How to Get Art Dealer Representation

An art dealer can help you sell your artwork.
An art dealer can help you sell your artwork. (Image: burning sundown image by Carmen Steiner from

Being represented by an established dealer or gallery creates opportunities to sell your art while building credibility for your name and your work. Representation also gives you access to museums, collectors, corporations and others you might not be able to reach on your own. In exchange for those services you have to share the profits and pay a commission on every piece. A good working relationship is important, but it is still business: the dealer needs to believe they will make money by representing you.

Things You'll Need

  • Portfolio
  • Business card
  • Artist’s statement
  • Biographical summary

Create Marketing Materials

Write an artist’s statement and biographical summary on a single typed page. In the artist’s statement describe your motivation, medium and subject matter. The biography should include where you live and create art, how long you have been an artist, training, awards, exhibits and anything else that describes you as an individual.

Create a portfolio of your work to show to prospective dealers and clients. This may be a book of photos, a CD with digital images, a website or any combination. Include your artist’s statement and biography. Label everything with your name and contact information.

Create a business card or postcard with your name, contact information, one or more images of your work and a few descriptive words about your medium and subject matter, if desired. If you have a website, include the URL.

Find a Prospective Dealer

Talk to friends and colleagues and try to get a personal introduction to a dealer.

Find a dealer who is a good fit. Look for those who sell your type of art, sell art in your price range, and who represent artists with similar backgrounds and experience.

Visit the gallery and learn about the art and artists being represented so you can tailor your sales pitch and explain why you chose them.

Sell Yourself

Contact the dealer. Introduce yourself and explain that you are interested in talking to him about representing you. Ask if he or she has a preferred procedure for submitting work and how you should proceed.

Explain in person or over the phone, depending on what the dealer prefers, why people will want to buy your art, who buys it, how much you have sold and for how much. Explain what makes your art unique.

Describe why he should represent you. Provide references. Tell him what else you can do, such as write descriptive copy for your art or speak in public and meet with prospective clients. Describe how much art you have in your inventory and how quickly you can produce more.

Give the dealer your business card, CD and link to your website. Follow up with a letter summarizing your discussion. Thank him for his time and consideration, even if he say “No,” so you leave the door open for a possible future relationship.

If the dealer agrees to represent you, sign a contract stipulating the terms of the agreement and responsibilities of both parties.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider hiring an intellectual property attorney to review a contract and make sure your creative and business rights are protected.

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