How do I become an artist's agent?
April 3, 2012 1:15 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is a serious artist/painter who's asked me to be his agent so I was wondering how to structure the money side of the equation? Is there a standard agent's commission based upon a percentage of the price of each painting sold through the gallery or galleries?

Are there standard "artist/agent" agreements or contracts available on-line?

Thanks in advance.
posted by tangyraspberry to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know many professional artists, but never heard of any of them having an agent. Several of my friends have gallerists. The gallerist takes a big chunk of the work sold -- something like 40-50%, but that varies a lot, I guess that's maybe the average for a mid-career reputable but not-so-famous artist).

The price tag includes a gallery space to show the work and access to a list of regular clients who are serious collectors and get private views of each show before the opening. Of course, there's the opening, with printed invites sent to the art community, and where drinks and sometimes food are served. Gallerists also do/offer a lot of schmoozing with museum curators, art institutions' administrators, art academics, art publications, and other artists, fomenting mentor/protégé relationships and opening doors to all sorts of career improvement. They sometimes print catalogues of the shows, acting as de-facto micropresses.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 3:25 PM on April 3, 2012

Sorry to go meta on your question, but is your friend represented by more than a couple of galleries and/or internationally known? I mean, are they, like, supporting themselves on income from their work? Because if not, I think you both misunderstand the role of an artist's agent. In the same vein, I might suggest that unless you are already an artist's agent who doesn't have to ask a question like this, then you're not going to be able to do much for your friend.
posted by cmoj at 3:26 PM on April 3, 2012

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