a general ethics point of view, if because a gallery shows a specific piece of your artwork and that artwork sells outside of the gallery, the artist should honor the commission agreement. If the sale is completely unrelated to the gallery showing then you have an argument against paying a commission. However, this situation can cause conflict with your gallery owner/coop administrators. Definitely double check your contractual agreement. Mutual trust is essential between an artist and gallery. Good luck with your coop

Yes, I understand that any business agreement has to be first based on trust. However, the internet has changed the art world. In the past, if a person saw a work in a gallery and tried to arrange for a sale around the corner that would obviously be unethical. But now, someone thousands of miles away might see the piece on an artist's website and ask to buy it. Does the artist still insist that they contact the local gallery? Either way, I'm thrilled to try out the gallery experience in a high-traffic location.

Last edited by paperpainter : 11-02-2017 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 11-02-2017, 12:22 PM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paperpainter
Yes, I understand that any business agreement has to be first based on trust. However, the internet has changed the art world. In the past, if a person saw a work in a gallery and tried to arrange for a sale around the corner that would obviously be unethical. But now, someone thousands of miles away might see the piece on an artist's website and ask to buy it. Does the artist still insist that they contact the local gallery? Either way, I'm thrilled to try out the gallery experience in a high-traffic location.
A gallery agreement should address this specific issue. It is a real concern in today's world and you should not be tied to an exclusivity clause that may not exist. If it is not addressed in the coop bylaws maybe you could send them an email and ask for their position on the matter. This way you have it in writing. Personally, if I show artwork elsewhere online that is exhibited by the gallery (not a coop) that represents my work, I typically caption the piece with the gallery association. This avoids conflict. However a coop gallery is different since you are a paying member and their amount of representation is usually limited and from experience passive.
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Old 11-02-2017, 05:33 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

When I have something on my website that is currently hanging in a gallery I make it clear on the website that it can be seen at that gallery, including the address and that they can buy it at the gallery or directly from me on my website. If I sell it myself, as long as the sale happened while it was hanging in the gallery, regardless of how the buyer found the painting, then they are due a commission in my opinion, even if it doesn't specifically say that in my contract. The only way I would be comfortable selling something myself with no commission due the gallery would be if it was an out of state / area sale and the buyer made it clear they did not see it first in the gallery, AND this exception was clearly stated in the gallery agreement.

If you don't want to pay the commission if you sell it yourself, then you should not have that piece in the gallery or have the exceptions in writing.
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Old 11-06-2017, 05:59 PM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

I have now clarified my (coop) gallery's policy on this topic. They say it's fine with them if a member has a website that drives a sale to the artist from out-of-the-area. In that case, they will not take a commission, since the sales lead did not originate with the gallery. I'm guessing that once they improve there own website and marketing, this policy may be modified to reflect their efforts to sell artwork. Thanks for everyone's input.
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Old 11-07-2017, 11:24 AM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Sounds like you found a coop with a fair sense of reason. Enjoy your coop experience and best of luck with your art.
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:59 PM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paperpainter
I have now clarified my (coop) gallery's policy on this topic. They say it's fine with them if a member has a website that drives a sale to the artist from out-of-the-area. In that case, they will not take a commission, since the sales lead did not originate with the gallery. I'm guessing that once they improve there own website and marketing, this policy may be modified to reflect their efforts to sell artwork. Thanks for everyone's input.

It would seem to me that only "walk-ins" are gallery originated buyers. Artists do a lot to get people to go to see their art at the gallery-- thus all these buyers are artist originated buyers. Kind of an interesting insight.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:42 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

They sound pretty easy going. I think its great that they are going to allow that.
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:57 PM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Use Her Name
It would seem to me that only "walk-ins" are gallery originated buyers. Artists do a lot to get people to go to see their art at the gallery-- thus all these buyers are artist originated buyers. Kind of an interesting insight.
What I have encountered in the past is a conversation that goes something like this, " I saw your artwork in a gallery but would prefer to buy it from you instead. Could you offer me a discount since I know the gallery takes a commission." My response was simple, "I am sorry but I have an agreement with that gallery. I appreciate your interest in my artwork but you really should purchase it through them." I also inform the gallery of this business discussion. If anything, the lost sale resulted in a strengthened relationship between the gallery and me.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:17 AM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Update: within a few days, the gallery manager reversed herself on this policy, declaring that if it's hanging on the wall in the gallery, it's has to be sold through the gallery, regardless of where the sales lead originated. I'm OK with this as I'm happy to gain some gallery experience (despite the gallery's lack of online marketing for each artist's inventory). However, the sudden policy reversal somewhat concerns me.
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Old 11-10-2017, 11:13 AM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by artbymdp
What I have encountered in the past is a conversation that goes something like this, " I saw your artwork in a gallery but would prefer to buy it from you instead. Could you offer me a discount since I know the gallery takes a commission." My response was simple, "I am sorry but I have an agreement with that gallery. I appreciate your interest in my artwork but you really should purchase it through them." I also inform the gallery of this business discussion. If anything, the lost sale resulted in a strengthened relationship between the gallery and me.

I totally agree that if they saw the artwork at a gallery (or at the gallery website), the commission should go to the gallery. That is the way that things are done around here. However, this arrangement is not written in stone. You can always refuse to sign the contract. The way I see it, is that the artist has contracted for the gallery to have a time-limited ability to get a commission off of work. This would make the arrangement a consignment arrangement. The gallery makes no statements whatsoever regarding the ability to sell your work. A work (even from an artist in their stable) should not be accepted if there is no potential buyer. From what I have seen, it is always a crap shoot, and therefore actually turning away a cash customer in order to make nice with the people who are holding the sale hostage is a unusual idea.

Adding 50% to 75% for the use of space begins to look a bit usurious if the gallery is not doing much work for their commission. This addition of money makes it far less likely that you will sell your piece. As you have seen, "your" price" is acceptable to the buyer, but "your price plus the additional 50%" is not acceptable. Your gamble is whether adding 50% (or whatever the commission is) will be a benefit or a detriment. Could you sell your work if you sold it for 50% less? Probably. Do you have the customers? That is what the gallery is betting on, that you do not. But even in a person's hometown, it is plausible that you may become popular enough to raise enough potential customers.

Don't sign a contract if you have to go back later to have something explained again.

Last edited by Use Her Name : 11-10-2017 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:56 PM
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Re: Do galleries always claim a commission?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Use Her Name
I totally agree that if they saw the artwork at a gallery (or at the gallery website), the commission should go to the gallery. That is the way that things are done around here. However, this arrangement is not written in stone. You can always refuse to sign the contract...
Don't sign a contract if you have to go back later to have something explained again.
You certainly should take the time to review the contract. Take it home and read it over a few times. Ask any and all questions up front. Agreed to changes need to be made in writing and before signing. (Always get a signed contract for your records). However, if you want to use the services of a gallery but refuse to sign their contract/agreement, you would be turned away.
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