Thursday, June 10, 2010

Like It or Not, Artists are Married to Their Dealers by Daniel Grant

"The art market is an odd mix of money and affection"

Like It or Not, Artists are Married to Their Dealers

In The Huffigton Post, Daniel Grant, discusses the different types of relationships between: dealers, artists and collectors. He raises the many issues that occur when, business and friendship are faced with one another.

"Painter Richard Haas has noted the state of one's relationship with a dealer may be measured in the frequency of phone calls and who's calling whom. "The dealer is calling you most of the time when you're in favor," he said. "When you find yourself calling the dealer most of the time, you're not in favor anymore. There are not enough phone calls, not enough visits to your studio; you don't get invited to dinner. You know you're at an end."

"When Jackson Pollock signed his first contract with collector and dealer Peggy Guggenheim in 1943, he was able to quit his job decorating ties to concentrate on painting. That first contract paid him a stipend of $150 per month, with guaranteed sales of $2,700 annually (if there were less than $2,700 in sales, Guggenheim would be paid the difference in paintings). His second contract with her two years later raised the stipend to $300 per month and gave Guggenheim ownership of Pollock's entire artistic output for the year with the exception of one painting that the artist could retain. The terms of those contracts might not satisfy artists nowadays, but it was beneficial to both Pollock and Guggenheim then, reflecting her trust in his talents and allowing him to work unencumbered by financial constraints. This was a true partnership."

"For better or worse, it is the volume of money pouring into the art market that has led to evolving relationships between artists and dealers. For dealers, that sometimes means dropping an artist after one or two unsuccessful shows, because rents are too high and other artists' work is too sought-after to put energy into nurturing one person's career. For artists, that may mean not committing to a long-term relationship with a gallery. Ultimately, these questions lead to one at the heart of a relationship with a dealer, "Is loyalty a hindrance to my career?"

Article by, Daniel Grant.

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