When selling art it is important to find the method that will yield the highest price to the seller, taking into account any sale commissions. The sale method must suit the artwork being sold (the artist, period, medium, estimated price, etc.) and the seller’s personal needs, for example, many sellers prefer to remain anonymous.
Below is information about the most common venues for selling art:
Private Art Dealers/Galleries
Private art dealers sell works in full confidentiality and discretion. They will usually approach their personal collector network and facilitate a direct sale. Private art dealers will usually have a niche segment of the market they specialize in. In addition, because there is very little transparency when working with private dealers, it is important to get personal references to dealers.
Auction houses host public sales where artwork is sold to the highest
bidder. When selling a work at auction one must take into account the fairly high commissions, which include a buyer’s premium (25% for lower priced works) and a seller’s commission. In addition, it is important to note that auction sale information is made public, including the fact that the artwork was sold and the final sale price (or if it went unsold, bought in, etc).
Online venues bring buyers and sellers together through the Internet. Online venues are generally more appropriate for lower priced works. Commissions and sale methods vary widely, but in most cases, similar to sales at auction, the sale information is made public. Online venues should be examined and researched thoroughly before any attempt to sell.