Ask a Gallery Owner | How Long Does it Take Artwork to Sell?

In this week’s episode, I answer a question about how long, on average, it takes for artwork to sell out of my gallery. Spoiler: it’s hard to say! The pace of sales is an important factor for artists and galleries to consider however, and you should be paying attention so you can better control your inventory and pricing.

 

Starving to Successful

StSBookSHave you always wondered what it takes to show your work in galleries? Is your work being seen by qualified collectors?

In his Amazon.com best-selling book, Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs shares insights gained over a life-time in the art business.

Learn more and order today.

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of Dad was an Artist | A Survivor's Story and best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business. Connect with Jason on Facebook

10 Comments

  1. Hi Jason, Would love to watch this, however I clicked on the arrow but the video won’t play. I don’t have any trouble with any other sites, youtube etc. Do I need to be on facebook?

  2. Thank you for the time that you set aside to speak to artists and the “why” of decision making. We sure appreciate you.

  3. Jason, I have followed you a long time. I like the “for a season” strategy with rotation of work. It just makes sense. I am noticing that you look for unusual, interesting work to sell. That also makes good business sense. Unique sells! I just have to find that uniqueness! LOL Blessings

  4. Your suggestion that on a broad average, selling artwork takes months. It could be one of the reasons I am not selling. My venues are mostly artist coops or community art galleries where the average turnover time is two weeks. The other consideration is my price hike. I did some research and found I was underpricing my work so I took the plunge and doubled my prices about three years ago. Things are picking up again. The small 12×12″s are selling lately so that is encouraging. All in all I suspect my focus should be on the internet as well as hosting a couple of shows per year in my own space (converted double garage at the back of my home). I will be more conscious about rotating inventory too in the off-chance someone drops in.

    1. It’s definitely difficult to sell art with such a quick turnover. Keep in mind that the average is going to vary from gallery to gallery, but two weeks is not a lot of time. I would also encourage you to look toward showing your work in other galleries where your price point is in the mid-range for the gallery. The context in which collectors are seeing your prices is very important. If you are among the most expensive artists in the gallery, it’s really going to slow down sales for you.

  5. It was interesting to hear your “It depends” experience with the amount of time it takes for artwork to sell, Jason. I’ve taken work into my gallery and its sold the next day because the right person happened into the gallery that day. Other times my work has sat there for months. I wish my work was flying off the walls of the gallery as fast as I can produce it but that’s just not the case and I don’t worry about it too much. The right person has to see it at the right time.

    I remember reading years ago that one of Winslow Homer’s best pieces took ten years to sell. That always gives me hope.

  6. Jason, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. It is very insightful. I’ve had times where inventory is slow to sell and other times when it just flies. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason, and patience can be an artist’s best asset.

  7. I have only been a gallery owner for five years, searching constantly for answers to a multitude of questions which usually center around, “how do we make more money by selling more paintings?” I’ve decided that there are no answers, which defies all of our needs to find answers. I think you are right, “It depends.” I’m not in a tourist location, so most of my clients are regulars who come in fairly often. That being said, a shorter lifespan seems to suit my gallery more often than not. Still there are paintings that for a variety of reasons have stayed in the gallery for a year, and sometimes sell after that length of time. With a very small gallery with no storage space, I find it more comfortable to change things out after every couple of months. It’s inconvenient for both me and the artists, so I have also learned that it is better for me to represent artists who are close by and are willing to stop in to pick up and drop off. This question and my answer have inspired my writing an “Artist/Gallery” Agreement wherein I address some of these issues that are unique to my gallery or me which I share with the artists up front.
    Steve@Hillside Fine Art

  8. As a gallery owner (open exactly one year), I like to keep artwork in the gallery for about 2 months, before I return to the artist.
    During that time it gets re-displayed in different areas of the gallery.
    The only exception is if there is a particular piece I feel is so beautiful, or such great value, that I will hang onto it for a few more months.
    There have been two times that we have been unable to sell any artwork at all from our feature artists (we usually have 2 feature artists every 6-8 weeks, that take up half of the gallery space), and so we have purchased it ourselves so the artist has a sale.
    It is really about the right person walking in the door, and that can be on the day the art is hung on the wall, or 6 months later.

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