Lynnda Tenpenny wrote with this question about relationships with gallery dealers and when to offer them discounts:
When you have a relationship with a gallery and the gallery owner keeps saying that he/she is really interested in one of your art pieces, what’s the protocol here?
I have this happening at two galleries. One is a frame gallery and if I were to give her the art piece (it is small) or give her a discount, it wouldn’t be a huge loss to me, but it just puts me on the spot. My art goes to the other gallery already framed and the owner keeps saying that he just may have to have this one piece for himself. It’s a huge compliment, but I just don’t know the protocol as to discounting, or offering a small piece as a gift, or what????
I wonder what others have done?
I think this is an excellent question. I am, unfortunately, no expert on this and think I’d like to know more about your relationship with the galleries. In other words, have they sold a bunch of your work? Are they doing a lot of work already to promote your work? Are they asking for you to give it to them or would they be happy to pay you the wholesale price? Without knowing the specifics of the situation, I can see these options:
1. Give them the work in hopes of establishing a better relationship with them.
2. Don’t give them the work because, after all, what have they done for you lately?
3. Offer to trade with them if they have something you might like.
4. (This is my favorite) Tell them, “Well, if you bought it, I know it would have a good home!”
You are certainly under no obligation to give them the work. I know of several dealers who purchase the work of their artists and I’m fairly certain they aren’t getting steep discounts.
What am I missing in this answer? What else should be considered?
Image: Lynnda Tenpenny, Worn, but not out #1. Leaf print, cast paper leaf, collage, 2005, 20 x 14 inches.