How to Consign Artwork

By Prev Info - January 20, 2023

art gallery

Consigning art is a viable method for many artists or collectors to sell their artwork. When you consign, you agree to give your art to a gallery or reseller in hopes that they can sell it for you. For their services, they will take a percentage of the sales price that you agree on prior to consignment. Though the art may take longer to sell, it's easier on you to let the gallery do all of the work. Consigning will also likely net you more profit than if you tried to sell the art, yourself.

Things You'll Need

  •     Pen
  •     Paper
  •     Tape measure
  •     Digital camera


1 - Measure your artwork's dimensions and write them down. One of the first things a gallery often wants to know is how much space your art takes up.

2 - Take three or four quality pictures of your artwork. Galleries want to see your art before buying, and they often use digital pictures as their first measure of judging whether or not they can sell your art.

3 - Research galleries with experience selling art similar to yours. You can consign locally or with a shop farther away, provided they accept online inquiries. Take into consideration how much traffic the gallery gets and their track record selling consigned art.

4 - Choose a gallery and figure out how they go about acquiring consigned art. Visit their website to see if they do the process online or ask a gallery employee about the process.

5 - Fill out and submit the gallery's consignment application. Each gallery differs, so follow their instructions precisely for the best chance of getting your artwork consigned. Before they officially agree to consign your art, you will likely have to take the art in for physical inspection to ensure the art is as it appeared in your pictures.    

6 - Determine the logistics of your contract if the gallery agrees to consign your art. Written consignment agreements are a must to ensure both parties know the terms of the consignment and hold up their end of the bargain. Important factors include the sales price, the percentage of the price that the gallery wants for selling your art, the length of the consignment, how long they have to pay you if the art sells, who pays for shipping or transportation costs and how they'll pay you once the art sells. Determine who will ensure the art against theft or damage, you or the gallery.

7 - Deliver your art to the gallery as per your consignment agreement. Ensure that you have a physical copy of the consignment agreement before delivery to alleviate any risks.

Tips & Warnings

Consigned art may take a year or more to sell, or the art could sell in a few weeks. If a quick turn around is important, consider selling your art instead.

Galleries often take anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the final selling price as their commission. This detail should be very clear in the consignment agreement.

Consider talking to other artists or art sellers who've consigned with the gallery you choose. Ask about their experience and whether they would recommend that gallery to others.

Avoid accepting an agreement where the gallery will buy your art for a lower price if they can't sell it on consignment. While not exclusively the case, this may motivate them to put less effort into selling in hopes of later buying your artwork at a cheap price.