Past Posts

February 2010
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A Gallery wants money to represent me….

The Question:

> I just had my second offer for gallery representation…the first was a few years ago and I didn’t like the gallery or the owner so would not have done it anyway, but that one also was offered at a cost to me. This one wants almost $3,000 to represent me. Of course I am not doing that, but my question is, is this, how all of the galleries are? Do they all charge the artist before hanging/selling any of their work?

Our answer:

The answer is no. You don’t pay to be represented.

The basic idea is that the gallery sells your work and takes a percentage. The gallery makes no money unless they sell art. The gallery and the artist both make money from the sale of art. The artist and the gallery both make money from the same source. They both have the same goal. (Sell art)

The idea of paying the gallery to represent you is a totally different scenario. That gallery makes money by signing up artists. YOU are the source. The gallery doesn’t need to sell your art, just sign up more artists.

This has been the model for online galleries. We were first approached years ago. We would pay a couple of hundred dollars plus a monthly fee to have a web page on an online gallery with hundreds of other artists. Again, their goal was to sign ups artists, not sell the artists work. The artist is the source of the money for them.



2 comments to A Gallery wants money to represent me….

  • Thank you for the clarity, but you may also want to also use the term “vanity gallery.”

    Vanity galleries make their money from the artist wishing to be represented by them. It seems that these are prolific and popular. I rarely see any sales from them, but artists are lining up to be juried into these vanity galleries.

    I hesitate to give money up front to a gallery to sell my work. Most of the time, the promotional materials, etc. are of poor quality, the art is horrifying, and the prices are astronomical. Why would I want my art hanging next to something that brings my quality down. Another sign of a vanity gallery: too many artists displaying their work in a too-large space!

    Thanks for answering the question. I continue on my path.

    Angeline-Marie of

  • Thanks, Good point :-) Vanity Galleries used to be far more prevalent in “book” form.(ie: Vanity press) You paid to have yourself in the “up and coming artists” book and in turn also purchased the book for friends and family! Online Galleries are similar…you pay to be there.