Understanding the fine arts market: three fundamentals

The world of galleries has recently undergone dramatic changes, and dealers and photographers are now using new methods to reach collectors. In a series of discussions, The complete guide to selling fine art prints, Panelists invited by Magnum will lift the curtain on fine art print sales and explain how photographers can adapt to the changing market. Photographers, dealers and gallery managers will explain the fundamentals of pricing and valuation of fine art prints, what to expect (and not expect) from a gallery and how to build relationships with them. collectors. Private and institutional photo buyers will explain what, how and why they buy.

To learn more about “The Complete Guide to Selling Fine Art Prints” seminar series, please click here.

The global pandemic has rapidly accelerated changes in the way fine art photographic prints are marketed and sold. Over the past decade, the explosion of art fairs and online marketplaces has given collectors more places than ever to find art. Throughout these years, galleries have debated how best to use their resources to connect their photographers with collectors. The debate ended abruptly when lockdown restrictions closed in-person exhibits. Galleries added viewing rooms or sales capabilities to their websites and relied on newsletters and online content to stay connected with collectors. According to a survey conducted in 2020, international galleries reported that more than one third of their sales that year were made online.

With the easing of restrictions on in-person gatherings, galleries responded to the pent-up urge to experience art in person, but they continued with digital strategies. When the new Magnum gallery in Paris opened in October, for example, it opened an exhibition of Bruce Davidson and Khalik Allah in its new exhibition space with an accompanying online presentation.

When planning began for the Magnum Learn webinar series “The Complete Guide to Selling Fine Art Prints,” I thought the panelists would advise photographers on how to adapt to a transformed market. However, interviewing the curators, photographers, gallery owners and collectors who spoke on the panel, I quickly realized how the business was still operating as it had for decades.

Whether a photography dealer communicates with collectors in person in a physical exhibition space or in a home office, via email or telephone, their business always depends on their reliability. Collectors are driven to own a photographic print for a variety of reasons, but few buy on impulse. Everyone wants to be assured that their purchase will provide them with lasting enjoyment and value. First-time buyers also want to understand archival quality, numbered editions, tiered pricing, and other photography-specific terms.

During the seminars, a collector and two curators will discuss what they buy and why, and photographers and gallery representatives will share their experience and expertise. Presentations will discuss some fundamentals of the fine art industry that can often confuse photographers used to working on assignments, but are important to understand in order to successfully sell limited edition prints.

Back To Top