Gallery fee-splitting

April 14, 2006

Dear Rodney,

Something a bit unusual happened to three of my dealers last
month. I realize now that it's part of a trend that challenges
how galleries operate. While there are several variations, it
goes something like this:

An art collector, loyal to a given dealer, wants to purchase
the work of a certain artist, but doesn't see exactly what he
wants in the dealer's inventory. Going onto the all-pervasive
Internet, he finds something in the inventory of another
gallery, in another city. The two dealers chat on the phone and
agree to share the commission. The common solution, but not the
only one, is for the originating dealer--the one with the
customer but not the work of art--to have the target dealer
ship the work to him. If and when the sale is completed, the
originating dealer sends a cheque to the target dealer for
(generally) half the commission. There's not as much profit for
either dealer, but the system rather effortlessly gets the work
sold, and the customer is happy.

At other times the target dealer handles the sale, framing,
delivery etc., and sends the agreed percentage along to the
originating dealer. It has to be realized that dealers have
traditionally stood guard over their customer base and mailing
lists. They may also have maintained a stance of exclusive
isolation, as well as not being willing to split commissions.
Believe it or not, a few galleries haven't noticed that the
Internet has become the killer tool for collectors in search of
art. Savvy galleries understand what's happening, go with the
flow, reap the goodwill, and profit.

This brings us to the artists. These days, creative people who
would thrive economically need to have a presence on the
Internet. Generally speaking, a variety of quality outlets add
credibility to an artist. The value of the Greater Internet
Gallery for both current and resale works, together with
published and consistent prices, leads to collector confidence.
I'm a believer in stand-alone artist's websites that direct
visitors to the artist's dealers. Other connectivity, such as
the free Painter's Keys Art Directory with its unique shadow
pages, quietly and respectfully ensures high search engine
placement and better collector traffic. Currently, our own
Premium Link Listing--for which we do charge an annual fee--is
proving to be even more effective. Artists and dealers alike
now find themselves in a Greater Global Village where new
connectivity is happening and new cooperation is necessary. 

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "Art is my vehicle through life; may we share the ride
together." (Ron Wickersham)