What does it take to be a dealer?

December 18th, 2006

Still life by Hanneke van Oosterhout, detail

Last Friday I helped Hanneke and Maurice set up the exhibition at Galerie de Provenier. While doing this, I started to ask myself, “What does it take to be an art dealer?”

Reine Claudes en Kruisbessen by Hanneke van Oosterhout
14 x 18 cm
oil on panel

Normally I think of an art dealer as someone with a gallery. But is this a requirement? Consider an alternative. You know someone in your town (say in Kansas) who you think would like to buy one of Hanneke’s paintings (which are in The Netherlands). You take this person to Hanneke’s web site and say a bit about Hanneke and how you feel about her work. Your guest sees the painting, likes the price, and buys the painting online with PayPal. What have you done? Have you not acted as an art dealer for Hanneke? Should you not receive a commission for what you did, say, 10% of the sales price?

I’ve discussed this idea with Hanneke. She thinks it is interesting. I discussed it with an economist (an expert, but not an art expert) and the economist finds it a good idea. What do you think? Would this be a good idea, or is it nuts?

Let me make some things clear. Hanneke would not sell the pictures that are in the gallery this way, this would be for artwork that is not in any “off-line” gallery. And at the moment, she is not even trying this idea. But it seems worth discussing. What are the potential problems? Would you like to start being a dealer?

. . .

50 Responses to “What does it take to be a dealer?”

  1. Angela Ferreira Says:

    Hanneke Clap clap clap I love it!!!
    Even though I personally find still life’s boring on its own its fantastic how Hanneke make them so visual interesting and beautiful. You can look at them for hours just like you would look at a beautiful nude torso.
    That green fruit against the background is breathtaking stunning!

  2. Birgit Zipser Says:

    Clearly, Hanneke has invented a new genre of this form of art. Her still lifes are no longer still but vibrate with expression. My mother and I both have them. Mine, showing a yellow rose, is inspirational to me. I see it on my dining room wall every time I enter the house. In Germany, a large size picture hangs over a door in the living room and my eyes are involuntarily drawn to it while I enjoy drinking coffee with my mother.

  3. Steve Says:

    I thought of something along these lines when I was first reading some of the posts about what Art and Perception could do to help those selling. What I had in mind is that “dealers” would have one or more actual works on a wall in their homes so that prospective buyers could really see the kind of thing they were getting. That would help avoid possibly unpleasant surprises (what if you hated the matte surface Paul used to print his photo?). I would not want to pay much money for something I couldn’t get a direct, clear idea of, but I think the method I described would give me enough confidence.

  4. Steve Says:

    I guess it wasn’t clear in my post above that the original art work would be a lead-in to showing other available work via images on the web.

  5. Steve Says:

    To develop this a bit more in terms of “long tail” economics: the idea is similar to Google ads that anyone can put on their web site. Anybody in the world can be an agent for, say, Hanneke in return for, say, a 10% commission. Those who buy one (or have on consignment) to show others will be able to make the most convincing sales pitch.

  6. Karl Zipser Says:


    I think that when selling online, it is essential to have a return policy. If people returned the artwork undamaged within a set amount of time, then they would get their money back. At a practical level, it might make sense to pay the “dealer” after this return period had ended.

    Now let’s tie this in with your idea about being a dealer with something to show “off-line.” If the dealer bought the picture, he or she could attempt to sell it within the return period. If the sale didn’t work, he or she could return it. Aside from perhaps risking the return shipping charge, this would let the “dealer” have the work without financial risk (assuming they don’t ruin the physical work by mistake).

    The above is a natural consequence of the initial proposal. I’m not sure it is something that Hanneke would find desirable. On the other hand, it might work out well.

    The Google ads comparison doesn’t make sense to me exactly. Google pays people to host those ads (when they are legitimately used).

    What is to keep the buyer from saying, “Hey, why should so & so in Kansas get a 10% commission for my purchase? Instead, I want a 10% discount.”

  7. Steve Says:

    The Google ads isn’t a perfect analogy, but Google only pays the ad host when a visitor “buys” an ad view. The host gets a percentage of what Google gets from the ad source.

    The simplest system: nobody gets a discount. All purchases that Hanneke handles are her full price. The dealer handles everything at the other end, and extracts whatever commission their market will tolerate. If they have relationships with friends or with anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the Internet or shipping or financial transaction, then they can make a little money.

    Alternatively, and probably better, use the system where both buyer and dealer are rewarded. If as a buyer you mention the name of a previous buyer, then you get 5% off and 5% goes to the person mentioned. That gives each owner an incentive to “sell” if they are interested in doing so. Viral. If someone tries to scam the system by naming a friend, no problem: Hanneke still gets 90% of the set price, which should be set appropriately. Or keep a list of actual buyers if you want.

  8. Colin Jago Says:


    What you are talking about is separating the marketing, from the fulfillment and also from the financial handling.

    This works well for any standardised commodity. Any eBay buyitnow transaction (if you ignore the fact that eBay bought Paypal) is like this. Amazon marketplace transactions and Abebook transactions all show elements of the same.

    However, there is a problem with items that are not standardised. As Steve has said, what if you hadn’t liked the physical print that Paul sent you, even you remained attached to the image?

    To use the painting in this article as a further example….I’m really taken with Hanneke’s use of light. I’ve referred to this a couple of times using words like ‘luminous’. However, I am seeing the works as un colour mananaged photographic (or scanned) reproductions on a transmitted light viewing system. The actual objects are not transparent (i.e. they are reflected light objects) and they are the colours that they are. There could be a wide discrepancy – entirely unintentional – between what I’m seeing here in Scotland and what exists in The Netherlands.

    Anybody selling art this way would need to find a way of reducing the risk to the buyer. I mean a risk that seems ok on a fifty dollar transaction may seem too large on a five thousand dollar transaction.

    If the person doing the marketing has to have examples on consignment then the model begins to look not very different from the traditional gallery model.

    In a sense it is easier with photo sales, because they are more commodity like. Again, taking Paul’s example. I haven’t checked, but I’d be pretty sure that the images on his site are colour managed. This cuts down some of the risk. Many potential purchasers could read his description of how the prints are made and come to a fair understanding of what the physical object would look like (as you now could). Top printers are using very similar machinery and paper. I would still need to take a view on the transmitted versus reflected light issue, but apart from that, I can concentrate on the image.

    So, with photography….smaller transaction sizes, more uniformity in the finish of the object, and a high degree of understanding by the practitioners about colour and web display…..lower buyer’s risk.

  9. Steve Says:

    Yes, it comes to resemble the gallery system, but with a whole lot of galleries. And an actual owner talking to friends or acquaintances interested in art is probably a great salesperson.

  10. Colin Jago Says:


    Yes, the crucial bit is to get a recommendation to get over the risk part. In a sense that is what galleries always do (it is in a gallery so it must be good / must be art / must be worth the money).

    Building a network of ‘salespeople’ with enough status (‘if so and so says it is good, then it must be’) would take time, but would be a neat trick if done. And it would be an amazingly distributed network (potentially) which could reach an audience that a traditional model couldn’t.

  11. Karl Zipser Says:

    Steve and Colin,

    Many artists sell art from their websites, or attempt to. An idea I am getting here is that instead of selling directly from her site (which she doesn’t do at the moment anyway), Hanneke could sell through the sites of on-line dealers. This would solve the problem of how to deal with the customer who wants to consider him or herself the dealer for the picture that he or she bought.

    Steve is on target here. The owner of the on-line gallery could sell to people he or she knows. The on-line gallery could have one example of Hanneke’s work in stock, but this would not be mandatory.

    These on-line galleries would not be in competition, because they would have separate groups of clients. In fact, the on-line galleries would support one another, because satisfied customers of Hanneke’s work at on-line gallery A (based in Kansas) would provide positive testimonials for work also available from on-line gallery B (based say in someplace obscure, like New York city).

    The key elements here are 1) the relationship between Hanneke and the on-line gallery owners; 2) the relationship between the on-line gallery owners and their clients.

    Of course, once in place, there is no reason why this system should be limited to Hanneke’s work. In fact, this makes so much sense, I can’t believe it doesn’t exist already. Maybe it does it exist and I don’t know about it.

    Colin, as I wrote above, there has to be a return policy with on-line sales. This takes away the risk that comes with viewing the painting and purchasing on-line.

  12. Colin Jago Says:


    I understand the point about the returns policy.

    I’m thinking….shipping charges…customs duties….insurance.

    Not insurmountable, but stuff to bear in mind.

  13. Karl Zipser Says:


    Okay, shipping and customs. Yes, I took that risk when buying Paul’s photo, in the sense that if I returned it I would have to pay the return cost myself. I didn’t think much about it, to tell you the truth. I guess I trusted that I would like what Paul sent me. And I do like it, love it in fact.

    Getting back to your earlier comment, there is another element to consider with unique items as compared to “commodities.” With the unique item, there is only one by definition. There is a risk in buying it and not being satisfied (even if you get the money back, you still wasted your time). But there is also the risk of not being able to buy it at all, if someone else gets it first.

  14. Steve Says:

    No limits is best. Extend the 5% reward idea to any A&P artists, or whatever group you want. That way a buyer of Rex’s drawing could also help sell Hanneke’s painting.

    Other online galleries could certainly play if they want, but I think one of the key factors, especially with more expensive works, is having a real sample. That might require starting out with some consignments. Plus letting Hanneke’s previous buyers know about the deal.

  15. D. Says:


    I think you are much more transparent than you think you are. And for the purpose of this topic: I think a dealer should be fully transparent.

  16. Karl Zipser Says:

    Well, then I’m doing the right thing I suppose.

    I responded to your question from yesterday here: http://www.artandperception.com/2006/12/273.html#comment-2629

  17. D. Says:


    Clearly you admire Hanneke’s work. Clearly you are looking for a job. I hope it works out for both of you.

  18. Karl Zipser Says:


    I admire Hanneke’s work and I admire Hanneke. As I said in an earlier post, she is my partner (i.e., wife except that we are not married).

    As for jobs, I have too many of those at the moment, they begin to get in the way of one another! But I enjoy what I am doing. Through my studies of being an artist, I came to realize that how artwork is sold determines how artwork is made. Thus, this interest in art commerce is important at more than one level.

    Thanks for taking the time to read our group blog. Thanks for making the effort to comment.

  19. D. Says:


    “…how artwork is sold determines how artwork is made.”

    You accept this?

  20. Karl Zipser Says:


    We had a debate about this earlier here:


    I’m not experienced enough to say I believe it, but I think it is a good hypothesis. If it is true, it is good to accept it.

  21. D. Says:


  22. Steve Says:

    “Determines” (Comment 18) is too strong and Karl knows it. However, “influences” might be appropriate. Especially in the indirect sense that the art that the general public gets to see, except for a small, local circle, is largely that art which is supported in some way by some market. Should access to the market be access to a single patron, controlled by a few gallery owners, wide open on the web? Advantages and disadvantages exist with any of these.

  23. Karl Ziper Says:


    I agree with your assessment of “Determines” versus “influences.”

    We had an interesting discussion going about the topic of this post, a distributed system of online gallery dealers. Going back to that, you wrote:

    “Other online galleries could certainly play if they want, but I think one of the key factors, especially with more expensive works, is having a real sample. That might require starting out with some consignments. Plus letting Hanneke’s previous buyers know about the deal.”

    This sounds interesting, but I do not fully understand. Could you elaborate, especially about the final point?

  24. Rex Crockett Says:

    Wow oh wow wow wow.

    Fabulous topic. This is where I live.

    But I’m too busy working to write. I think you all are getting a great groove on here.

    LOVED the detail of Hanneke’s pic. She is brilliant.

  25. David Says:

    There are some problems with the online dealer model that I think Steve’s referral idea would help solve.

    If someone decided to be a dealer and showed Hanneke’s website to someone, there’s nothing to stop that customer from just going to her website themselves and trying to cut out the dealer. There’s also no incentive for them not to do that. And it would require Hanneke (or you) to do a lot of sorting out as to who came to the site how, and settling disputes over this.

    With Steve’s suggestion, the “dealer” would be replaced by a “referrer”, who could tell the client “mention my name and get a 5% discount”. That gives the customer, who would deal w/ Hanneke directly, an incentive to mention the referrer, who then gets their referral fee. You could also, that way, end up w/ a huge network of potential referrers. I’m not sure 5% is enough to motivate someone to spend any time promoting someone else’s work, but you could experiment w/ the percentage to find the right one.


    I also think this model works better w/ multiples than w/ unique works, for several reasons.

    First of all there’s the issue of availability. Several online dealers could be trying to sell the same painting at the same time, and it would be hard to keep track of what is available and when things sell. This would be somewhat solved by the referral model, as clients would deal w/ Hanneke directly. For multiples this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

    Then there is the price issue. People are probably more willing to risk a smaller amount of money on a multiple than they are a larger amount on a painting they haven’t seen in person. And of course there’s the problem of works being damaged in shipping or by the client, and determining who is responsible. You would probably have to insure the work for the whole shipping and approval period, and it might be hard to convince a client to pay for that. So it may be something you have to build into the price. Again, with multiples, it’s not as big an issue, as you can always print more. With a painting it could be damaged beyond repair, and irreplaceable.

    Steve’s mention of “long tail” economics is appropriate here (It’s worth reading Chris Anderson’s book). It deals with the idea of infinite shelf space, which you get w/ a web site, and also w/ reducing or even eliminating other costs associated with storing and shipping items. This works best w/ things that are stored digitally, and can be produced and/or delivered on demand. The iTunes model is a great example, as is Amazon. So once again this makes more sense for photos than for paintings.

    In fact it probably makes sense to produce photos as open editions, as opposed to setting arbitrary edition limits. These made more sense when people were making etchings or lithos, where the plate would break down after a certain number of runs, or photos that involved custom darkroom work for each print. With digital printing, edition limits are a contrived means to create a false situation of “scarcity” where there’s no practical reason scarcity should exist.

  26. Steve Says:

    Let’s say H has ten paintings out there whose owners are known and ten friends who are enthusiastic but can’t afford one. To the owners, who are already showing off their acquisitions, she sends a note telling them that, as valued customers, any additional paintings they buy will be at a 10% discount from her going price. Plus if any of their friends buy, then the friend gets a 5% discount and the first owner gets a 5% commission. The deal goes for any buyer.

    The enthusiastic but poor friends are loaned or rented paintings long term (extended return period) during which they may sell those paintings or get 5% on any that they lead others to buy. Those new buyers get the paintings 5% cheaper because of the “dealer” contact, so they’re happy with the situation and might even deal themselves.

    There’s no pressure on anyone to do any selling, but it would probably happen naturally. The 5% incentive just facilitates the normal word-of-mouth marketing.

  27. Karl Zipser Says:


    You, Steve and Colin have vastly developed and improved on the initial proposal. Still, you end up with something better for photos. But we want something good for paintings as well.

    What about the idea of selling high quality prints of paintings, and shipping these at low cost along with samples of the colors used in the actual paintings? Then the buyer would have the image, and a sample of real paint. With those things in hand, the idea of buying a real painting would be less daunting.


    clearly it is important for this system to [ultimately] work with many artworks at once. The question is, what simple steps can we take, say with Hanneke’s work now, a few paintings not in the offline exhibition, to get started? Should we put together a collection of artworks with a group of artists right from the start? That sounds great to me, if others are willing. But it might be easier to do a trial run with a picture by Hanneke, since she is game.


    I’ve been playing with the idea of creating a site that acts as an art exchange. Your comment #26 fits with this perfectly. The art exchange site would be a mini art world. It’s characteristics would be that the work in it would be of a certain guaranteed level of quality, and everything would be documented with high resolution digital scans, so fakes would be impossible. The key would be to make an incentive for trading on this site. Within this site, independent dealers could set up their own galleries, but they would have to abide by the standards of the site as a whole to maintain quality and trust for the buyers.

    Here we are starting to get into a big exciting idea. From Lisa Call I have learned that this is the point to say “Stop, wait a minute: what are the immediate realistic goals?”

    So for the sake of this post, let’s talk about what we could do with some pictures of Hanneke’s starting soon, as in tomorrow or this week. I have the images, I could put them online as soon as we had a good idea of what we wanted to do for the first trial run. And of course, we would need to have some dealers. The work is there to sell. All that is necessary is to work out a plan for the initial trial. The advantage of starting small is that there can be some false starts and mistakes from which to learn from.

    Another point is this: if we are figuring out this system as a group, then some of the rewards should go to the group for this effort. Obviously, Hanneke (or another artist) should earn the major share because she/they painted the picture. But the process of figuring out how to sell them is important work also. After all, 100% of nothing is not very useful.

  28. lisa Says:

    From Lisa Call I have learned that this is the point to say “Stop, wait a minute: what are the immediate realistic goals?”

    Karl – are you looking to become a requirements engineer now also? I can put in a good word for you.

    Actually that’s isn’t what I’d say (it’s what I said about hitting the Nov 1 deadline with the blog).

    I’d say that detailed requirements (ie plans) should be drawn up before actually doing anything. To understand first why – then what and last of all how. From that you break the project down into phases. Iterative design and development.

    But first you have to brainstorm a whole lot to see if you have something worth pursuing.

  29. June Says:

    At the risk of being redundant, I think the two big issues here would be 1) the personal relationship between the dealer and the buyer and 2) the problem, elaborated on by Colin, of the difference between web views and the real thing.

    A dealer such as Karl envisions would have to have a large acquaintance with an art buying public. It would take a person who is very much part of an appropriate social scene — one who enjoys people and becomes respected by them.

    This would be advantageous to an artist like myself who is fairly isolated. To have someone marketing my art who knew people that I would never come into contact with would be priceless. And using the web for these long distant communications would work really well.

    The important change from the usual art/web-selling schemes that we are all aware of is that the “dealer” know and be trusted by many people and be able to vouch for the artist.

    The second problem is knottier, particularly for a fiber artist. Textiles soak in light even more eccentrically than does paper or canvas, and so, as Colin discussed, web-based selling can become problematic. I now have a policy for my regular buyers of sending them the art to examine before we make final arrangements, because I have had at least one instance where the web view was so different from the real thing that the buyer felt she had been misled. Of course, I offered to refund the money which allayed her dismay, but it was still very awkward.

    It takes a specific kind of buyer/dealer/artist relationship to work around this disadvantage of web selling — the buyer has to know fiber art and/or trust the dealer. The dealer has to know his clientele and trust the artist. And the artist has to be able to trust everyone.

    So the proposition is delightful and would work very well for me. But, at least in my media, there are specific concerns that would also have to be dealt with.

  30. Karl Zipser Says:

    Okay Lisa,

    I’m with you. The brainstorm seems to have arrived.

    The brainstorm suggests to me that phase one should be to attempt to sell at least one artwork. If it sells or not doesn’t matter. What matters is what we learn in the process.

    Does that make sense?

    [Update] Actually, Lisa, it’s clear rereading your comment, I’m not up to speed with what you are saying. This is all new to me. But I’m working on understanding.

  31. David Says:

    Karl, in terms of putting together a group of artists to sell online right now, I’m not too interested in participating at this point, but I’m happy to bounce ideas around. I’d be interested in seeing how you do w/ Hanneke as a test run.

    There are quite a number of online sites that sell paintings, but I’m not sure if any have had much success. Artnet is one. You might want to do a bit of digging around to see who’s doing what, and how they’re approaching it. And maybe you can find out how well it’s working too, I’m not sure. I think Artnet might making their money by charging artists to show on their site. But if the artists aren’t actually selling then it’s not much of a business model, at least not for the artists.

    Here’s an interesting idea if you want to go international w/ photography though. If you had a trusted network of photographers/printers spanning multiple countries, each of them could agree to print the others’ work on demand when there’s a sale in their country. You would, I assume, save on customs and shipping fees, and the person who does the print would of course be paid. Just a thought.

  32. Karl Zipser Says:


    It seems that your problems with fiber are similar to the problems faced by the painter. We are either going to have to solve these problems or fail to take advantage of the internet. The clear return policy seems to be the most important. Also, photographing the work in many different conditions, and alerting the buyer to the potential problem is important.

    With paintings, and I assume your work as well, how the buyer looks at the work makes a big difference as well. Do they put it on the floor? Do they hang it next to a too-loud neighbor artwork? Or do they put in the effort to search for the right place in their home for the artwork that they got in the mail? It seems that having the buyers/collectors be aware of these issues is vital. This is why selling in a site that allows open feedback (and I am not saying that Art & Perception itself should necessarily be that site) is important. If the buyer is upset, let them complain in public, send in photos, etc. If the work they received is quality work, it should be possible to solve the problems. Doing this in a transparent way online would build trust among potential buyers. It would show that we are aware of the potential problems the buyers could face, and we want to help. And we DO want to help, because a satisfied buyer can become a satisfied collector.

  33. Karl Zipser Says:


    An international network of printers. Wow. That is a cool idea.

  34. Steve Says:

    I think Karl’s getting a little too excited. As June says, trust is important, but that’s for the dealer-artist axis as well as dealer-buyer. I could point someone to a website with Hanneke’s pictures and also to online reviews, but I wouldn’t push at all hard without knowing the work firsthand myself, I wouldn’t have anything on my wall that friends or visitors might casually ask about or take as a sample if considering a purchase.

    The main thrust of my concept would be to start small with owners or holders of actual paintings. There needs to be a website with quality images of other paintings available. As long as that is kept up to date, I don’t think there’s any issue with multiple “dealers” representing the same images. Financial transactions, shipping, insurance, return policy, etc could all be the same as they are now (if they are), or streamlined as you wish. How fast can she paint, anyway? Let it grow organically.

  35. Karl Zipser Says:


    It’s okay, I have my seat belt on. I talked to some owners of Hanneke’s paintings, but they are not interested in selling. That is a good sign, of course.

    I guess I can just try to make a simple trial on Hanneke’s site and see what happens. No need to make a major production of the first step. I appreciate your input. If it works in the trial, then getting excited will be more justified.

  36. Steve Says:

    In response to a suggestion of Karl’s: I’m not looking for any stake in the brainstorming ideas. If someone tries it out and lets us know how it goes, I’ll have gained a lot.

  37. Steve Says:

    I’m not sure what your approach was, but I would recommend NOT asking people to sell. Just let them know about the discounts for them or friends. Some people won’t care about it, some will remember it the next time someone admires their art collection. They don’t do anything (or needn’t) except make the introduction.

  38. David Says:

    I’m not looking for any stake in the brainstorming ideas.

    Hmm, I must have missed that one, but I looked back at Karl’s earlier comment and there it is.

    I don’t need any financial stake in this either. Let’s keep it “open source”. If we come up w/ any good ideas then we benefit by being able to put them to use. And plus, isn’t this more fun than what we were doing yesterday?

  39. Leslie Holt Says:

    Printmakers often do what they call portfolio exchanges where members of a group (they invite eachother) each artist prints an edition and sends a print to each member of the group. Each artist ends up with a set of prints, and this can be done internationally, obviously. Ok, no money involved, but a great way to get art and a much less capitalistic model of sharing work, I guess. Different idea, but the network of printers reminded me of that. Wouldn’t there be lots of problems with quality control in printing someone else’s photos, since the printing process can be so inherent in the final product of a photo?

    I am not sure how this online dealer idea is that different from selling off your website or off ebay for that matter. I have sold off my website without trying to sell them. I have met artists who do a good ebay business. If sales are the goal, then why not do ebay? You can sell almost anything on that site! But if exposure to lots of folks in the art world and generating dialogue about your work is at least part of the goal, then we are in a different realm.

    I guess the part of selling I have the most questions about, is one that has been barely touched on in this blog so far. And that is how foicus on selling may limit the subject matter and content of your own work. Not many people buy my paintings of pills — quite a limited market. But they are important to me, they get into shows quite a bit, and they have led to other work, so I would miss something big if I were focused on selling.

    If I were a dealer, I would prefer to sell quality, interesting work with challenging subject matter — work in which the arist was stretching him or herself technically, conceptually, artisitcally. I might not last very long in the biz! THere is the rub with the focus on sales as far as I am concerned. Not that challenging work with “uncomfortable” subject matter never sells, but it certainly is harder to sell, or has a smaller market than work that is beautiful or aesthetically pleasing.

    David, I think you were getting to that point with your sarcastic comment about landscapes and sea gulls.

    I paint portraits (on commission sometimes) and landscapes as gifts and ways to relax, but it is not the work that I am most interested in or want to spend the majority of my time on. But I think it would sell…How do people handle that when they really want to sell, but they also want to make art that probably won’t sell?

  40. Paul Butzi Says:

    Here’s an interesting idea if you want to go international w/ photography though. If you had a trusted network of photographers/printers spanning multiple countries, each of them could agree to print the others’ work on demand when there’s a sale in their country. You would, I assume, save on customs and shipping fees, and the person who does the print would of course be paid. Just a thought.

    I’m afraid real life interferes. In theory, it’s easy for someone else with a printer to print my work and have it match the prints I make exactly.

    The difference between theory and practice is, however, much larger in practice than it is in theory. Color management, process control issues, and all sorts of other problems raise their ugly heads.

    But if everyone participating had, say, and Epson 7800 or 9800 and was using exactly the same icc profiles and exactly the same media, then yes, you could make this work.

    In practice, even international shipping is not particularly expensive for rolled prints. Since I do both my own printing and do printing for others, I have some idea of the economics of doing local printing rather than shipping. In some constrained circumstances, it’s cheaper to print locally but not by much.

    Import duties vary by locale; Karl, how much duty did you have to pay?

  41. Karl Zipser Says:

    Paul, I paid you via PayPal and I got the photo in the mail. I didn’t pay anything extra.

  42. Karl Zipser Says:

    “I paint portraits (on commission sometimes) and landscapes as gifts and ways to relax, but it is not the work that I am most interested in or want to spend the majority of my time on. But I think it would sell…How do people handle that when they really want to sell, but they also want to make art that probably won’t sell?”


    You just asked the BIG QUESTION.

    It is Hanneke’s great good fortune that she loves still life painting, along with all sorts of other subjects that might be less marketable.

    I want to learn about marketing Hanneke’s work because it is less “challenging” than some other topics. With a better understanding of marketing, I could apply the lessons to my own work and to Hanneke’s other work.

  43. lisa Says:

    Paul, I paid you via PayPal and I got the photo in the mail. I didn’t pay anything extra.

    Yes – but is this really legal? Or should it have been declared as a commercial transaction and taxes paid?

    Three or 4 years back I shipped a bunch of work to Canada for a show. Huge headaches with doing it the official way and in the end they screwed up my paperwork and I paid a whole bunch in taxes (I’m thinking around $100 for 3 or 4 pieces) “just in case I sold something”. In theory I think I coudl have gotten it all back but never got around to filling out the forms.

    This was a group show and all our paperwork went through the same customs broker (who is the one that told us how to do all of this) but for some reason mine got flagged (everyone else had no problems). I ignored all their letters asking for this money – until they turned it over to a collections agency.

    I should have just boxed it up and sent it to her and put “gift” on the customs label.

    I belong to a group that has done a few shows in the US and it is always a hassle to get the artwork from our international members here legally – so often it isn’t always by the books.

    Laws – they didn’t really mean for them to apply to artists did they?

  44. Karl Zipser Says:


    From the label on the package it is clear that Paul filled out the necessary customs form. It would be up to the Dutch to request the customs payment, no? Perhaps it fell below some threshold where they don’t bother. On other occasions they have required payments at delivery.

  45. Jon Conkey Says:

    Anyone can be an art dealer, in fact, anyone that sells art “IS” an art dealer. However, to be well known and have great success as an art dealer takes much more than a few small time sales of unknown artists. In the end, the dealer whose artists become internationally known, and who are sought after on a consistant basis, would be the true sign of a great art dealer.

  46. Karl Zipser Says:


    You are saying, it takes magic, beyond the artwork itself. That extra magic is the ingredient that we are missing so far.

  47. Paul Butzi Says:

    Yes – but is this really legal? Or should it have been declared as a commercial transaction and taxes paid?

    On my end, all that’s required when I ship via USPS Global Priority Mail (which is what I did with Karl’s print) is fill out the appropriate customs declaration. I fill it out, the post office affixes part to the package and keeps the other part on file. I have a copy in my files as well.

    Beyond that, it’s the responsibility of the delivery agent (I presume it’s the postal service in the Netherlands in this case) to collect whatever duty is appropriate.

    Enforcement of import duty always seems to be hit or miss regardless of country. I’ve bought equipment from the UK and been quite certain I would owe duty when it arrived and ended up paying nothing.

    On the other hand, DHL tried to charge duty on the package when we shipped our bike gear from back Florence to Seattle, despite the fact that the contents were declared as ‘personal items originally purchased in the US’.

  48. yulia Says:

    Artist Alexander Klevan search for good art dealer
    Can you advise somebody?


  49. David Says:

    Yulia, wait a few months and then call Karl.

  50. Jon Conkey Says:

    Karl, Exactly! That magic is in the individual that sells it, every bit as much as the actual art itself. Something else, a good art dealer does not sell two artists of too similair qualities; so they would have to compete amongst themselves (one would always be a loser).

    It seems obvious to me that most here on A&P have very definite views about what “they think” good art is (though their work is not earth shattering, and they have not been sweep away as genius’just yet), though some are quite talented.

    Viewing art through one’s own eyes only, with hardened and ingrained philosophies makes it hard to view art objectively (like the experts that refuse to except Mary Magdelene is sitting next the Christ in the Last Supper). It is very hard to remain objective when one dedicates their life to a particular style of artworks, or one hardened philosophy, refusing to see past their own beliefs of art, while thinking they are somehow superior in their views, or better qualified than others for some reason. Sad as it is, it will be the public at large who will decide who is great, by their reaching into their pocket books and proving through their purchase actions. One would be considered great if they had a five year waiting list of folks who want their work.

    Yet, we are all in the same pool here on A&P, and it becomes somewhat of a competition of intellects trying to prove something. The truth is that no one here is internationally acclaimed as great at what they do. In fact, it appears to me, some seem to find their niche and support groups calling that success,(perhaps it is for some), but that is not great, and it does not make one great. The missing ingredient here seems to be finding a way to see how others perceive our art, and to destroy our own egos in the process. A handful of selfproclaimed experts will never get too far, but a handful of internationally acclaimed experts certainly would.