Tips on How to Price Your Art Work

There is no rule on how to price your artwork.  But here are a few different tips to help you make those decisions.

  1.  Pay yourself a reasonable hourly wage eg $20/hr, add the cost of materials and make that your asking price.
  2. Multiply the painting’s width by its length to arrive at the total size.
  • Then multiply that number by a set dollar amount that’s appropriate for your reputation. eg $6 per square inch for an oil paintings.
  • Then calculate your cost of canvas and framing, and then double that number.  For example: A 16”-x-20” painting: 16” x 20” = 320 square inches. 320 x 6 = $1,920.00.  Round off to $1900.
  • Frame, canvas and materials may cost $150.00. Double this cost so that you’ll get it all back when the painting sells at the gallery. $150 x 2 = $300.
  • Then put it all together: $1,900 + $300 = $2,200 (the retail price). When the painting sells from a gallery, your cut after the 50% commission comes to $950 for the painting and $150 for the framing, for a total of $1,100.
  1. Don’t compare your first paintings to those of established artists. At your first exhibition, price your paintings so they will be snapped up by your friends and family who will spread the word about you as an emerging artist. Your exhibition will look successful and will start building a following for you.
  • In this case you could work out your costs and multiply by three.
  • 1/3 of your price = costs
  • 1/3 of your price = commission
  • 1/3 of your price = your profit

You also need to work out what you are going to include as “costs”.  Expenses to consider are your art supplies, framing, studio costs, packaging and courier, website costs, and time.  There are also added extras such as marketing, reproducing your work, subscriptions to magazines, exhibition entry fees, travel costs etc.

Most galleries will take 40% commission on average, and sometimes even more.  Price your work accordingly, even if selling directly to the public.  You may start exhibiting in a gallery and you don’t want your prices to suddenly almost double!

Don’t undercut your gallery either.  Your prices should be the same whether purchased through you or a gallery.  Galleries may hear if you are undercutting them earning you a bad reputation for other galleries.