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Old 12-07-2004, 02:12 AM   #1
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Gallery percentage?




Is there a 'standard' percentage a gallery might expect for securing a portrait commission?

Has anyone found representation via a gallery to be effective in this regard? And what would you want to know about a gallery before getting involved in a business arrangement?
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Old 12-07-2004, 10:50 AM   #2
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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Typically a gallery gets 40%. I have heard of some artists getting commissions through galleries, but not many. It seems that the galleries don't want to lose their control of the customer contact information and feel that the artist is likely to cut them out of their percentage.

As far as what you'd want to know about any gallery, I'd recommend reading Calvin Goodman's excellent art marketing book. I'd link to it on Amazon but they ask for one to two months to order it. You can get it through the author via this link: http://www.portraitartist.com/resources/consultants.htm

It costs $65 but is a very fat book and is worth its weight in gold for art marketing and business advice of all kinds.
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Old 12-07-2004, 11:54 AM   #3
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Thanks Michele!

I've been approached by a gallery and it isn't clear to me how a business relationship with them would be advantageous to me. So, I was leery, but hesitant to burn any bridges.

You've reinforced my skepticism, and I'm thinking that's a good thing! I'll look into the book, too.
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Old 12-07-2004, 08:17 PM   #4
Kimberly Dow Kimberly Dow is offline
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Terri,

Galleries get (usually) 50% on sales, but in my limited experience you can get them much lower on a portrait commission. The smaller ones I have dealt with didnt usually do this sort of thing - so I brought it up and said that I'd be happy to give them 10% if the client hears about me from them - or they give them one of my cards. I'm sure this is lower than a bigger gallery would want, but it worked for me in these particular places!
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:13 AM   #5
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Thanks Kim! 10% sounds much better, doesn't it?
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Old 12-08-2004, 01:23 PM   #6
Sharon Knettell Sharon Knettell is offline
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Try the Copley Society

www.copleysociety.org

Terry, they have a portrait division. It is a society that you have to be juried into in Boston. It costs about $35 for the application process. The dues are $125 a year and the DO get you commissions. It is 30%.

The Vose Gallery (www.vosegalleries.com) in Boston also represents portrait artists, but you have to be very established. They take 30% also and are exceedingly old school and gentlemanly to deal with. Their stationery is genuine engraving. WHOO WHOO!
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Old 12-11-2004, 02:44 AM   #7
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Sharon-

The Copley society looks like it might be interesting once I've got more of a portfolio (and slides! ) to submit -- and a bit more courage, I guess. Someday...

Thanks!
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Old 12-15-2004, 03:12 PM   #8
Jane Bradley Jane Bradley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimberly Dow
Terri,

Galleries get (usually) 50% on sales, but in my limited experience you can get them much lower on a portrait commission. The smaller ones I have dealt with didnt usually do this sort of thing - so I brought it up and said that I'd be happy to give them 10% if the client hears about me from them - or they give them one of my cards. I'm sure this is lower than a bigger gallery would want, but it worked for me in these particular places!

Why would a gallery charge less for a portrait commission than their usual rate?
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:40 PM   #9
Kimberly Dow Kimberly Dow is offline
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Because they do not have to take up wall space for the painting since it is a commission (unless they are just displaying one example of an artists work) and they do not have to sell it, negotiate it, etc. In my experience the galleries I have dealt with have done nothing more than pass along my information - then trusted me to pass along their percentage. I dont think most galleries want to get into the commission business, but if you make it easy by allowing them to just hand out your card if someone inquires about a portrait - then they make a little bit and you get mentioned to someone who has specifically asked about your product.
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