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10,000$ painting/pricing

updated mon 18 nov 02


mel jacobson on thu 14 nov 02

pricing. always a chore.
this is an old post, from six years ago.
still is true.

many price art for vanity sake. need the vanity.
no intention of selling...just love big price tags. makes them
feel important.
you know, $2,000 pots at a gallery. if a sucker stops
and buys it, so be it...but then comes the hook.

this happened in my grad school painting section.
this is a metaphor;
many can tell the story in a different way, with different
numbers. but, it is basically true.

prof (a great guy) came in. told the class he just sold
a painting in new york for $10,000. everyone but me
squeeeled. `10 grand, wow, wow..`

i said.
`do a profit loss statement for these kids`.
he told me `to go to hell, and not ruin his fun day`.

so, i did it.
on the blackboard:

10,000 dollars.

new york gallery gets 60 percent.
then there is a 10 percent f.i.c.a. government tax. (check it out)
most think that is social security...not.
so that leaves prof 3,000 dollars.
no no...state and federal taxes are deducted.
now prof has 1500.
no no. he had to fly to new york, talk to the client.
now the prof has 700 dollars. (at best )
no no. gallery forgot to tell him that this was a corporate
sale. the painting is going to be in a public place. 1,000 discount from
the artist.
opps. prof is in the hole.
no hired a guy to help him with the painting, it is very
big. paid the guy 1500 bucks.
opps now we are -2,000.
no no....linen canvas, golden brand paints. professional
made stretcher. another 1,000.
so now -3,000.
his time, energy and pay. 0
vanity. sold a painting for 10,000. in new york. painting
is in a public place. so what? he has his job teaching art at the
university of minnesota, health insurance, retirement.

many artists that are in the stables of new york galleries
have to boot leg their art for cash to keep their heads above
water. they have to teach workshops to afford their materials.

and one wonders why warren mackenzie sells his pots for 40 bucks.
in his pocket.
in his pocket.
at home.
40 and on and on and on.
often cash.
sell a great deal of 40 dollar pots and you have a lot of money
in the bank. very little vanity attached.
i just love warren's way of doing business.

there are hundreds of galleries in new york. about a fourth of them
go out of business each year. new folks jump in, take their
place. it is a tough life. (sharks) i doubt that any of them are in business
to help and support artists. they are in business to keep their
heads above water. if you want big prices, remember, there
are only a few folks out there that will spend thousands for pots.

there are thousands of folks that will give me 40 bucks for a pot.

there are a great many artists that have never had a practical thought
in their life. the last thing in their mind is doing a profit/loss statement.
i just don't like to hear the whimpering. `no one appreciates me.`
then i tell them to read..`art and fear`.

this was in the minneapolis star and trib this morning.

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result
of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction
and skillful execution."
Will A. Foster author

mel/off to columbus/potters council meeting.
joyce has the ship for a few days.
this post may stimulate a discussion.

Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
web site:
or try:

John Kimpton Dellow on sun 17 nov 02

Mel so true , there is a saying work for the masses and eat with
the rich,
work for the rich and eat with the masses :)

John Dellow "the flower pot man"
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