search  current discussion  categories  business - liability & insurance 

gallery non-payment-law

updated sun 11 apr 99


Craig Martell on sat 10 apr 99

Janet said:
>My family attorney suggested that I put the folowing statement on all
>delivery paperwork when I bring pieces to a gallery - and make sure
>someone signs the paperwork:

>"All work remains the property of the Artist until payment has been
>recieved for the work."


You have a good attorney. I mentioned the Oregon law governing art for sale
on consignment and this is stipulated in that legislation. It goes further
to state that the work is held "in trust" by the gallery and is not subject
to liens or other claims by creditors of the gallery. What this means is
that if a gallery goes under, your work or proceeds from the sale of your
work cannot be used to pay gallery debts. As to "title", the Oregon law
says that the title to any work passes directly from the artist to the
customer when the artist has been paid "in full".

When these laws were being debated in the House and Senate in Oregon, I sat
in on many of the hearings and did some footwork for one of the lawyers that
was a proponent of this bill. While listening to the debates, it was real
obvious which galleries were stronly against the legislation and we sort of
passed this around to several artists. Some chose not to deal with these
galleries and others put red flags on the info and took a defensive posture
in dealing with these galleries.

I think one real important point to make with a gallery is the trust issue
concerning money that is due to the artist. If a gallery is taking a 40%
commission on the sale of work, that is all they can use for their own
benefit. The rest is due the artist, and should not be spent or earmarked
for gallery transactions. So, if you draw up a contract and stipulate this,
and a gallery agrees to it, as they really should, they will not be able to
dodge payment by saying that they don't have the funds.

I'd also encourage people not to consign to galleries that are not close
enough to drive to. This is what I do now and I can usually get around to
places to take inventory periodically and take care of other stuff. I won't
even do any wholesale on the east coast anymore because of the distance and
the number of "pain in the butt" galleries and shops I've dealt with.
Wholesale selling can be real nerve wracking at times too!

regards, Craig Martell in Oregon