How to Negotiate with an Artist on Price

Artist Rachael Harbert stands looking at painting "White Storm" as it hangs on a painted cement block wall

Finding art that you want to own can be quite the adventure. No matter who you are, the hunt is thrilling, and it’s normal that you want to get a “good deal” or get fair value for what you buy.

At times, you may find a painting or piece of art that is out of your budget, and you may want the price to come down a bit in order to be able to purchase it.

My advice on negotiating is to…go for it!

As an artist, I am thrilled when someone takes an interest in my work, and we artists need more people like you who are interested buying art.

Even if I may never meet you in person, we can still get to know each other through online chats, by phone, email and social platforms. You can get a real sense of who I am and what my art is about, which will make owning my art more valuable to you.

Anybody who is genuinely excited about the prospect of owning my art and is willing to talk money says plenty to me already.

So, I would rather entertain an offer that is lower than my asking price than no offer at all.

Two steps toward negotiating with an artist on price...

  • First, know your price range.

  • Second, contact the artist.

Contact the Artist - 2 Tips for Making Your Offer

I know you want to be respectful of the artist when you contact him or her with your offer, so here are two tips for success.

Tip #1 - Briefly Explain the Reason for Your Lower Offer

When you contact the artist, let the artist know how much you love the work you want to own, and then ask the artist if the selling price is firm. Or you can come out directly and make an offer that is less.

Let the artist know that you’re making a lower offer since otherwise you would not be able to purchase the painting. Being open with the artist in your negotiations will likely lend you success in your negotiations.

Tip #2 - Know How Much Lower Your Offer Can Be

Foremost, you probably already understand that buying a painting directly from an artist usually means that the price is already lower than if you were to buy it in a gallery.

Therefore, a reasonable discount to aim for is between 5-to-15 percent – which on some pieces can be a serious chunk of change. You might even be able to go as high as 20 percent.

If the 5-to-20 percent discount puts the painting in your budget, then don’t be shy about negotiating for a lower price. Being reasonable about your lower offer will likely also lend you success in your negotiations.

If You’re Looking for a Deep Markdown

If you’re looking for a deep markdown beyond the 5-to-20 percent range discussed earlier, I recommend to you three options:

  • Try to find another piece by the artist within your price range
  • Keep saving for the piece you really want
  • Contact the artist and ask if the artist can create a painting for you within your price range

Negotiating Price with a Gallery

If you want to negotiate price with a gallery, it can be done, but there are additional factors to consider.

Here is a short article from Burnaway.org that will help you – Is It Okay to Haggle with an Art Gallery?

Interested in the painting shown in this article?
Learn more about the painting by clicking on the photo.
Abstract expressionistic painting White Storm

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