Asking your gallery for addresses

Sally Bullers left this question on the blog:

Is it legitimate to ask gallery owners for the name and address of those who purchase your art? I like to drop them a note and keep up my mailing list. Some galleries are very protective of these names.

You're right, Sally, some galleries are very protective. It's because they've been burned by artists who ended up selling directly to patrons or simply because they've heard of it happening to other dealers. You can eliminate a lot of the worry by negotiating with your gallery and nurturing trust in the artist-gallery relationship.

Yes, you should not only ask for names, you should have this arrangement built into your contracts with galleries. You need these names should something (heaven forbid) happen to your gallery. And your gallery should be able to trust you with them. (See links above for more.)

Image (c) Sally Bullers, Chase Away the Blues.

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6 thoughts on “Asking your gallery for addresses”

  1. I have only recently honed in on trying to be really good about keeping names of clients. In a previous life, I lived and died by lists of names and contacts, you’d think that would have transferred. But it felt like too much trouble. How silly. It’s the absolute rock foundation of one’s business! of course! I wonder if it’s easier to negotiate with galleries than shops. Shops are VERY careful with their customer lists!

  2. I’d like to respectfully put my two cents in. As a gallery owner, I agree that it is very important to develop a good working relationship with your gallery. That takes some time and trial to prove out. I also do not like to give out my customer’s information to the artists unless the client specifically asks me to. Of course there is the small (but real) threat of an artist circumventing the gallery for future sales. Though very shortsighted on the part of the artist, it does happen. More than that, I hesitate to give it out because that list is precisely what I am in the business of acquiring. I imagine an artist would not be willing to spend much time and effort on a wonderful piece, enter it in a juried contest, win, and then turn the award over to the gallery. I do have good relationships with most of my artists and I am more than willing to provide my list to them, but it has taken a long time of mutual respect for each others career before it felt right. I’m sorry if this seems inappropriate for this blog but I though it might be insightful for some.

  3. Shouldn’t a good gallery be keeping past and current contacts up to date on what an artist is doing? Those people should already be on the gallery mailing list and should be apprised of all new work, shows, etc. coming into the gallery. Although artists may want the names of specific customers to thank them I’m sure most galleries would be happy to pass along a note, etc. In today’s world most customers will find your website and be able to contact you anyway. It should probably be in your gallery contract to take such contacts and names with you when and if you leave the gallery so you may maintain a relationship but it’s probably good business to let the gallery take care of you while you’re there. If they’re not, then it’s probably time to find a new gallery anyway. Good galleries build good relationships with customers and often act as welcome buffers for the artist, allowing the artist to do what the artist does best.

  4. This just infuriates me when a gallery will not trust me to give me the names and addresses of my collectors. I have a 50% investment in my buyers as well. I would NEVER undercut my gallery, sell below my gallery prices to my collectors from my studio, or not give my gallery a commission if I were contacted because a collector contacted me from seeing work in my gallery! I am fairly certain it is against the law in the state of California to not share information of the artist’s buyers with the artist. I wish that was the law in Colorado. It very hard to feel trust with a gallery who won’t trust you with such basic information. I have had great re pore with galleries who treat me as fellow owner/part of the business. I will do anything to promote my galleries that treat me with respect and trust!

  5. Clint, In the current blog you suggest having our site capable of capturing email addresses. How do I do that? My biggest problem with my site is getting email addresses of collectors. As in the current blogs, my galleries will not give out their/my collector list. I’m in California and it was suggested in one of the current blogs that it was the law in California to give names and addresses to the artists. True? RonG

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