When to Show Prices of Your Art [Updated]

If you want to sell your art, show your prices.
Back in 2006, I wrote a post about when to post your prices.
Times have changed and I want to make sure that you have my current view on this topic.

If You're Looking for Galleries

Jane Guthridge Art
Installation at Ice Cube Gallery in Denver featuring work by Jane Guthridge. Artwork ©Jane Guthridge.

Many people will tell you not to post your prices if you're looking for galleries to represent your art. Their reasoning is that galleries won't want to see you trying to sell your work on your own.
I believe this is old thinking.
A good gallery shouldn't fear artists trying to sell their work. On the contrary, they should be thrilled that artists are doing everything they can to drive sales.
In an interview, a prominent Santa Fe gallerist told me  in no uncertain terms that she WANTS to see prices on a site. She says that without prices, she doesn't know if the artists would be a good fit for her space. If there are no prices, she's forced to take the extra step of contacting the artist. This is too much trouble!
If you are represented by galleries already, make your galleries happy by posting the phrase “Available through X gallery” underneath corresponding images. Ask your gallery whether or not they want you to post the prices along with that phrase.

Websites, Blogs, and Social Media Sites

YES! Post your prices if you're trying to sell your art.
Some artists say that withholding prices encourages serious lookers to contact them. They think they have a better shot at a sale if they can talk to the interested party.
I believe not posting prices sends the message that either the work isn't for sale or it's too expensive.

Exhibitions, Open Studios, Art Fairs & Festivals

Again, yes! Post your prices if you're trying to sell your art.
Don't force people to ask. They usually won't.
Make it easy for people to say, “Yes! I want it!”

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17 thoughts on “When to Show Prices of Your Art [Updated]”

  1. Right now I have my prices listed on a PDF available on my website. But there are no prices listed with the work in the website portfolio. Is it a mistake to have these separated?

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Elizabeth: At least there there! And your price list is easy to find.
      What is the purpose of making a separate document?

    2. I think it was advice I read that makes you look like a “serious” artist. Now it just seems silly. I might just put prices with the work, and leave the price list for further explanation, etc.

    3. Alyson Stanfield

      Elizabeth: Seems like doing both is extra work. I’d do one or the other.
      Yes, I understand that we used to think along those lines.

  2. Alyson, thank you so much! I hate the ‘coy’ contact artist for pricing lines. Sometimes I’m just curious…Robert Genn posts his prominently, in a separate area. Readily accessible, but having it separate lets collectors know that every painting he does at a certain size is the same price. When he does increase his prices, it is easy to change just the chart.

  3. I completely agree. The reason people use the Internet is convenience. Not putting prices on available work is inconvenient. You are far more likely to lose sales than gain them by forcing someone to contact you. Suppose you aren’t available for a phone call, or it is a long distance charge, or you don’t reply for 24 hours. All ways to lose potential sales. Supporting galleries with links to their sites where your work is available is courteous and shows you have their back. I believe the only way to show work available from a gallery is to have a link to it. Otherwise, don’t show it.

  4. Alyson, I have gone back and forth on whether to post prices. My problem is when I raise them, which happens in small increments every few years. While it’s easy for me to put the new price on my site, out there in my galleries I cannot make a busy gallery owner create new labels on pieces that are already hanging. Should I just raise prices on the new work from that point on? Suggestions?

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Rani: Gallerists should totally understand the need to change your prices. But talk with them and see what they think. It might be okay to leave the work at the “old” price.
      Many galleries don’t even post prices next to work, but have price sheets. Easy enough to change those.
      This is a good question, though. One I don’t think we covered in the Pricing seminar. Maybe someone else here has experience with this.
      But bottom line: the need to create new labels shouldn’t be a reason for not raising your prices.

  5. This is exactly what I’ve been freaking out about lately. I was in SUCH a quandary but now I understand that it’s a question of old vs. new thinking. Thank you! I think I’ll re-list my original works again in my store. It’s absolutely true that they sell better that way than “contact if interested.”

  6. Sara Mathewson

    I don’t have a website yet and need to upgrade my blog. However I do read other peoples blogs and go to their websites to look at work for sale. I totally agree that artists should put their prices on their websites and blogs for that matter. But what I’m wondering is if there should be a ‘Buy Now’ link under the price. For me it is an easy way to purchase the art but, I have heard that you shouldn’t have this. I have to say that while it is much easier to purchase art that way, I also think that it makes the pages look a little bit cluttered. What do you think about the ‘buy now’ links?

  7. What would you suggest for a new artist that is still working to price her pieces? I do not want to change the price of my pieces once I have posted them.
    I’ve started talking to a couple boutiques about carrying my work and their suggested retail prices have a bit of variation. Since I do not yet have a name for myself their suggested prices are more a function of THEIR name than my own.

  8. Pingback: Pointers on Wall Labels for Your Art Exhibit — Art Biz Blog

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