How to Sell your Canvas Art on Consignment

Gorgeous painted pieces aren't the only things canvas is used for.

Artists can sell canvas art on consignment. You may have thought of consigning art but are not clear as to what goes in and out of this arrangement.

Consignment is defined as “an arrangement whereby goods are left in the possession of another party to sell. Typically, the consignor receives a percentage of the sale (sometimes a very large percentage).

When consigning art, you provide your canvas art to a gallery or shop. When the item sells, you get a portion of the retail price and the  rest goes to the consignment venue. Usually, a 30/70 split is agreed upon, where the artist gets 70% of the sale price of the artwork. You can agree to make the split higher, but not higher than a 50/50 split.

The main advantage of consigning art is you can make more profit from it compared to selling it completely. When you sell your art on consignment with a dealer, you can get around 60-70% of the retail price and even as much as 80% or more if there is high demand for your work.

The drawback of consignment is you make money only when your piece sells. Also, the consignment venue is not pressured to sell your work since they didn’t have any investment in it that they need to recoup.

Things to Consider:

Consignment Venue

  • Choose a trustworthy consignment venue which has a good chance of selling your art. Avoid consigning to a venue which will just use your art as free decoration with no intention of selling it.
  • The gallery must have good lighting to emphasize your work.
  • Location is key. Shops along tourist districts can have a better chance of promoting your work to more people.

Consignment Agreement
Here are important details to include in your contract:

  • The consignment commission percentage. Be specific and list the portion which you and the gallery will get.
  • Contact details of both parties.
  • Term of the contract. Specify when you will drop-off the piece to the gallery and when you need to pick it up if it doesn’t sell. It is normal to get the artwork if doesn’t sell within 6 months to a year.
  • The retail price of the piece. Make sure that your paintings are offered at a fair price. It should at least cover all your expenses (e.g. art supplies, rent of studio, etc.).
  • Terms of payment. Define when and how you will receive your payment once the piece is sold. Usually, the artist receives payment within 30 days after the purchase of artwork. Identify whether you want to receive cash, cheque, via PayPal, or bank transfer.
  • Insurance requirements. Either or both you and the consignment venue should have insurance for the items. In case of fire, flood, or any disaster, your artwork will be safeguarded by insurance.

Tip: If you are consigning several items, create a master list of every item that you will leave at the gallery, including its prices.

If you’re not a “sales” person, consignment might work for you. In consigning art, you let other people to promote your artwork and you get your money when it’s sold. It may be time consuming at first, especially if you consign to several shops, but after to drop-off your artworks, you can continue creating more paintings.

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