Interview/ Part Two
The next few questions may make you squirm while asking them, but it is a good idea to glean this information from the gallery director before commission agreements are signed. In this way, you will know exactly what business practices to expect from this gallery and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
What is the gallery’s commission percentage? Most galleries take 30 to 50%; get used to it. Don’t bother with galleries taking more than 50%. That extra 10 % isn’t worth the moral dilemma of a gallery making more money than the artist in my opinion.
What is their payment schedule? Fair payment turnaround is in the range of 14 to 30 days of the sale or from the end of an exhibition. That gives plenty of time for checks and credit reports to clear. Any more time is an excuse to cover expenses the gallery can’t pay for.
What does the gallery’s insurance policy cover? You’re not asking for an umbrella dollar number here but whether your work is covered for it’s retail or replacement cost if damaged on gallery premises, covered in transit in one of the gallery’s vehicles, covered in a satellite venue of the gallery, and covered in shipping back to you, the artist, if proximity to the gallery is a problem for you. A reputable gallery will cover all of these scenarios.
Wow! This is all heavy stuff, but important stuff that, once clarified, will make your relationship run as smooth as an Alpha Romeo. Again, as in a previous article, I offer inspiration from The Godfather. When interviewing for the right gallery, “It’s business, nothing personal.” Further quoting from that classic film, “Leave the gun, take the cannollis.” Put aside your potentially explosive emotions while involved in this complicated process, and you’re more apt to reap the sweet rewards of your efforts.
Next time, I’ll discuss presentation and marketing strategies for your work and delve into specifics of the consignment agreement.