Working with Your Gallery to Get the Most Sales

Artwork Archive | April 12, 2017 (Updated September 20, 2022)

Your artwork is out of your hands once it is dropped at the gallery door—at least, that’s what many artists are led to believe.

But when did sitting on the sidelines ever help your team win the game? While galleries have valuable connections and expertise to help your art sell, in the end, you are the one who is really depending on your art to sell.

You should be doing everything in your power to make sure your art career prospers and that means helping your gallery throughout the process. And, if you’re worried about stepping on any toes, there’s a way to handle this without being seen as an annoyance.

We’ll show you how to work with your gallery the right way, so you can stay on top of your art sales. Check it out:

1. Start the Conversation

It can be hard to remember, but galleries are businesses, too! Just like you, they can get caught up in their own problems like staff changes, personal issues, promoting other artists, or competition from new galleries. Sometimes that means selling your art accidentally takes a backseat.

But, since it’s your art career on the line, you are the one who needs to make the first effort to ensure that you are getting the most out of this representation.

So, what’s the first step? Check in with your gallery about how things are going with your art.

If sales are doing well, can they be better? If sales are slow, is it something on their end or yours? Don’t be afraid to ask them directly about what they think the issue is. You can’t find a solution unless you are addressing the right problem, and an honest answer from your expert gallerist will point you in the right direction.

Artist Jordan Scott has gained representation with many galleries and maintains good relationships with them through reaching out on a regular basis. He suggests contacting them with a simple "'Hi, how are you? Wondering if there was any interest.' Not asking for anything. Just saying, 'Hey, remember me?'"

If you go about it professionally, they will be more than happy to work with you. Remember, you are partners. When you succeed, they succeed. 

Jordan echoes this sentiment, "The main thing you can do to maintain gallery relationships is to be professional and prepared when they ask you for prices or images. You want to make sure you not only get it to them within a day or so but that it's presented in a professional manner."

2. Be Proactive

Even if a slowdown is on the gallerist’s end, keep the dialogue going by asking what you can do to help boost your art sales.

Do they think rotating in some new pieces would help?

Are certain colors, sizes, and prices flying off the shelves or while others stay stagnant?

Do you need to update your artist statement?

Can you help develop marketing materials or host any events?

No demands, just a sincere desire to grow. When you’re proactive about your success, you’ll avoid being seen as pushy and come across as a supportive team player instead. Whether they can use your help or it’s out of your hands, it’s best to leave no stone unturned for your art sales.

3. Don’t Wait

It’s awful to think that time is passing and you could have been making sales. Don’t wait until it’s too late to reach out to your gallery.

Stay on tops of things by using Artwork Archive’s Insights feature to monitor your artwork's performance in your galleries across the globe. Keeping an eye on your sales at different locations will help you make more informed decisions about when it’s time to reach back out to each gallery.

What’s the bottom line?

Your hands aren’t tied as soon as your artwork is hung. You can work with your gallery to get the most sales possible. All it takes is monitoring your art’s performance, turning to your gallery for guidance, and taking part in the selling process when needed.

Get the most out of gallery representation by keeping track of your art sales with Artwork Archive. Sign up for your free 14-day trial here.

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