Today we will explore the fascinating world of contemporary art galleries. Our goal is to understand their business model and, above all, to provide you with practical advice for joining a gallery as an artist. To deepen your knowledge, I invite you to consult a study by the Ministry of Culture on art galleries in France, dating from 2012.
The Landscape of Galleries in France
In France, there are around 2000 art galleries, half of which are in Paris. These galleries fall into two main categories: those in the first market, selling works by living artists, and those in the second market, dealing with works already sold elsewhere.
Premier Marché Galleries: Operation and Categories
The galleries of the first market are further divided into two groups. The first rents their exhibition space, with costs varying depending on size and location. The second group, which is of more interest to us, includes galleries taking risks by actively representing and advocating for a select group of artists.
Representation and Economy of Risky Galleries
These galleries manage all costs associated with exhibiting and promoting artists, often sharing sales revenue equally (50/50). Some, especially larger ones, may even cover production costs, especially for expensive works like sculptures.
Strategies for Attracting Galleries' Attention
To get noticed, it is crucial to maximize your visibility:
- Be active on social networks.
- Participate in artist residencies and compete for prizes.
- Exhibit at recognized trade fairs, such as the Salon de Montrouge.
The Role and Criteria of the Gallerist
A gallery owner chooses his artists according to his heart, considering both the work and the personality of the artist. A long-term relationship of trust is often established between the artist and the gallery owner.
Canvassing a Gallery: The Steps to Follow
- Search: Find a gallery that matches your style.
- Information: Find out about the galleries and the artists they exhibit.
- Contact: Approach the gallery appropriately, whether by email, telephone or in person.