Video: Ask a Gallery Owner: Are there Certain Sizes you Recommend?

In this week’s session I answer a question from Darryl in Utah:

“Are there certain sizes you would recommend to offer galleries that are better to ship in reference to cost, arriving safely, etc.”

Every artists is eventually likely to have to ship their art – it’s worth thinking about how to do so systematically.

Watch this week’s video to learn more!


Does Shipping Play Into Your Sizing Decisions?

Do you base the sizes you work in on shipping considerations? How have you streamlined your shipping process? Share your comments and questions 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, 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.


  1. Exhibiting and thus shipping internationally is best done via specialized brokerage houses as it will save enormous fees, time and months of processing to just pay their 5% fee for logistics. Proper crating in wood is mandatory as the shipment will be going through automated processes for transport, cardboard or soft side will not survive the trip. Shipping domestically in usa or canada without borders involved cardboard pkg plus foam inserts are acceptable but it must be tight, no slippage of the art internally. i you can combine multiple pieces of close size format thats the way to go. over 30 x 40 plus pkging will result in a premium. if you are shipping enough to one location palletize it for commercial handling.
    spend what is necessary for quality shipping as the low end vendors will result in art arriving damaged or not arriving at all. For example i shipped an entire exhibition from canada to scotland for a corporate exhibit where the shipping cost was 28,000. arriving on time with no extra tax fees for border control. Another artist chose the low cost version with regular shippers. 10,000 but it did not arrive on time, 50% damage rate, extra fees applied and took a week of negotiation to pass it through customs control as the paperwork was unacceptable. end cost about 75,000.
    proper shipping and pkging is mandatory to business.
    Tubes generally do not work with automated systems, if they arrive expect them to be crushed, dented and ripped to shreds sometimes with tire tracks from forklifts or handling equipment on them. expect 0 honoring of an insurance claims no matter what the shipper tells you.

  2. There is also the option, if you are shipping directly to the buyer of your work, to charge the buyer the actual costs of shipping once it is known…it has worked for me over the years.
    Adding the estimated shipping costs to the sale price based upon size may find you absorbing a lot of the shipping costs as weight and distance come into play once packaged.
    Even posting a flat percentage to the cost for shipping, can leave you with a hefty shipping bill, eating into your profit.
    If you have a client and wish to thank them in some way, I will mention there is no charge for shipping and I know that is much appreciated.
    So many of us are influenced in our online shopping decisions these days with the “free shipping” tag line aren’t we? 🙂

  3. Thank you, Jason, for your help on this topic.
    I have a horror story on shipping.
    I won’t recount it here except to say if you are using a shipper like UPS or FEDX etc.
    Be very precise about where their size breaks are.
    The different between a 22″ x22″ piece and a 24″ x24″ piece can literally cost $100.
    The difference between sending multiple pieces together or separately is even more.
    If you have them pack it, they will use their standards. If you pack it, they ask you what’s inside and what the value is.
    This becomes very important if it’s headed to a show and will be returned. (at your expense).

    None of this should dictate what the aesthetics of size for the artist. That said, minimal changes in a dimension while maintaining the ratio of length to width might be a workable compromise.

  4. Thank You Jason for entertaining this question. I have been shipping for a few years and have noticed a change in pricing due to pandemic considerations. Also the end all to shipping is just using a company that gets the Art to its location safely. The goal obviously being that the work can be viewed without solving damage problems. Thanks again! Darryl

  5. I just shipped a 36×36 painting by UPS from Canada to the U.S. I was going to pad it and put it into a 40×40 box. I was told if I kept it to a 39×39 size, I would save $150. You can be sure I kept that shipment to the 39×39 size.

    It’s worth asking the shipper before you pack everything. And I also found out the insurance won’t pay for damages, only if they lose it. Seriously< how can you lose a big package? So I opted out of paying for insurance.

    The moral of the story…. Get a quote and ask a lot of questions of your shipper before you package everything up.

  6. Jason, a few comments on shipping out of the domestic USA would be helpful … what documents, costs, different foreign regulations might be encountered, etc.

    Along these lines, what IF, as I do, one owns works from a foreign country … how does one determine copyrights for re-selling works, what limits are there on sales markups, etc. For instance, I have work my family purchased while residing in Japan and Germany during post WWII eras and might want to either produce copies of or sell the originals … what legal pitfalls might I encounter?

    Thanks, Michael

  7. I enter lots of International and National competitions and in the last few years I have been very fortunate to be accepted into many of them. The first internationals show I was accepted in was AWS (American Watercolor Society) in New York and I am so glad they required Airfloat boxes. I had no idea how to ship, but I followed their instructions, called Airfloat Systems and bought an Airfloat box the size recommended by the nice lady I spoke with. It was a really cool nest that held my painting perfectly. I shipped it by FedEx and it arrived on time in NYC. Since then I have not had one single painting shipped in an Airfloat box damaged. And even better, I have reused those boxes many, many times. The trick is to paint the same size painting of course. My painting that was accepted into the American Women Artists museum show in Brookgreen Gardens SC this year left in an Airfloat box that had made 5 round trips to and from my home in California to states all over the country. It did not return this time, the painting sold to an online buyer and so my box made it’s final journey to the new owners of the painting.

    Now when it comes to FedEx, not such good results. One painting that was shipped home to me from a museum in Tennessee got all the way to the warehouse in the next town down the road from my house, then turned around and went all the way back to the museum in Tennessee! All the paperwork was completely accurate and correct. But instead of loading it on a truck and driving it to my house 8 miles away, the sent it all the way back to the “from address” in Tennessee. At least I had insured it! The lady at the museum had to re-ship it and that got billed to my FedEx account and I have still not been reimbursed by FedEx. My last shipment I tried UPS Ground and it arrived at the right place and at the right time. And I could insure it for the full value which is considerably higher than the insurance FedEx offers.

    I hope this information is helpful to someone. Happy painting everyone!

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