Galleries: A mixed blessing

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I have always sold my work directly to my customers. There is a sense of control that comes from dealing directly with the buyer. You talk to them, they talk to you. If they are not happy with something, you can address it face to face.

Recently, I have been working on getting some smaller pieces into various galleries. I thought this would be a good way to get these pieces out there without having to spend so much face time trying to sell items that would be tagged at less than a grand. But after seeing the paperwork and realizing that, as often happens, the content provider ends up at the bottom of the food chain.

For example, one very prestigious gallery that recently accepted some of my work took over a month just to get the consignment form to me for signing. When I read their terms, they were nothing like what I had been told by one of the gallery owners. Like that the split was 50/50. The way it is spelled out in the agreement, the gallery can charge up to 2-1/2 times the artist's price without upping the artist's share. So the actual split can be more like 40/60 or even 30/70.

Another caveat gives the gallery 45 days to pay the artist after the item is sold. This is justified by a 30-day return policy with payment being made to the artist "no later than two weeks after the end of the 30-day period."

I'm working on a few guidelines for dealing with galleries that I will post later this week.

D.D.

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