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Photography Question 
Heather L. Jacks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/19/2003
 

Gallery representation


Is it normal for a gallery to expect a fee for representation plus commission on any sales? If so, what is an average amount?


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11/28/2005 8:17:49 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  It depends on what you get and for how much. Most galleries I know of here and there are a lot of them (Carmel CA), take anywhere from 40-50% of the asking price of a painting, photo or sculpture and they don't charge an additional rep fee. Reps actually hype or find prospects to pitch the services to of the artists they represent.

Take a look at the website for the Society of Professional Artists Representatives (SPAR) and you'll probably get some useful information there. Also, your written contract with the gallery should completely detail what it is they intend to do for you both in terms of representation and selling your work.

If your prospective gallery is asking for a low commission, say 25-30% then the additional rep fee is probably their way of asking you to contribute to their monthly overhead and perhaps bring them closer to what commercial galleries charge. Seewhatimeaneh?
Mark


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11/29/2005 2:12:41 PM

 
Heather L. Jacks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/19/2003
  Thanks Mark. The fee is 2900.00, but they only take 30% commission on sales. They provide promotion via the internet, ( web-site and catalog). They host an opening reception and send out invitations. They guarantee at least one group exhibition and one year of gallery representation. How does that sound? I will check out the SPAR web-site. Thank you. Heather


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11/29/2005 2:35:42 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  You know Heather, that's 3 grand !! PLUS a commission of 30%. That seems like an awful lot to me. What I'd do is talk to some other artists who've had their work galleried by these folks and get their spin on how effective it was for their own marketing. I'd also get another opinion from another gallery.

If I were you, I'd also get an independent assessment or two from a photographic rep. Why? Well, historically, gallery owners install work of an artist they think they can sell based on the market as they know it at the time and the type of work they may display. They assume a risk of non-sales measured against a reasonable commission that covers their overhead and essentially renting space in their gallery. Genuine reps only take on clients that they think they can sell, and like gallery owners, it's mutually beneficial to the artist and themselves.

On the other hand, there are a lot of folks out there who try to take advantage of artists by suggesting they'll promote them for a fee then take the fee and don't really promote them. Like I said, 3K plus 30% is a lot to me. Essentially heather, it sounds like you've run across a gallery owner who doesn't want to take much, if any risk, while double dipping by excessively charging you for collateral services that you clearly may not benefit from at all. Buyer (and artist) beware !
Seewhatimeanhuh?
Take it light.
Mark


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11/30/2005 2:01:43 PM

 
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