What You Need to Know Before Consigning Your Artwork

What You Need to Know Before Consigning Your Artwork

If you’re now ready to take one step up in your artistic talent and explore trading your art pieces for some earnings, this guide can help you. You may have experienced commissioned work in the past, but you want to sell your art for a living this time. Don’t fret; the art industry is as exciting as it can be.

Consigning a painting or any art piece relatively means entrusting them to a trustworthy agent or art-selling venue or platform. Many artists, art enthusiasts, art collectors, and art traders go to auction houses, galleries, and online art platforms to buy or sell these art forms.

However, the consigning process needs to be studied before you finally commit to working with an agent. All you need to do is prepare yourself with knowledge about how fine art consignment works.

Here are some things you need to know before consigning your artwork:

1. Understand What a Consignment Agreement Is

One of the most basic but important aspects of entering a consignment process is a contract of agreement. A consignment agreement is a detailed and official contract between the artist and the gallery that represents their work.

Artworks on consignment to a gallery are documented in consignment reports, but the agreements accompanying them are more extensive. This is the first document you need to agree on with your consignee.

It’s important to note that these contracts don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. You can make simple contracts with a few clauses, or you can create complex agreements that are heavily legal with detailed rules laid out and stipulations laid out for what will happen if specific terms aren’t met. Nevertheless, this will have to depend on you and the opposing party.

It’s essential to your success to understand how consignment agreements work and what you may want to include when reviewing an agreement.

A contract usually covers all aspects of the business transaction. It helps both parties in defining their business boundaries and establishing a professional relationship by providing a seamless experience. This is also a form of protection for you and your artwork.

2. Figure Your Art Prices

An artist’s talent, time, and efforts can’t be estimated nor computed by anyone. As an artist, you should be the one to figure out how much you’ll sell your art. However, it’s vital never to undersell yourself.

Many artists, especially amateurs, are probably losing in setting prices for their art. Unfortunately, there really is no concrete formula or basis for coming up with such amounts. Depending on how much you charge for your work, your client will value it accordingly.

Prices range widely. You can set your price depending on how much effort, preparation, and priceless inspirational ideas and methods you’ve poured into your art piece. Also, add the services you got from an art handling company as your ship and transfer your artwork into the computation.

Art enthusiasts will respect your price, as no one can ever tell how much your art piece should be worth. The price you charge shows the customer the value of your art. Cheaply priced items are likely to be discarded or sold in garage sales. Therefore, it’s essential to find a balance when pricing your art.

3. Understand How Consignment Works

To make money, you provide artwork to retailers or galleries. Part of the retail price of your work goes to you, and the rest goes to the seller. This is the essential operation of how consignment works.

The amount or percentage you split with the seller should be discussed early on when you’re fixing your contract together. This is directly related to the seller’s marketing and sales support. Since they’re marketing and selling your art, it’s understandable how much they want to get from the sale.

If you’re a more established artist, don’t be shy about asking for a higher percentage, but you need to consider the competition in the art industry. Since they’re showcasing your work and providing valuable wall space, a fair split is good enough for galleries, specifically commercial galleries—the exposure is worth the difference.

4. Choose Your Consignment Venue

Ensure that the gallery or retailer you choose will have a good chance of selling your art. Choose the one that already has a track record for selling art pieces similar to yours. It’s best to avoid venues looking for free artwork to hang on their walls since they won’t be motivated to sell it.

The best places to start are usually the tourist districts with high foot traffic. When considering a consignee, check out the tools they use to auction off art pieces. Ensure that they have the legalities covered. It’s best to go for a well-experienced art-selling venue. You can read reviews and testimonials from their past clients.

5. If Possible, Get a Deposit

Your work won’t appeal to everyone. This is how art goes since everyone has different tastes and preferences. After spending hours on a piece, some may decide to cancel. This is particularly applicable if you’re involved in an ordered art piece and have to work on it based on demand or request.

In such instances, it’s always best to get a deposit. At least, you’ll be able to recoup some of your time and effort if your client is not pleased with the deal. This can compensate for the tools, materials, and time you’ve already spent on the art piece.


Interactions with galleries and communication with them are the keys to building relationships in the art industry. As you work with an art investor, a gallery, or go with art trading platforms, it’s crucial to know the essential elements stated above when consigning your art pieces.