Tuesday, December 23, 2014

 When To Say No.......

A client contacted  me a few weeks ago to inquire if this painting was  that they had seen in one of my galleries last year "still available." I told them, "Yes, it was with the gallery"  where they had originally viewed the piece. They then wrote back and asked what I might have  that "wasn't in the gallery," but in my studio.  From past experience I recognized that what they were after was a cheaper price by trying to buy  directly from the artist instead of the gallery.

However, they received a bit of an education, as I when I sent them images, I also sent them prices in step with the market value. Many clients are under the impression that if you buy from the artist, you can "get it for less." 

The client then contacted the gallery and inquired about the piece. When quoted the price, they said they did not want to spend 'that much." The gallery offered to contribute shipping and  although we normally do not discount prices, since they were a repeat client, we offered them a collector reduction of -10%. They ended up not purchasing the piece as they wanted to "spend less."

Many galleries as well as colleagues of mine would have chased the dollar and gone for an even deeper price reduction. Discounting one's work like this is never a good idea. As an artist, you work long and hard to establish a market value for your work. Collectors, who have purchased work from you would not take kindly to learning that a similar size painting was sold for significantly less than the one they purchased last year. And, your galleries, who depend upon you to be professional, would not take kindly to your undercutting them in the marketplace.

So when to take the sale and when to let it go? If the client is trying to drive the price of your work, instead of the other way around, give it a long hard think. I let  this sale go, and I told the gallery to do so as well. It can be tough to do in time when the bills need to be paid and the revenue stream is slim. However, discounting your work for a quick sale only serves to erode the value of your art, your career your relationship with collectors. Is it worth the price?

12 x 12
Oil on Linen
Available at Turnbull Fine Art


Vickie Martin said...

i wholeheartedly agree. Gallery owners have told me they pretty much know which artists discount their pieces when sold directly - that is not a good practice. A price is a price is a price! A small discount to repeat clients or the purchase of multiple pieces can be considered.

liza myers said...

I've had similar experiences several times. It's a very bad idea to go around your gallery. The only time I sold a piece that had been in a gallery directly was when a collector of my work told me that she had gone to the gallery to see the piece and was told by the attendant that the price was unavailable. She had only gone to the gallery because I sent her an invite to my opening, though she was unable attend. She went to the gallery (a co-op sort of) just before the show closed. Many times I have been asked for discounts. When I had my own gallery (for 9 years) I was more able to negociate

Alyson Stanfield said...

Way to go, Julie! Just as you should have done.