Copyrights, Contracts, & Guidelines for Dinosaur Artists & Paleontologists

Part 2 Contracts
Gallery-Artist Agreement

An arrangement between an artist and a gallery is pretty straightforward and should cover a number of points, such as:P>

  1. who covers what expenses such as transportation of the art to and from the gallery, (including insurance and crating,) advertising the show, (including catalogs and announcements,) special display requirements, photographing the work, party for the opening, shipping to the art buyers, and, in some cases, framing.
  2. how long the gallery may exhibit the work and under what conditions will the agreement terminate.
  3. decisions on setting prices and commissions and payment terms, and what happens in case of loss or damage to the artwork while in the gallery's safekeeping.

Most galleries displaying dinosaur artwork have done so in group shows with only a few exceptions, and unless they are offering exclusivity of space to any one artist, galleries don't usually expect to be an artist's only venue. If an artist were to have a one-man show in a gallery there would be the additional terms in this arrangement defining when, and for how long the gallery's space would be entirely devoted to the artist's work and who would have artistic control over the exhibition. The artist should choose the venue for a one man exhibit very wisely, because, although it can be agreat opportunity, and the artist can antifcipate more control over the display, promotion, and advertising; he or she can also expect to be asked to absorb more of the exhibition's costs in this kind of exclusive arrangement and might be asked not to show anywhere else unless represented by the gallery.

Standard commission percentages range from 32%, (where the artist takes care of many of the show expenses,) to 50%, (where the gallery absorbs all costs except framing.) These commissions are based on the retail prices of the works which are usually established after some negotiations between the artist and gallery owner. Sometimes, the gallery may offer a discount in the retail price of a work to a frequent customer, or a designer. If they do, the contract should provide that all such discounts come out of the gallery's commission. Sometimes an artist may receive a commission to do original work based on something seen in their gallery show. A gallery, in this situation, might argue that they deserve a percentage of that commission fee, but I would not agree that such a commission should be considered a gallery sale, or that the gallery is entitled to a commission in this instance. I only mention it because it might come up.

It is customary for the gallery to open it's books to the artist, give an accounting every 1 or 2 mohths, and pay the artist within 30 days of any sale.

The gallery may not sell copyright, and sould inform buyers that copyright is separate from sale of the original. It should also make sure that the Artist's copyright notice is on all photos of the work that may be used for publicity purposes.

When noegotiation gwith a gallery, the artist should bear in mind that the better deal the galery offers, the more desireable they consider his or her work, and in a sales situation, the more likely to push it to a potential buyer. When considering acception a lessthan-hoped-for arrangement with a gallery because the artist believes it to be "prestigious", I would caution artists that a gallery gains "prestige" buy having been in business for more than ten years and having built up a potential client base as well has having shown business acumen and solidity in an often chancy endeavor. Anyone can rent a nice building. By this definition, there are no "prestige" galleries showing dinosaur art as of this writing, which brings me to the subject of consignment.

I am not fond of consignment offers, but they are a fact of life in today's art market, and have, on occasion, been great opportunities for artists to sell work. The reason I dislike them is that they can be very risky, considering the rate at which galleries go in and out f business, and the gallery is under no time pressure to sell the work so it can go "stale", in the artist's mind as well as in the gallery's. Sometimes, by the time you think, "I wonder if the Medici Dino Gallery ever sold my piece?" they're long gone, and you have to chalk it up to experience. Remain in constant touch with any gallery which has taken your work on consignment, especially if their location is a distance from you.

If you accept a consignment offer, you may negotiate it using the dame contract I ave laid out on the next pages, cinluding Appendix A; or negotiate your own agreement, making sure there is an acknowledgement signed by an authorized representative of the gallery.

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