Gallery exclusivity and contracts?
Question “What is your thoughts on galleries who want you to be exclusive to them. I approached an art gallery in a city near me and was told if they took any pieces I could not have any other outlet in that city. They would have to be exclusive, even though they would maybe only take one or two pieces to begin with.”
Unless it is very small town I don’t agree.
If a Gallery wants exclusive rights to your work and you cannot show your work in any other place in the city, they will really have to preform for you and guarantee sales every month, which they cannot do.
No Gallery can guarantee money/sales unless you are contracted to them.
Some Galleries put Artists on contracts and guarantee a certain amount for the next few years and get exclusivity with the Artist. The Artist guarantees so many paintings each month which become the property of the Gallery, if the Artist does not sell then the Gallery carries the cost.
If the Artist sells the Gallery gets the money and some Galleries pay a small commission back to the Artist but this does not often happen. The big problem arises a few years later when the Artist is popular and selling and their prices have risen, but the contracted amount stays the same, a lot of Artists get upset with the Galleries over this, but they signed the contract when they were unknown and needed money and now they are well known, because of the Gallery and of course the Gallery is making money not the Artist. The way for the Artist to see this is when the contract is over they are a free agent and can capitalise on what the Gallery has done for them.
Do I think the contract system is right?
Like I described no, but Artists get caught up in it because they need money and get exploited.
I do not have any Gallery contracts with Artists.
Mentoring and management contracts are different as they are not dependent on sales or commission.
I think the best way to work with the Gallery if they will agree is to give them exclusive rights to the paintings they want to sell and you guarantee that you will not show those particular paintings anywhere else in that city, but you can show your other paintings where ever you want in that city.
The only caution is that you make sure your prices outside of the Gallery are the same as inside the Gallery, otherwise this could be a problem.
This way works well for both.
I personally would not have Artists contracted to any Gallery I am connected with and as an Artist I would not enter into a contract with a Gallery.
Remember this is your Art and your right to sell it how you wish, beware of contracts and exclusivity.