How much is your art worth?

This is a tricky, but important question. For a more in-depth discussion visit


The question of how art should be priced is an especially common one, particularly for emerging artists with little access to feedback on their market rate.

In general, artists tend to undervalue their art. Fresh graduates fear price standing in the way of a final sale, while some artists are simply unsure of their talent. Other artists however compare their style or genre with well-known, established artists and go the other extreme of being over-priced.

As such, artwork pricing should be based on the following factors (rather than personal ideas of self-worth):

  • What is your formal art education? Did you study art or are you a talented “outsider”?
  • How much experience do you have? How many years have you been creating?
  • Are you a professional or hobby artist? Have you reached a stage, where you can live off your art? Simply put, can you pay your rent and buy food by your art sales?
  • How much time did it take to create your artwork, frame it, ship it, look for juried art competitions, fill out forms, read and reply to emails, prep images, etc?
  • How much did your medium cost? Price of materials ie. paint, canvas, printing, framing, packaging, and shipping.
  • How unique is your artwork? Is your art recognisable? Do you have a “brand” to your name?
  • What kind of reputation are you looking to foster? Do you want to be considered a high end artist or an affordable artist?

Note regarding price structure with galleries:  At JanKossen Contemporary for instance, we operate as a classical gallery; meaning artists are selected to be part of a focused program (max. 15 artists) who meet the criteria and cater to the needs and tastes of a particular type of art buyer/collector. Often this translates, that only established, mid-career professional artists are represented for the collector base we have. A 50% gallery commission is the norm; and these artists expect a gallery in return to promote them, increase their brand among collectors whether by gallery on-site shows, or art fair participation. Because, based on their sales track-record, these artists can actually select the galleries they wish to work with.

If a gallery approaches you, be aware that a 40 – 50% commission is the norm. (visit for more information of how galleries operate). This should not, however, translate into a doubling of your existing price. No gallery will accept a doubled price if your market rate does not support this amount. Always keep future gallery representation in mind when you are starting as an artist and selling your art, that you “could” in essence be happy with 50%. This is a complex discussion and an online-course is available

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