Buy art by the artist is convenient?

Buy art directly by the artist is convenient? Some advices for the collectors and for the artists

caterina_alla_scala_600-320x473Today, more and more artists or creative people who decide to sell their art directly to the collector, without going through the galleries, primarily because it is very difficult that a gallery should consider an unknown artist, even if talented, their work is monetize it, make money on talent and on the ‘others’ inspiration, it monetizes better if the name is known.

Must know that the galleries take a commission ranging from 60% to 30% of the artwork’s final price.

  • The physical galleries, those that have a real space where they expose the works, usually hold from 40% to 60%.
    Very high commissions therefore, justified in part by the commercial premises costs, and if they take upon themselves the burden of to print and distribute to their customers paper catalog of the works.
  • Virtual ones, exist only on the Internet with a website, traveling on commissions around 30% – 40%
    These so high commissions can not be justified in any way, these web sites, perhaps offer less o same services to the seller, but also to those who buy, of all other e-commerce platforms, we think that one of the major ecommerce platforms in the world, ebay, holds 9.5% as a maximum percentage of commission.

There are many factors you need to consider before buying an artwork in a gallery, or art virtual marketplace where there are intermediaries, either real, or just virtually host the works, after we will also talk about why artists should avoid them.

We mention some of the most popular:


  • Saatchiart is not part, as it would seem from the name, of the famous London gallery, but it is owned by an American company, so, you’re not buying into a famous gallery, but on a marketplace site, exactly to ebay, etsy or amazon, the difference is that it’s just for art, of Saatchi remained only the name, however, Saatchiart was also sued for this reason, by Charles Saatchi, the first founder of the website and also the one who sold the website to the US company Leaf Group LTD, based in Santa Monica, California, maybe he was a bit imprudent in reading the sales contract.
    The commission retained by the web site, call it art gallery is excessive, it is 30%, and then the artist, it is not that stupid, load it on the price of the work.

New blood art

  • Is a virtual gallery with servers in London, or at least in the UK, the ‘curators’ are former employees of Saatchiart when it was of Charles Saatchi, this gallery holds back 45% on the sale and therefore you will pay 45% more here than what you’d pay if you buy directly from the artist.
    The “gallery” is a character ‘exclusive’, this means that the artist who entrusted the works, can not sell them elsewhere.


  • Is the most improvised and homemade art marketplace, constant changes of site layout and sudden changes that generate imbalances and discontent among users, this also has the server in the UK, although the site cites London & New York, it is not true, the operating office is in London, users almost all British, holds back around 33% commission, even this does not seem to be very convenient for the collector, which no doubt pays at least 33% more than buying direct.


  • is a multilingual French site, offers the possibility for artists to exhibit works up to 1000, and to sell without intermediaries paying an annual subscription around 35 €, the site looks good, but has some serious gaps in the process of buying or selling that I will not list, few guarantees, except that, very little, offered by paypal (if the artist decides to use it, I do not recommend it to him)
    Analyzing the previous, it seems to be the most honest in terms of costs.

Why emerging artists should avoid these sites of collective sale of art:

Internet can be a boomerang if misused, and this I think we all know, do not know what is a boomerang? 🙂 Is a weapon that can goponja_by_Layla_Oz_600-320x403 back and hit you instead of the target.

Those who register at these sites as an artist / seller after having published the biography and works, is strongly urged to share his works for sale, naively almost all do it, all these shares generate traffic to that site, attention, website is not yours, you’re just a guest, from all this traffic, only if you are very lucky, you will derive only a small advantage.

Promote … yes, in those websites you have to promote your own works ..but .. and the 30% that I pay? no matter … only a small part of the artists is being considered by the staff, then, in 90% of cases, your work of self-promotion, will favor others, who have their works placed in plain sight by the staff, the your, if they are not among those “elects” to have more visibility, will remain in the shadows.

Focus… Visitors attention is often distracted from your work, putting it in direct competition with other similar, resulting in my opinion, too much confusion in the minds of those who are about to buy a work of art.
These websites are using computer algorithms which, under your work, they show similar to other artists, who runs the site do not care that both you sell, but simply that someone sells, they will earn in any case.

Many of these websites have a home-made conduction, so take care to arbitrary decisions, you could find yourself banned without even realizing it, maybe for only to have had a misunderstanding with someone of the staff ..
what it means banned? Kicked, thrown out….At that point .. You will realize that you have wasted your time there.

Curators: if we exclude Saatchiart and Newbloodart who have valid art curators, other websites these figures are practically non-existent, they just take the case to the new work load and stack them haphazardly into ‘collections’ fanciful, mostly without knowledge of the facts.


For the collector:

  • Always consider that artwork that you like so much, one day you might even sell it, and if the price includes the percentage of the gallery, you will have hardly made a good investment.
  • Always choose what you like, but always tries to buy the work in the study, virtual or real, of the artist, you will have double benefits, the certainty of the original and good investment.

For the artist

  • If you like internet to display your work, consider seriously to get you have your own website, if possible with attached shop always be yours, without paying commissions to anyone, except the minimum for the management of online payments, usually does not exceed 3 %.
  • The traffic you manage to generate, will be yours alone and only for you.
  • If you manage to let  you find by those who are interested in buying art, being able to practice a lower competitive price, will you do undoubtedly more sales.
  • Do not let them steal the photos of the works, protect them adequately, if you need advice, write me.

4 thoughts on “Buy art by the artist is convenient?

  • ciao,
    il tuo articolo è davvero interessante, oltre che utile. Io sono un artista da poco e ho uno shop etsy.
    non riesco a concludere molte vendite e non so bene da cosa dipenda. I prezzi li ho stabiliti in base ai costi che ho e alle percentuali trattenute dalla piattaforma, ma ho come il sospetto che in qualcosa sbagli.
    Forse proprio il prezzo può rivelarsi una variabile che scoraggi l’acquisto. Può anche darsi che questo dipenda da prezzi troppo bassi e non troppo alti.
    Tu cosa mi consigli di fare e sopratutto come valuti etsy come piattaforma.

    • Secondo me Etsy è tecnicamente la migliore piattaforma che ci sia, vendere qualcosa però, non è mai stato facile, puoi usarlo come ‘carrello’ alternativo, ma non certo come canale di vendita primario, il primario secondo me resta sempre il mondo reale, i dipinti visti in foto o visti dal vero sono tutta un’altra cosa…intenet in generale, negli ultimi anni è diventato monopolio di poche grandi aziende, i piccoli siti web e i piccoli venditori nelle piattaforme sovraffollate (tutti vendono tutto) non hanno quasi nessuna possibilità di emergere, il mio consiglio è di fare un bel sito web personale, e di usarlo come riferimento per le persone contattate nel mondo reale, sulle strade o nelle mostre, da internet oramai non ci si può aspettare nulla, possiamo solo usarlo come nostro riferimento per i nostri contatti.
      Ciao, e buona fortuna.

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