Art Over Science

Lesson 8: Sending Artworks To Galleries On Consignment

Gallery representation is an exciting new step to becoming an established and recognized artist. However along with this comes new responsibilities. Here are four important things to consider when preparing your artworks for gallery consignment.


1. Finish off your artworks professionally.

It is essential to complete your artworks to a high standard. Your gallery will expect a certain level of professionalism, and so will their customers. Finish off your painting by signing the front, varnishing, framing or painting the sides, and applying framing tape to the back. Unless the art gallery says otherwise, always install hanging hardware to the back of your paintings. This includes hanging cord or wire, as well as D-rings or eye screws.


2. Document your consignments.

Labelling and documenting your artworks is also essential. First, write your name, the artwork title, and date of completion on the back of the painting. Duplicate this information onto a swing tag, adding further information such as size, medium, and your contact details. It is helpful if the swing tag is on a cord long enough to hang over the front of the artwork. This will make it easy for the curator to complete the price cards or catalogue.


You need to provide the gallery with a consignment receipt for every artwork delivery. This document details your name, contact details, the artwork title, dimensions, medium, reference number and the wholesale (artist) price of the artwork. This information can be transferred to your journal or consignment record book so you can keep track of the consignment. This is particularly important when you have multiple artworks on consignment at multiple galleries.


3. Use adequate packaging when sending artworks.

There is nothing worse than discovering your new artwork has been damaged in transit. This can be easily avoided by wrapping your artwork securely. Start with a layer of tissue paper to protect the surface and some cardboard envelopes on the corners. Next, wrap the painting in several layers of bubble wrap for cushioning, and then an outer covering of sturdy cardboard as a protective shell. If the painting is valuable to use thin sheets of wood, such as MDF, for ultimate protection.


4. Contact the gallery when your artwork is ready for shipping.

Lastly, contact the gallery by phone, fax or email. Advise them how many artworks are being sent and when they are expected to arrive. It is also helpful if you let them know the method of delivery, such as hand delivery, courier, etc. Remind the gallery to provide you with a consignment receipt once the artwork has arrived at its destination safely. File this document into your journal or consignment record book for safe keeping.

By following these easy steps, you will be able to complete a gallery consignment easily and professionally, and you will cement a strong, respectful relationship with the gallery.

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