Selling paintings online
April 5, 2009 9:38 AM   Subscribe

I have some paintings left to me by a deceased relative. We've identified the artists and have some rough idea of their value, maybe a few hundred or more per per piece. What's the best way to sell them?

These paintings have been sitting in a corner of my house for months where I periodically think 'why the devil are these still here'. They are attractive art works but not something I want to hang on my wall. Is there an online venue where I can put them up for sale without having to resort to the auction format? What other methods are there for getting some fair market value for them?
posted by diode to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There was just a news story on NPR a few weeks ago talking about the HUGE fallout in the art market. My girlfriend also owns a kickass and VERY affordable gallery in town and they are barely making it happen. They used to sell nearly every piece of every installation. I would definitely think about waiting for a bit to sell. You might not even get 50% of their true value.
posted by eggerspretty at 10:46 AM on April 5, 2009

Just to echo what eggerspretty is saying, I have a collection of Salvador Dali works and a Peter Max original I had been contemplating selling, and two different friends with expertise in these things have advised holding on to them for the time being, as they claim the market has softened significantly.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:49 AM on April 5, 2009

A lot of people sell art on ebay, at the least you could go look at the site and see what people are bidding for similar works. Then decide if that's a price you can live with.
Also, just as a counterpoint, I work in a (small, local, affordable) art gallery and we're not hurting for sales.
posted by entropyiswinning at 12:15 PM on April 5, 2009

I had a piece of art that I didn't want to deal with selling myself, so I used an auction firm that held free appraisal days. With something worth more than a few hundred dollars, I didn't want to trust myself to deal with it. I basically dropped the piece off with them, and picked up a check later. I'm positive they got a better deal than I could have alone.

I REALLY recommend this.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 2:22 PM on April 5, 2009

Our city of ~150,000 has a series of events called Artwalk where you walk around the various "galleries" downtown. Most of these galleries are hair salons, restaurants or bars. At first it seemed odd to have the paintings for sale at a hair salon, but it makes sense that someone who pays a few hundred dollars just to get their hair colored wouldn't think twice to pay a few hundred for a painting that they liked. Plus, the patrons are a captive audience. Most paintings just have a little card underneath the painting with the artist's name and price. You might check with a high end salon or restaurant in your city to see if they would do this for you for a cut.
posted by Yorrick at 3:26 PM on April 5, 2009

Response by poster: My city of ~150,000 also has an Artwalk, so I'm thinking Yorick's city is my city. That's an idea I hadn't contemplated, so I'll check that out and perhaps also look into dropping the art off with an auction firm. I like that idea as it would get it done.

Thanks all.
posted by diode at 8:04 AM on April 6, 2009

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