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How to price your artwork

11 May - 2022
by Vincent Moleveld


You have created a work of art and now would like to sell it. But what do you put on the price tag? How do you decide what your painting is worth? If you’re famous, people will not doubt the value of your work. Lesser known, is it reasonable to expect immediate riches? Even if you have given your heart and bared your soul in paint, and spent a lot of time to get to the end result? Surely, at the very least the time you invested should be reimbursed?

The answer to what you can charge for your creation is not clear-cut. But the following tips will help pricing artwork.


1: Decide on an hourly rate.

Write down the hours you spend on creating your artwork. Add the costs of the materials used, and overhead (studio space, heating, insurances, rent). One plus one plus one makes three, you would think. But what is a reasonable hourly rate? This is open to debate. You must be able to eat, at least there’s that. But generally, the freelance hourly rate (for fine art) is lower than in other creative professions and, for instance, communications. In America the hourly pay for fine art is estimated at 25 dollars. Fifty percent of all freelance artists in The Netherlands, Europe, earn a similar rate (28 Euro or less, per hour). A third of all freelance artists in The Netherlands earn even less than 15 Euro per hour.


2: Research and ask around

Find out what artists in your league charge for their work. Don’t compare apples with pears. But DO compare with the work of artists using similar disciplines, materials, with a similar experience and based in your part of the world. And ask colleagues who successfully sell their artwork what they charge. If you sell directly to clients, don’t compare your work with other artists who sell through galleries – art galleries often add a (high) mark up. Pay attention: if you already work with art galleries, they won’t like it if you charge much less if you sell directly to clients. The price you decide on should generally be the same for your studio and the gallery.

Of course, you will not have this problem selling your work through Online Gallery. We don’t add a mark up and we don’t charge commission.


3: Don’t be emotional

Have you produced work so dear to yourself you only could part with it at a top rate? May be just keep it for yourself, don’t sell it. It is not reasonable to base value purely on emotions. Pricing art is similar to pricing other products: look at the size and materials used.


4: Offer various prices

If you want to attract more buyers, vary your price range to be more accessible to those with a lower budget. An enthusiastic young art lover with a small wallet might have more means in the future to buy your more expensive artwork. By offering a smaller work now at an affordable price, say 250 Euro, you have opened the door and invited your new buyer in. He will be interested in your future work. Offering affordable prints is also a good way to create a bond with new clients.


5: Be prepared to defend your prices

If you have taken the steps above (and have calculated your price based on hourly rate, costs of materials and overhead), be prepared to stand for your product and confidently explain your price. Potential clients want to be reassured their purchase is a good one. Show them you have sold artwork at similar prices before. People are inclined to say your work is too expensive; be confident and be ready to prove your price is realistic.