Why Are Gallery Commissions so High?

Art Galleries are the emerging trend to sell paintings, crafts, sculptures, embroideries, and other artwork. The gallery gives an opportunity to the artist for exhibiting their art form to a large group of audiences. The wide reach and fame would have been impossible otherwise.


There is a lot to learn and know when it comes to showcasing your artwork in the gallery. How do you approach the gallery owner and decide on the meeting based on your portfolio? Is it you who price your work or it’s just the opposite?


All these questions can baffle you before making the final settlement with the owner. Moreover, you may think about how much commission is standard pricing that a gallery should charge?


In this article, we will provide insights into why galleries charge a high commission. This will give an idea of whether the high pricing is justifiable or not. Let’s delve into the aspects.

Reasons for High Gallery Commission Charges

  • Creative Supplier

The artworld is full of competition, and it’s challenging to break through the game. It needs creative suppliers that have a good connection and reach in the industry market. They have their own marketing department working on strategies to sell the artwork.


It typically involves upscaling the gallery with proper lighting and display so it appears aesthetically pleasing. The creative supplier curates different art forms from various genres of artists feeding the appetite of the visitors. It also requires them to know about the trends existing in the market and know the state of the art that people are willing to buy.


The creative suppliers possess multi skills that go a long way in making the art deal successful. They have in-depth knowledge and acumen of a specific genre of art, public relations, and fundraising skills. The maximum commission goes to the creative supplier for their elaborate task associated with art galleries.

  • Exhibition Fees

Art exhibitions are becoming a popular trend for art gallery online when it comes to displaying artwork. Though, exhibitions don’t play a direct role in negotiating a deal, starting an auction, or setting prices for the work of artists. Artists can use exhibitions in other ways to drum up interest in their work.


Exhibitions are more of a catalyst for art that represents and display ideas making them more relevant and accessible to contemporary audiences. It is an excellent way to elaborate the art with catchy headlines, art descriptions. Inspirations, and essays defining the same. Artists get a fantastic opportunity to motivate and inspire visitors in their favor.


Attending the art exhibitions also benefits them to get in acquaintance with several personalities. It gives them a scope to develop their existing network and make their career more promising. This is another reason why your commission charges can increase when it comes to displaying in art galleries.

  • Gallery Shop and Cafe

A side business like a shop and cafe makes it profitable to operate a gallery. There are many art galleries that feature a shop as a unit selling different commodities. It involves selling things like handmade objects, jewelry, ceramics, craftworks, and prints and arts from their exhibiting artists.


The gallery can also have a separate space dedicated to a cafe where artists and visitors can enjoy snacks and meals while browsing the artwork. Some galleries have book shops that have a marvelous collection of artists’ biographies, art history, art theories, and many such books on related concepts.


The electricity and maintenance costs of running such facilities also add up to the gallery cost. Probably now you can gauge why gallery commissions are so high.

  • Additional Services

The modern art gallery is more than a place for showcasing the artwork of artists. Some of them are now facilitating a host of services that makes it convenient for the artist to get everything under a single horizon. Art galleries are transforming themselves to make their business prospects more profitable and lucrative.


These additional services consist of providing home installation services, advice on art investment, assisting in selecting art from home and office, and buying and selling in the secondary market. Some galleries make a significant proportion of income through these additional services. This can be a valid cause behind the galleries charging high commissions.

  • Staff Wages

Staff wages are another reason why commission costs are becoming high. The owners have to pay wages to the staff who are responsible for looking after the daily affairs of the gallery. The responsibilities include assisting in gallery work, looking after maintenance, regular operational activities, and others.


It is nearly impossible to maintain a large gallery without employing the staff. They also provide the necessary support to the artists, creative suppliers, and visitors related to the field of the gallery. If there are additional shops and cafes the wages will automatically get hiked.

  • Expenses

Finally, we have to discuss the expenses that are part of the gallery. You simply can’t omit them when it comes to high commissions charged by these types of businesses. The sales revenue generated has to be spent on the business rates and rents for owning the gallery. Unless someone owns an art gallery, a significant portion goes to the rental expenses.


Moreover, art galleries are in charge of providing insurance, shipping, and marketing to the artists for their artwork. This also adds to the list of expenses that gallery owners have to meet. Another expense is the value-added tax or VAT on the artwork that is mandatory to pay.


Clubbing all these expenses together will eventually elevate the cost of commission.


Bottom Line


There are different business models and strategies on which these art galleries operate. However, you need to understand that making profits from such business models demands so much from the art gallery owners. It requires administering several sections so that gallery business turns successful.


This is something where the artists can’t do anything as the gallery owners have to cover their own costs. Hopefully, we have provided all the details of why gallery commissions are so high.


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