Thursday, March 30, 2006

THE VALUE OF A GALLERY

One thing that you may have noticed on this blog is that while there is a section for artist links, only one has been linked so far (and a photgrapher at that) despite my featuring two artists so far, and two artists whose work we love, as evidenced by our purchase of multiple works. The reason for that is simple, loyalty.

Both of these artists are represented by Thomas Reynolds. We only know about them because he took the time and the risk to seek them out, work with them and then feature their work. I think that it would be the height of disloyalty by us to attempt to purchase works from either gentleman outside of Thomas's gallery given all he's done to educate us.

A commenter at Edward's site asks today I also wonder whether collectors think about 1) directly supporting artists they believe in By "directly supporting" I assume that he means attending (and buying at) open studio events, attending art school shows etc. We haven't done this yet, attended official events that is, but probably will in the future since by now I think we can trust our eyes. 10 years ago, not so much. I think actually purchasing the art is the support we can offer. Perhaps there are others out there that can afford to be a patron and simply pay rent or something in exchange for discounted art or first looks? I don't know.

As I think about it, I'll also say that while the first paragraph is pretty set in stone, I will say that some gallerys seem to me to be more business than pleasure. Melicious and I go to Limn Gallery as often as possible, but don't have the same feeling about it that we do for Thomas's place, or I for Plus Ultra for that matter. Maybe that's the key for us, that personal touch from the people whose name(s) are on the door.

Perhaps that's some good advice for artists; if you want to cultivate collectors like us, choose a good small gallery with an involved owner who loves your work. They're infectious, but in that good way ;)

16 Comments:

Blogger Martha Marshall said...

Thank you for this very interesting perspective from a collector's point of view. I am a painter, and have been very seriously reevaluating how much focus to place on galleries in the future. You've confirmed for me that the collector responds to the vibes inside a gallery in the same way that the artist does. I only do business with welcoming, people-friendly galleries.

2:08 AM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger crionna said...

You're welcome. Find a good one and stick with them. You'll do well.

12:06 AM, April 02, 2006  
Anonymous Daniel Cooney said...

Right on.

7:12 AM, April 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anna L. Conti said...

Another issue you haven't mentioned is referral fees. When everyone's being honest, sales from the artist's studio to collectors from the gallery are split with the gallery. When a collector contacts an artist directly, an artist who wants to stay on good terms with her galleries will try to find out how the collector came to know her work. If it's from Gallery "X", then they get the fee. The benefit to the artist from this arrangement, is an increased sense of trust between business partners (artist & gallery) which allows the gallery to feel comfortable referring clients to the artist. Which can mean more sales for everyone.

It's distressing to me, as a painter, to have to do "re-education" with collectors who have purchased from other artist studios where the artist has steeply discounted work sold from the studio on the theory that they don't need to "add" the gallery fee.

The price of a work of art reflects not only the materials, artist's time and so forth, but also the promotional costs of getting it in front of the public. Sometimes the gallery bears these costs, sometimes the artist does. It's not always easy to say for sure who contributed how much to a specific piece. But over the long haul, if you apply the same percentage to each piece, it works out.

Even when I'm certain that the buyer has come directly to my studio, say via the internet, and has never set foot in a gallery, to cut the promotional costs from the price of a painting is to negate my own promotional efforts.

So in this studio, the price is the same, whether you get it from me, or you get it from the gallery. In fact, since no one drops in on me without an appointment, I always notify the gallery if a client has scheduled a visit. We compare notes and make sure we're on the same page with the price, any discounts offered, etc. I wouldn't work with a gallery I didn't trust enough to operate that way.

12:46 PM, April 02, 2006  
Blogger Daniel Cooney said...

Not to mention that if you sell your work at a significant discount you are only decreasing your own market value. Many artists are seeing the short term rewards of cheating their dealers while a good dealer is focusing on the long term value and market of the artist's and dealer's career.

5:18 PM, April 02, 2006  
Anonymous Mike said...

As a collector, I've never bought from an artist directly. Dealers play a vital role in the future value of the artwork.
I think there are a number of ways to "Support An Artist" Attending their openings, lectures, book signings etc. because crowds always help the artists reputation and market values. But I also look to introduce other collectors & friends to the artists work.

And of course.. nothing is better than writing positive reviews about the artist on a BLOG!!

12:40 PM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger crionna said...

Excellent points all. And thanks for the links! I'll be sure to reciprocate this weekend.

12:18 AM, April 06, 2006  
Anonymous Mark Dixon said...

I think artists and dealers should have a pre-arranged agreement about out of the studio (or over the Internet) sales.
For example, if I have a dealer working for me in Montreal and I sell a painting to someone in Oregon after they saw the work on the web site that I made and promoted, then the dealer should not get very much if anything at all.

10:16 AM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger crionna said...

As a collector, I've never bought from an artist directly.

We have, but it was from an artist that we discovered not through a gallery, but through our friendship with the artist's brother. Whether he let his gallery know or not I don't know.

if I have a dealer working for me in Montreal and I sell a painting to someone in Oregon after they saw the work on the web site that I made and promoted, then the dealer should not get very much if anything at all.

I guess that depends on how you see your dealer. Are they truly just an outlet for your work in the same way Wal*Mart is an outlet for peas, or are they a partner who has helped you make better work, supported you when you were hurting, financially or emotionally, promoted you when others would not.

It seems to me that it sh/would be a lot like a marriage. Say you didn't have that gallery selling your work in Montreal; would the work that you completed and sold have been the same, and if not, would it have sold? My work requires confidence in my abilities and ideas, I can't imagine my confidence level being the same without my wife to lean on, discuss with even support. I think producing art requires the same type of things. YMMV though.

6:02 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

I understand the need to support artists who haven't found gallery representation yet. But a good dealer is so important to an artist's career that cutting galleries out of the equation seems to benefit the collector more than the artist.

2:53 PM, April 14, 2006  
Blogger Linda Blondheim said...

This is an interesting blog and I enjoyed ready the colector's point of view. I always send my patrons to which ever gallery ahs my work, unless it is in my studio. I still charge my retail rate from my studio and my website.
Linda Blondheim

http://www.lindablondheim.com

4:18 PM, April 18, 2006  
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