Friday, 3 December 2010

Cautionary Tale

I know that while many gallerists are kind and honest folk, there is a small minority that gives the trade a bad name by devious practices.

Stories have been reaching me of an artist who has done well both locally and nationally. He showed some pictures with a gallery at a recent art fair where they sold very well. The gallery wanted more, but for whatever reason, they were unable to get the artist himself to supply them, so they went online and bought some from a website. The pictures they'd bought did not do well, however. In fact, they didn't sell at all.

When it came time for them to pay the artist, they did something I still find quite astonishing: they gave him back the recently acquired paintings, deducting their cost from what they owed him, and then factored in the cost of VAT and told him he owed them for that!



Casey Klahn said...

Of course, this artist is made of money, and can easily afford to buy back anything, on demand. Not.

That story is good enough to achieve urban legend status, and ought to be a cautionary tale for gallerists and artists, alike.

I like what one of my local (advanced career) artists does when galleries want his art. He tells them they must pay retail.

Jean Spitzer said...

Does sound like urban legend. Amazing.

harry bell said...

I'm fairly confident of the story's provenance. Would it were an urban legend.

Holly Hartwell said...

It happens more than you think, I'm in Australia and had a show in Sydney. Contracts signed with all prices agreed to. Opening night came and the gallery had raised the prices by alot. I sold two works opening night - here comes the $$$, or so I thought. They only paid me the original price minus commission and kept the rest!! After chasing them for months, they closed down and disappeared.

harry bell said...

Dreadful story, Holly, and I sympathise. But I'm sure you're right - it's more common than any of us would wish.