The official site for the Detroit Art & Business Institute and Andrea Rosenfeld, professional artist and business consultant to the creative community in metro Detroit and beyond.

Ask a Creative Business Advisor: How Much Commission Do Galleries Deserve?

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 1.37.54 PMAsk a Creative Business Advisor: How Much Commission Do Galleries Deserve?

Recently I spoke at an art business event in Detroit and this important and often-asked question came up:

What gallery commission is typical and why do some take 50%? It’s my work and I don’t want to give up that much money from a sale.

This is how I responded:

Very important question and one that I’m asked over and over again. Yes, it’s your work and you put your soul into it but once it’s handed over, the Commercial Art Buyers are responsible for an array of things like; constant communication with collectors, curating, hanging and removing the exhibits; commercial project managers and designers; tracking and managing payments; promotion; training their employees to support the artists and sales; insurance and so forth. Galleries must earn their commission percentage.  A gallery that merely puts art on the wall and waits for someone to walk in or doesn’t learn about the Artists and their artwork to offer educated insights to buyers shouldn’t charge a high commission rate.

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Commissions range from 70/30 (Artists benefit most) to 50/50 and in every single instance it’s up to the Artist to determine if the commission break down is worth it. The Artist should be doing their research BEFORE applying to the exhibit or accepting representation. You must review their contract, speak to others who’ve sold through the gallery about their experiences and find out EXACTLY what the gallery is going to do to earn their commission %.

And on the flip side an Artist has to earn their percentage, too. It’s not enough just to be “The Artist” with the fabulous piece to sell because there’s an abundance of fabulous pieces to sell. You also have to be a good business partner to the gallery, interior designer, retail buyer and sales rep or they won’t work with you again. They, too have certain parameters they take into account when deciding what creatives to work with and who to show to their collectors.

Ready to make more money with your art? I invite you to join the hundreds of Artists who’ve moved their business forward with Mind Your Art Business education. I developed this very affordable accelerator for SERIOUS artists who want to end their frustration and increase sales. My deep-dive but easy-to-understand course covers every aspect of your art business and is available, 24/7 for ONLY $30/class!

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~Andrea Rosenfeld
Creative Business Advisor
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Your Thoughts? What has been your experience with Gallery commissions? What makes them worth the fees they charge? Share in the comment section below.

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