I received this question from another artist: "I have had work in my local gallery for some years now, but sales have now dropped off badly. (The economy, I guess) Currently I have no other gallery through which to cycle the works; as the paintings are more than a year old, what are your thoughts on discounting/marking-down? I need the money, but what effect will this have on my “image”?"
We were discussing markdowns at a gallery the other day – a well known artist has cut his prices by about 50%.
My feeling is that this was not a good move and would severely upset people who have bought his work in the past and now feel cheated because it’s worth so much less.
Also would position him as an artist on his way down not up so would not inspire confidence.
But it does rely naturally on how much work you have sold into the market – if its hundreds of pieces that hundreds of people who are going to be miffed.
If only a few then not such a serious move.
Still times are tough and you need to eat. So the way we felt best is to hold ones prices BUT make it clear to the gallery that you would be prepared to negotiate if that would swing the deal.
That way the client feels they have got a good deal and your pricing/image remains intact.
This does rely heavily on the integrity of the gallery, to be honest about when they have sold work for less and when not.
Better move though would be to find a few more galleries so you can shift works around.
So often a painting that has stood unsold, when moving to another gallery suddenly sells.
I'm asked regulalry (at least14-20 times a year) to donate art to varies charities to auction. One charity this year came up with a new suggestion: they would take my works for auction and instead of just giving them away, as I normally do, they offered to pay me an agreed amount for each work – what they earned above that went to the charity.
This was a great way of helping others and also helping oneself, as getting something was better than nothing. Win/win all round.