In today’s economic environment and attitudes, selling art has never been so difficult. Just ask you local gallery. If professionals are having problems selling art, you can imagine how difficult it is for private individual. Especially, if the artist’s work does not have active presence on the secondary market. The secondary market is the market for art that has been created in the past. This is sometimes called “dead art,” although an artist does not have to be dead in order to sell on the secondary market. The secondary market is primary the art auction market, but also includes dealers that buy and sell these artists.
     There are many internet sites that provide information on auction sales results. But a collector can secure basic information by doing a search of the artist on one of the major search engines such as Google. If the artist does not show up, you can be assured that they do not have secondary presence.
     If the artist does not have presence on the secondary market, the prospects of selling the work are not great. If the artist is currently represented by galleries, there is a possibility that the gallery may be willing to take the paintings on a consignment basis with a large commission. But galleries are reluctant to do this because they are offering art that competes with the artist, who is never happy to see this in their galleries.
     If the artist does is not currently represented, then the only real possibility is selling the work on a local auction or an online auction such as Ebay. The prices that either alternative generate are generally very low, and the collector might be better off keeping the work for their own enjoyment.
     If the artist does have presence on the secondary market, the collector should investigate auctions that have sold the work as well as dealers who represent the artist. Again, this information is readily available on the internet at reasonable fees. Some auctions sell certain artists at higher prices than others. Obviously, those are the auctions you should place the artwork. Auctions commissions run about 15% which compares favorably to the 30% or higher a gallery may charge. Selling the work to the dealer may not bring the price that may have been realized at an auction, but you have the certainty of sale, which may not happen at an auction.
     In summary, selling art is never easy, but if the artist is on the secondary market the prospects are immensely more favorable. If they are not, you are probably better off enjoying the work yourself or possibly donating it to a charity.

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-- Never sell a piece of art to the person who appraised it. Get a second appraisal. --

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