The Artist/Dealer Relationship | A Checklist

Beginning in March, Artists Alliance will be hosting the Bootcamp Mentoring Programme, a new series of professional development workshops by a brilliant line up of industry professionals. Designed to provide key information about a career in the arts, one of the most popular workshops is on the Artist/Dealer Relationship, presented by Deborah White of Whitespace.

While digging through past Bootcamp resources we came across this checklist, originally published in one of our Art All magazines. Intended as a brief guide to consider when entering into a relationship with a dealer, the information is as relevant as ever. Have a read through, and if you want to find out more about our Bootcamp line up or want to take part, you can find more information here on the Artists Alliance website.

 

  • EXCLUSIVITY

What works will that dealer handle?
Will you provide him/her with exclusive rights to any of your works? Over what geographic region will she have exclusive right: City-wide? Province-wide? Nation-wide? World-wide?

  • INSURANCE

When you leave works with your dealer, who is responsible for insuring the work? Against what risks is work insured: Fire? Theft? Water damage? Loss in transit?

  • FREQUENCY OF EXHIBITIONS

How often will any one dealer have exhibitions of your work? Will they be solo shows? Group shows?

  • SELECTION OF WORK

When you’re having a solo exhibition, who chooses the work for the show? What about group shows?

  • FRAMING

Who chooses the frames and who pays for framing costs?

  • PHOTOGRAPHY

Who is responsible for photographing your work and who should pay for this?

  • SHIPPING

When you send work to your dealer, who covers the shipping costs What about the works being returned to you?

  • INSTALLATION

Who decides how works are to be installed for an exhibition and who does the actual installation?

  • CATALOGUES OR FLYERS

Who covers the cost of any catalogue or other printed materials produced in conjunction with an exhibition?

  • ADVERTISING

What advertising will there be? Who pays for the advertising used to promote an exhibition?

  • ESTABLISHING PRICES

Who determines the selling price of works shown in a commercial gallery?

  • NOTIFICATION OF SALES

How will you know when a work has been sold and to whom?

  • TIMING OF PAYMENTS

When can you expect payment of monies owing from sales of your work? What happens if the client pays for the work in instalments? Do you get payment in instalments or will you get a lump sum payment?

  • COMMISSION ON SALES

What commission will the dealer retain from sales of your work? When is a commission due to the dealer? What happens when you sell a work from your studio? If works are sold at a discount, how will that affect any agreed-upon level of income from sales of your work?

  • COMMISSIONED WORKS

If you are commissioned to do a work, does your dealer get a percentage, even without any work or assistance on her/his part?

  • CONSIGNMENT vs OUTRIGHT PURCHASE OF WORK

What happens if your dealer chooses to purchase a work outright, rather than sell it on commission? How does the commission or discount structure work then?

  • PERMISSION TO LOAN WORKS

Must your dealer obtain your permission to lend works to a group exhibition being organised in a commercial, public or artist-run gallery?

  • DEALER COLLABORATION WITH OTHER DEALERS

Will your dealer always sell your work at the full retail selling price established or can she/he offer discounts to others? If she/he can offer discounts, are there any limitations on how much the work can be discounted?

  • DISCOUNTS

Will your dealer always sell your work at the full retail selling price established or can she/he offer discounts to others? If she/he can offer discounts, are there any limitations on how much the work can be discounted?

  • RETURN OF WORK

What happens if a client purchases one of your works from your dealer, pays for it and takes it home, then decides he no longer wants it?

  • TERMINATION

How will the working relationship be terminated, should it prove unsatisfactory? Does the agreement automatically expire or come up for review after a certain period of time? Can either party give notice to the other thus terminating the partnership? How much notice must be given? What further access to the artist’s work or commissions from sales of the same is the dealer entitled? To what works does this entitlement extend if the dealer chooses to terminate the arrangement, how quickly does the artist have to remove her/his work from the dealer’s premises?

  • CONTRACTS

We strongly suggest that you establish a formal, written agreement with your dealer. Avoid a verbal or informal contract.