Selling Art

We provide free advice on how to sell art, but if you are not comfortable selling yourself we can refer you to professional sellers and they will do all the work and take care of everything for you.


The art market is large and divided in sub-markets by countries, even by regions and by price levels. The first task is to determine what kind of painting you own because it will tell you where to sell.

Internationally famous painter

Art by an international artist can be offered for sale everywhere but if it is an important or significant work by the artist it should be offered at an international location such as New York, London, Berlin or Hong Kong, depending on what it is. These are today's international art centers.

Nationally recognized painters

Generally, these paintings should be marketed in the country where the artist is well known and respected but there are exceptions. For example, there is no art market in Cuba. If you have a work by Mario Carreno; an important Cuban painter; Cuba would nearly be the last place where you would want to try to sell it. The situation is the same for artists from underdeveloped countries and those suffering from economic depression or social unrest. The country of the artist is only the best place to sell if there is some art market activity, emerging prosperity and a social climate conducive to collecting art. If these favorable conditions don't exist, you will do better selling outside the artist's country.

Regionally important painte

You should make every effort to sell works by Regional artists in the particular region where they worked and that is shown in their paintings. If you have a painting by a well-respected Texan artist and his paintings relate to Texas, there would be no point in offering it for sale in Chicago or New England. Sell it in Texas, where he has a following and is locally known and appreciated and where people relate to what his paintings show.

Good but unknown painter

Your painting may not be signed or if it is, the artist could be one of the many that have remained obscure, with just a line or two in art dictionaries. Some of these paintings have considerable merit but the art market does not pay for skill and talent, it pays for fame. Find out when and where your painting was executed, and get an idea of the market for the artist; if there is one at all; before deciding on where and how to sell it.

Insignificant painters

There are tens of thousands of horrible and mediocre painters. Their paintings are going nowhere. The easiest way to dispose of these pictures is to consign them to a small local auctioneer. Sometimes, depending on your situation, a better option is to donate them to a charitable organization for a tax deduction.


The best time to sell art is Winter. The second best time to sell art is early Spring. The third best time to sell art is late Fall.


The buyers who pay the most are institutions. The buyers who pay the second most are private collectors. Among overlooked buyers are the Federal Agencies, State and County Departments, historical buildings, libraries and of course museums. Art is collected everywhere. The Air Force has a fine art collection and so does the Navy and the State Department and every Governor's mansion and State Legislature's building.


We provide free advice on how to sell art, but if you don't want to do it yourself, the professionals here selling art will do the work for you.

What you should know if you want to sell your art yourself

  • Price is the most important factor in selling art.
  • Record high prices for the artist have no effect on the price you can get. As a private seller you will do well if you get from the low to the median price for the artist.
  • It is a common seller's fantasy to dream there is an art buyer who will fall in love with your painting and pay an unreasonably high price on account of it.
  • Most art buyers are treasure hunters, they are looking for a bargain, for undervalued art.
  • Galleries offer terms of payment and credit. You don't
  • Galleries give trial periods and accept returns. You probably don't.
  • Galleries guarantee the art to be authentic. Perhaps you don't.
  • It will be difficult for you to sell for as much as a gallery because you are not making it as easy, as comfortable and as safe as a gallery does.
  • Art does not sell quickly. Even for galleries the turnover is slow. Every gallery that has been in business for years has paintings it has had for sale for years.
  • There are exceptions but generally it does not pay to have a painting restored or reframed. Try to sell it as is.
  • Selling through auction houses has some drawbacks. One is uncertainty. You don't know what the final bid will be.
  • When you consign to an art gallery, you must understand that you put yourself in the position of an art dealer who would own a single painting. It may take a while before it sells. Consider that every long established gallery has had some paintings for 25 years, others for 50 years. In fact, some of the oldest art galleries have paintings they purchased 100 years ago. It is not that these works are of poor quality. They just have not sold yet.

This is about it. If you have a question send us an email or a message from the Contact page and we'll be pleased to give you some advice.

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By phone: 212-658-0466

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