NYFA: Dr. Art on Contracts with Galleries & Collectors

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Courtesy of NYFA.org


This column addresses the issue of contracts between artists, galleries and collectors. A contract is the essential tool that informs both parties of their responsibilities and objectives. If you and your gallery/collector work well together, you will rarely, if ever, refer to it.


Since I am not a lawyer (I’m not even a doctor), I thought it best to cull information from the top publications in the field dealing with the business of art. I compiled the following highlights from the five books listed below (see Great Publications on Contracts) in order to shed some light on consignment agreements with galleries, formal representation contracts with galleries, and bills of sale with collectors. Contracts address important issues of ownership and negotiation.


Consignment Agreements with Galleries


Whenever you consign works to a gallery for an exhibition, you do not need a formal representation contract, but you do need a consignment agreement in writing that discusses the following 7 points:


  • Names of the specific works to be exhibited.
  • Duration of the consignment.
  • Payer of shipping and insurance to and from the exhibition.
  • Insurance during the exhibition.
  • Retail prices of the works (to be set by you).
  • Your income on sales and when you will receive payment (usually within 30 days after the sale).
  • Gallery’s commission on sales (all discounts given on sales should be born by the gallery).


Representation Contracts with Galleries


Formal contracts should be signed prior to the start of your representation. Customize a contract that suits your individual needs.  Possible points to cover include:


  • Parties Involved in the Contract
  • Duration of the Contract
  • Scope of the Contract
  • Shipping
  • Storage
  • Insurance
  • Framing
  • Photographs
  • Artistic Control
  • Gallery Exhibitions
  • Reproduction Rights
  • Damage or Deterioration
  • Protection on the Market
  • Selling Prices
  • Billing and Terms of Sale
  • Compensation of the Gallery
  • Income from other Sales
  • Accounting/Payment
  • Advances/Guarantees
  • General Provisions

Bills of Sale with Collectors

An informal contract called a Bill of Sale should accompany each artwork you sell to a collector. A Bill of Sale states your rights as an artist and it must be signed by you and the collector  . . . view full article at NYFA.org

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