How Many Paintings Do I Need to Approach a Gallery?

Art dealer walking with paintings in art gallery
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Question: How Many Paintings Do I Need to Approach a Gallery?

"How many paintings do I need in order to approach an art gallery? I only have about two original paintings, so will any galleries accept me with such a limited amount of artwork?" -- Iwene


I doubt very much that a gallery would be interested in an artist with only a couple of paintings. Galleries are interested in a body of work that shows consistency in ability and style. Their interest, or bottom line, is to present work which is saleable to collectors and with the expectation that if collectors do buy they can expect to find more similar works in future.

I would think 15 to 20 paintings would be a good start. It might be best to contact them ahead of time to arrange a time suitable for both of you and request how many actual paintings they would need to see to determine if they would have some interest. Perhaps you could carry along a portfolio with photos of some of your other works in addition to the paintings that you carry. Or you could make up a portfolio to be viewed on a CD if they are equipped to view it.

Most bricks and mortar galleries have to make enough income to sustain themselves and so, no matter how much they may personally like your work, they have always to consider the bottom line. Their costs are not small, and they depend on their artists' sales commissions to help them pay the rent, utilities, and other business expenses. There are major costs for promotion and the 40 to 60 percent they collect from their artists is well earned if they do this well.

I'd suggest lots more experience and a ton of work before actually proceeding with this. Always bearing in mind what you will need when you ultimately make the approach.

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