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Finding a Good Art Dealer

Nov 13 2017

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If you’re an artist showing and selling your art, you’ll know how important it is to find a reputable, transparent and hardworking art dealer. Similarly, if you’re an art collector, you will want to work with an art dealer who is responsible and honest. 

Here’s are some tips on what to look for and avoid while finding an art dealer! 

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First and foremost, you’ll want someone who is easy to work and communicate with. Art dealers should respect the artists and collectors they work with, and should not consider them less important than themselves or their gallery.

Be cautious about art dealers who over-promise. “Yes! We can sell your art! We can make you famous!” Some art dealers will say almost anything to sign on artists. Professional art dealers do not make huge and empty promises. 

It is important to note that art dealers should not try to control the artists they work with… be it in the form of creative direction, pricing, or interfering with previous and current business and personal relationships.

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As an artist, it is important that you keep track of every single piece of work you leave in the hands of the dealer. It’s alright for the dealer to have access to such things, but there should be open communication between artist and dealer. The dealer should not have complete control of the ‘numbers’, inventory, payments and other business matters.

Some dealers may ask artists to sign contracts that give them exclusive rights to sell their artwork over an extended period of time. Be careful of such offers, especially if it’s the first time you’re dealing with a dealer. Never go nationally or internationally with a single dealer, and keep the time frames of your contract to a 3 – 6-month maximum. Artists should take their relationships with their dealer step by step.

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Another tip is to pay attention to how the art dealer handles art. If they know how to carefully and correctly handle art, it will not only show their experience but also their respect and care for artists and their work. Ensure both parties clarify details such as how you would like your art shipped. Also, check if your dealer has insurance before selling anything with them.

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Exercise due dilligence and get in touch with artists who are represented by a particular art dealer to get information before you sign on with them. Find out if they pay their artists on time, are fair with their pay, and are transparent with agreements and commission percentages. Artists should be notified about the sale of their art in a timely manner. They should also be involved with deciding discounts on art, returns and so on. Ensure that your dealer is not unreasonably reducing prices or selling at inflated prices and keeping the profits.

Ultimately, it all comes down to honesty and professionalism. A good dealer should be happy to provide and sign contracts, agreements, consignment lists and any other documents that formalise the arrangements between themselves and the artist. If they refuse to do so or evade questions about gallery policies, shipping costs, insurance, pay and so on, it’s usually a clear sign something isn’t right.

In conclusion, follow these steps as a starting point. Do your research, don’t rush blindly into any deals, and you’ll be able to find an art dealer that's best for you!

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Don’t wait until you sell your art to decide how to ship it! Your local PACK & SEND are trained and experienced experts in packing and shipping fragile art of all sizes, shapes, and weights. Pop into your nearest Service Centre today to find out more! 

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