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Fine Art/approaching collectors


I'm thinking of sending a picture portfolio of my paintings to various known art collectors, offering a painting of their choice for their collection. However, I don't have an extensive art career. How should I price my paintings, or approach the art collectors?

I do not handle contemporary artists, nor would I claim deep expertise in this arena.  
That said, let me give you some comments off the top of my head:

1) I would seek a trusted dealer to market my works if I were a painter.  Yes, they will mark up your paintings (or take a cut depending on your perspective,) but well worth it.  Not having to focus on sales &  marketing will allow you to focus on your art.  It also sends a message that you are 100% a creative, not a part time peddler.  So, just my opinion.  Also, you will gain a lot of help with pricing.  Finally, remember that buyers often need an ally.  A trusted eye who can help validate their decision to part with money.  Unvalidated postal solicitations (some call this junk mail) are perhaps the weakest way to market, and ultimately a big money/time drain, in my opinion.  

2) If not a dedicated relationship with a dealer to market all your works, seek galleries looking to represent your work.  Being displayed by a gallery...that will add credence to your pedigree.  Take a look at many other artists who have assembled bios or CVs detailing where they've had shows, or received awards.  This need not be at the Met, it can be as simple as being in the nook at the local library or the local fall art fair.  

3) OK, so you opt to just go it alone, and direct market your works on the internet, through targeted mailings, private showings or word-of-mouth.  How do you price?  I think determinants include how much effort you put into an artwork.  Did you spend a day on it?  A week?  A year?  If so, what is a reasonable wage you might expect for a day's work? A week's work?  What are your material costs in this artwork?  Visit some venues selling similar work.  Check out what the market bears.  Last of all, don't be timid.  Ask for a good price, show confidence, but be willing to meet the market.  You don't want to give the paintings away, but you do want to sell.  Perhaps a strategy of selling your mid-range paintings first, at very reasonable prices to get sales on the board and establish a baseline...then charge more over time...let the best pieces go later.  

4) Finally, wine and cheese.  Put out the best. much of an art as painting, eh?
Good luck,

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Stuart Cartwright


American Fine Art Paintings.
Oils, Watercolors, Sketches. Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. Hudson River School, Pennsylvania Academy, Cape Ann artists, Ash Can, Woodstock, Florida Indian River, American Impressionists, etc. I can provide some background about artists and perhaps a rough appraisal or guidance towards obtaining a value. I am acquainted with many of the best American art dealers and auction houses. Original works only, I do not follow the print market. I do NOT field questions about prints.

Important to know
I am not expert in European art. I encourage you to send questions on European artists to other experts on this service. NO PRINTS:I encourage you to seek help on prints elsewhere. Two sites come to mind: and


I have been collecting original American Fine Art for over 20 years. I have curated art shows, and I have served as a dealer, providing appraisals and guidance for the last 8 years.

Bachelor of Arts Master of Business Administration

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