Ask a Gallery Owner | Should Galleries (and Artists) Display Pricing With Artwork?

Should galleries post the prices of artwork on display in the gallery?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments in the comments section below.

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of the Art Business Academy. 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.

9 Comments

  1. Absolutely the prices should be displayed. Can I afford it or not? I don’t want to have to find the gallery rep who may be busy with someone else, stand around, wait, then ask and find I cannot afford it. It is time wasting for both me and the gallery rep. I have heard some people say, that if someone is really interested they will ask. Some people, especially new buyers, may be shy about asking. If the gallery rep is busy they will be out the door. The idea is to SELL art. Price must be displayed.

  2. Yes. From the perspective of both a buyer and selling artist, prices are important to have listed with the artwork.
    Scylla hit on solid reasons I would otherwise list. But also, I’ve actually been contacted by people who’ve seen my work in galleries without a price. I then answer all the questions myself, but direct them back to the gallery for a possible sale. Isn’t that footwork part of what a commission split is about?

    And possibly the more important question might be: Why wouldn’t you post the price? Anyone who loves the piece, but can’t afford it, won’t be impacted either way. And for a qualified buyer, the info is instant. Straightforward – no games. Cheers🌻

  3. I agree with having the price clearly visible. I have had a show where there was a question about whether or not this should be done and so I agreed to a list posted (or available as a hand-out) with the prices marked on that, but the idea that they are for sale is lost on most viewers. In fact they don’t seem to notice the list.
    Also if the price is listed with the title, medium and dimensions next to the piece, it makes it more interesting for the viewer. It needs to be tastefully done though.

  4. To me, having the price next to the artwork is a courtesy to the viewer. All the positive reasons given by Jason are real to me. Also, it opens the door to sales of either more or less priced items. It doesn’t matter. I am an artist, in galleries, and when visit other galleries, I appreciate the price being right there and sometimes I will purchase… sometimes I just want to see what current artwork is out there. I now purchase small pieces because I have run out of wall space but love to collect.

  5. I remember when New York City made it a law that galleries had to make pricing easily available – either by putting on the wall labels or by making a pricing sheet available. That was many years ago–not sure if it is still in effect. It was a much needed change. Of course they should provide pricing. The same is true for web sites. Many people are embarrassed to ask–they want to know if they are even in the ball park. If you want to sell, you can’t make the price a secret.

  6. What do I want as a buyer of any merchandise? I want to know the basic information of commerce.
    I get suspicious when there is no available price except a slip of paper or someone I don’t know, telling me how much I will have to pay to acquire the merchandise.

    If I’m serious about selling my work, why would I keep my price a secret?
    As far as having my work in someone else’s hands with the intent of sale, I’m expecting that person to sell it.

  7. As a shopper I would walk away if there was not a price. I figure it’s just for show and not for sale.
    It frustrates me when you are shopping for products and it’s hard to find the price. So yes show prices.

  8. I totally agree with showing the price immediately. Its often the most uncomfortable topic for both buyer and artist…if selling your own pieces. So why make is even more uncomfortable by hiding this information. It will just be a long wait for both as to when and who will say it first. Like how long shall we play the game before we get to the point. I know its not the only factor, but for many it is an important factor.

  9. I think pricing should be placed on a separate price list of each piece in the gallery and given to those who may request it. Or if they are interested in one particular piece, then give them a spec sheet of that particular piece with the pricing. It can be done on opening night when a lot of people will be visiting. I’ve seen this done in some galleries. I’m not sure if it would be good placing the price on the wall with the painting, especially if it is a group showing or have a number of differing styles. I think people would starting questioning pricing if one is more abstract or one is more realism or if of differing materials, sizes, types, etc., and be more apt to comparison instead. We all know it is much more complicated than that.

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