Are Art Gallery Prices Negotiable? - Cramer Imaging - Quality Fine Art Photography
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Are Art Gallery Prices Negotiable?

Are Art Gallery Prices Negotiable?
When most of us think about going to buy fine art, we tend to think of going to an art gallery to make that purchase.  Then we get there and reel from the sticker shock we see on price tags.  This is enough to dissuade most people from buying fine art right there.  However, there are some who wonder if those prices are negotiable.  That's what we're discussing here today.

Cramer Imaging's graphic of fine art with a high price tag attached to it
High fine art prices like this are not always a welcome drain on our pocket books.
In order to properly understand whether art gallery prices are negotiable, we first need to understand how they make their money.  Art galleries are paid by commission.  This means that they take a cut from the final sale price of any item they sell.  Often this cut is a percentage of the total sale price.  From this percentage, they pay their employees and other bills to keep their doors open.  Because of this, it is in their financial best interests to sell art at as high a price as possible.

Some galleries will have a policy of not negotiating price.  Some will allow for it.  It depends on the gallery and the clientele they cater to.  The higher end the art, the more likely you will be able to bargain with them.

There is probably a certain amount of buffer written into the price you see on the tag.  They will also have a minimum selling price that you will not be able to negotiate below no matter what.  This is especially true for high end art which is limited edition or one of a kind.
Are art gallery prices negotiable? It depends on the gallery and the art.
Cramer Imaging's professional quality nature photograph of a tall red rock formation in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Not every art piece is price negotiable even if the gallery will negotiate.
If you find a gallery interested in making a sale on something that's been sitting for a while, they might be willing to negotiate the price listed on the art piece for sale.  It certainly won't hurt to ask. You might be surprised at what the art gallery might be willing to deal on.  Just don't expect a huge discount.  They do still have to keep their doors open after all.

Also, keep in mind that negotiation prices are also dependent on the personal preferences of the artist who created the piece.  If he or she isn't interested in lowering the price, you will be out of luck no matter what the gallery's policies are concerning negotiation.

So, in short, are art gallery prices negotiable?  The answer is "it depends."  Each is different and will have their own policies.  If you don't see the policy posted, ask the staff.  They'll let you know either way.  They'll also tell you the personal feelings of the artist they represent.  It's a quick and painless question which might save you some headache and embarrassment later.

Have you had any experience negotiating prices with an art gallery?  We'd love to hear about them.  Please leave them in the comments section below so we can all learn more about how flexible they generally are when negotiating.