RedDot Podcast | Saying Goodbye to a Gallery

A lot of my writing and podcasting is about the process of preparing to present your work to galleries and about how to establish relationships with gallery owners. In today’s podcast I’ll look at what happens when a relationship with a gallery doesn’t work out, and how to end the relationship.

 

 

What have you experienced when ending a relationship with a gallery?

Have you had to terminate a relationship with a gallery? Why did you end the relationship? Was ending the relationship difficult or awkward? Share your experiences and advice in the comments 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.

8 Comments

  1. I had a very good relationship with a gallery on the island in Florida. Did well and sold over a period of 4 years. Then the manager retired and an interim one was new, we helped her with advise and she seemed to appreciate it. But the acceptance of my paintings to show declined, and eventually the owner took over and completely shut me out. The same happened to a friend of mine also showing there. My emails were never answered, and when we stopped by, the sales person said she has no hand in this and we should contact the owner.
    I’m very disappointed, the location was beautiful, and I’m sorry the visitors are deprived of looking at my paintings.
    I gave up on contacting….should I continue sending emails?

  2. I ended a relationship with a gallery after a number of issues surfaced demonstrating the gallery owner’s lack of integrity. The issues began within days of my acceptance into the gallery, and if I’m really honest with myself – during my interview (*in case you are interested, below are examples).

    What I should have done:
    – Listened to the little warning voice inside my head earlier – when someone acts with low integrity / dishonesty, they will continue to do so
    – Treated this as a purely business deal – just because I really WANTED to have my pieces in her gallery didn’t mean that I SHOULD work with her
    – Distanced my emotions from the equation – she sold 4 of my pieces during the first couple of days in the gallery but that doesn’t mean she is the right person to sell more of my work

    How I ended it:
    – Read through the contract with someone who understood the legal jargon to make sure I acted exactly as our contract specified
    – Wrote a professional letter informing her of my immediate withdrawal from the gallery. Her response was very toxic – at first she was very defensive of her actions, then tried to tell me I couldn’t withdraw immediately (however, luckily I had the contract to back up my position), then she resorted to name calling and threats (I didn’t respond)
    – Assembled a team to pick up all of my artwork before business hours so that there were no customers and we were in and out quickly. I also had a large guy stay beside me because by this time I was frightened of her

    *A few issues of the gallery owner’s low integrity just to give you an idea (there were many more):
    – During my interview she bad-mouthed one of the artist’s whose work was hanging in her gallery
    – She sold one of my paintings for $540 instead of $1400… and passed her mistake onto my commission (giving me a check for $275 instead of $700) simply saying – “sorry, I didn’t notice my mistake until the woman was walking out the door”.
    – I walked into the gallery to replace sold items and found her unpacking Chinese knock-offs of my work (she was SO upset because the knock-offs didn’t look as nice as my art!)

    1. It sounds like you dodged a bullet, Bev. Be thankful and move on. Don’t sink to her level (she sounds like a real witch) and bad-mouth her to other galleries and artists. Good luck.

  3. Are all gallery contracts open-ended? Is there no review date included in the arrangement? It sounds like a “normal” partnership would include an ongoing conversation but perhaps this practice is going out of style?

  4. Ive done some really stupid things with galleries. One gallery i refused because it was in a small st.louis town and later, very much later found out it was a beautiful gallery and did quite well.
    I was in two galleries here, at two different times in st.louis and they both shut down. Had no conversation when i left…i mean no informative or meaningful conversation. than i got into a galleries in Minn. and someone in st.louis had seen a painting on my sight, i just went to one of the galleries and took back.
    One of the first galleries I approached was in chicago..the Kline Gallery, a really good one and they asked that i come back when i focused on one direction. Thought they were just telling me that and never kept i contack.
    . stupid? young? yes, yes,yes..In recent past years just done fairs and shows and now looking for a galleries….no more fairs or shows. too old….but art is still so fun…..

  5. As some have commented some owners are unscrupulous. I have had frames disappear on work I picked up later which was unsold.
    An owner in Pasadena Ca. wanted my figure work. I gave her four, she sold two. When time went by and the remaining works didn’t sell, instead of asking me to bring in new work, she removed them from view and asked if I painted landscapes. I told her I would give demos in the gallery for free. She balked and told me never to come to the gallery unless asked.
    She hated I had a website and accused me of selling other pieces she wouldn’t carry. The gallery scene has changed. Too many who know nothing about art, artists, relationships.

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