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Thread: Buying artwork from a gallery

  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    Buying artwork from a gallery

    Iíve found a nice piece that I would like to purchase. Whatís the etiquette re getting a deal from a gallery please or is it a bit moot?

    Itís not a hugely expensive piece (£1,175) by Paul Oz and Iíd be looking to pay outright. Ironically heís in a nearby town (c/o the gallery) in July so wondering if I should wait until then.

  2. #2
    Master
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    Itís not like watches, thereís no RRP and the price is often negotiable with both the artist and the gallery. Iíve asked politely if thereís any scope for negotiation on price, and thereís always been some wiggle room.

  3. #3
    Master
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    Asking if there's 'wiggle room' invites a "no"... or a very small discount.

    If you don't feel the art is worth the price, then tell them what you feel it is worth, offer to pay that amount and stick to it. Be prepared to walk away.

    If you do feel the art is worth the price, then buy it!

    Not everything in life has to come with a discount for the sake of getting a discount.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ach5 View Post
    Asking if there's 'wiggle room' invites a "no"... or a very small discount.

    If you don't feel the art is worth the price, then tell them what you feel it is worth, offer to pay that amount and stick to it. Be prepared to walk away.

    If you do feel the art is worth the price, then buy it!

    Not everything in life has to come with a discount for the sake of getting a discount.
    A bold approach. Depends how much you actually want it or not - if thatís your opening gambit then itís all or nothing.
    Iíve ended up paying a few hundred quid less the couple of times I was in this situation.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses. Iíve manned up and e-mailed the artist via Instagram so we will see.

    Never bought any art before so itís all a bit new to me.

  6. #6
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Does the gallery offer interest-free credit? It is worth asking for a reduction in lieu of that - every time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    Does the gallery offer interest-free credit? It is worth asking for a reduction in lieu of that - every time.

    Yes they do actually.

  8. #8
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    Hi,

    Although my post above is how I feel, I do also feel that it was a little harshly worded.

    Good luck with your purchase - and I do hope you get the piece and it gives you many hours of pleasure :)

    Keep us posted... and be sure to post a Ďwall shotí of it hanging!

  9. #9
    My wife is an artist and is more than happy to discuss a bit of a deal, artists are generally delighted if someone is interested enough to actually consider BUYING their work. There are plenty of folk happy to enjoy looking at art and saying how much they like the work. Generally that is as far as it goes so , hats off to those are prepared to buy. Hope you come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement. It should happen.

  10. #10
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    I'd go straight to Paul Osborne. Ask him if you can commission a piece from him, I bet it would be a fraction of the cost at a gallery.

    He used to be a keen Time Triallist & is on my cycling forum (under the name Paul Oz). He often used to share pictures of his artwork on there.

    He used to be quite good at time trialling. He's gone sub 20 minutes (19m 33s) for 10 miles which is an unattainable goal for most.

    I've got his email address if you're interested. Provided that it's the same Paul Oz of course

  11. #11
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    About 20 years ago I bought an oil painting from Peter Brown aka "Pete The Street". IIRC I paid £500 for it. I still get sent the catalogues for his latest exhibitions & always have a look at the prices. A similar painting would cost £5-6K today. So that hasn't been a bad investment.

    I've had more than £500 of pleasure from it as well.

  12. #12
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    If you want a particular piece, discovered at a gallery, and took advantage of the gallery providing the stage for that - does the gallery deserve a commission in that process?

    Iíd say yes.

  13. #13
    Master
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    Weíve bought some art over the years and the galleries always take a large cut of the price. I guess it all depends on your attitude to how much work the gallery have done on the artists behalf to sell their work.
    My wife had approached artists directly and got a better price, with more going to the artists.

  14. #14
    I have bought quite a few pieces over the years (prints and originals) and most of the time a discount can be negotiated, if you are polite then what harm is it to ask

  15. #15
    Master
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    I just bought an original piece from a gallery that the artist always exhibits at and got about 10% just for gently asking. I didn't push it after that as it seemed ok I think i was just asking because it's always nice to get a bit of a consideration.

    it's right that there isn't a notional "cost price" as the materials themselves are inexpensive, so they do have a bit of room. i think they like to get red stickers on early in exhibitions to cause a feeling of demand.

  16. #16
    An aside. We were in St Ives at the end of last summer, and it happed to be the week when the artists there open their studios to visitors. We went to a number of studios, which was excellent fun. We bought a couple of (very small) pieces by Gareth Lye. It was useful and interesting to talk with him about his work. Over the years I have bought a number of pieces directly from the artists, enjoying the conversation first.

    One time, (1974, San Francisco) I bought a Dali lithograph at a gallery. Now that was a time I would have liked to buy direct from the artist and have had a converstation beforehand! Alas. ;)

    Best wishes,
    Bob

    PS Never thought to haggle.
    RLF

  17. #17
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    As a slight, but related, plug - Staithes (near Whitby) has a rather marvellous annual art festival where artists exhibit in the cottages over a weekend.

  18. #18
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Iíve bought art from a variety of sources over the years - ranging from Christies in London to large galleries and small artist owned galleries. Iíve also bought online. I always ask, politely, if there is some manoeuvring room on price (except at auctions of course), and there almost always is.

    I donít think itís impolite at all, given the the value of most art is based solely on opinion. Once an artist is selling the piece, or it is in a gallery, they become salespeople selling a commodity.

    Itís a very British thing not to negotiate, but happily I think that attitude has changed quite a bit over the last decade or two.
    So clever my foot fell off.

  19. #19
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    Get to a car boot sale 😂.....
    https://news.sky.com/story/picasso-p...-750k-11722336
    What a find!

  20. #20
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    I would contact the artist direct myself - youíve nothing to lose by doing it and possibly a lot to gain (save).

    When my daughter was born I went to an open day by a very well known Devon artist whose works generally went for around £2,000 to £2,500 and asked her if sheíd do a painting for me named after my daughter. She agreed it at £1,200. Now similar size work is around £3,000 but thatís not why I bought it. Itís to give my daughter on maybe her 21st/when she gets her first house/marriage etc. Till then we enjoy it every single day in our lounge. Probably the best value thing Iíve ever bought or what we get out of it and will get out of it when we give it to her.

  21. #21
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    Thanks for the advice people. Now purchased at £890 so £285 cheaper.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavsw20 View Post
    Thanks for the advice people. Now purchased at £890 so £285 cheaper.
    Which approach did you take?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy67 View Post
    Which approach did you take?
    Messaged the artist directly via Instagram.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavsw20 View Post
    Messaged the artist directly via Instagram.
    I only just saw this thread, so glad you got an an agreeable deal. Iíve floated around the art world for a number of years and gotten to know a lot of artists. Unless theyíre a big name with an established auction record the gallery will generally be taking up to 50%. Once you subtract framing and material costs it really doesnít leave the artist with much. Dealing with them directly gives them that bit of extra margin, and encouragement, and you get to learn a lot more about the artists practice by chatting to them on a one-to one basis.

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