Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Can art prices be negotiated?

That is one of the most common questions that newbie art collectors ask me and one that pops up all the time at the ubiquitous expert panels on collecting art, selling art, making art or whatever art. 

My first warning is to always advise everyone to beware of "art galleries" that have "art sales." Although art is a commodity, a reputable art gallery doesn't have "sales" with drastic price reductions. 

All that would accomplish is to destroy the price base of an artist. 

Leave the "sales" approach to rug stores. 

A collector can always try to negotiate prices, as some dealers are open to it and some aren't. Most dealers automatically give known or returning collectors a "collector's discount", and artists should be aware of this industry policy, and it should certainly be specified in the contract. 

Most reputable dealers will try to accommodate a client's requests and will often consult the artist on specific pricing issues, such as the case (in my own experience), where a collector wanted to acquire 40 paintings at once from an artist, but clearly also wanted a major discount. 

If you are a collector, beginning or not, and really want that particular piece of art, but because of your financial issues cannot afford the offered price, be honest and say so and see where that leads. Often the dealer can offer you other work by the artist in your price range. 

Be weary of price reductions of more than 10% as huge discounts hurt the artist's sales record and most reputable dealers will not do them. It is also perfectly reasonable to ask for a small discount if you are buying several pieces of art at once. 

And the most common mistake made by artists themselves: selling their own work directly at vastly reduced prices from the gallery price. This is perhaps the most fatal mistake that any artist can do to destroy his/her work's price base. 

Prices should be aligned and essentially the same regardless of where they are sold, at the gallery, at the studio or at the art fair.