Art Marketing Boot Camp™: Using Frames To Sell Artwork

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December 12, 2013

Comments

BettyKimberly

Nothing worse than buying an expensive frame and sending it to gallery along with the painting and have it returned only with the damages.

Miami Beach auto detailer

Just like other roofs, insulating flat roof systems need enough ventilation, sealing bypasses, and installing vapor barriers. (3) It is also useful if you have pets, would keep lights around the barn unwelcome visitors. Any harm requirements to be used care of correct away and not left.

Elizabeth Larson

For people, cars are status symbols. For artwork, frames make them look better. It's just like an old car with attractive rims. It makes the whole car look good.

Theresa Grillo Laird

I agree that a good frame makes a big difference. I've tried several frame companies with frames more expensive than I can currently afford. Despite the cost, the frames still didn't look amazing.With my carpenter husband, we finally started making them ourselves. It took a few batches of frames to find a design and finish that I'm happy with. Like other readers, I'd have liked to see some before and after pictures.

Anne E. Hock (Allbeury)

Hi from Anne Allbeury-Hock. I totally agree with all that Eric is writing...but as someone mentioned...what about the frame that comes back
damaged from a show or gallery? There is little recourse...But, I did
find at the home improvement store: Lowes...a terrific spray paint in gold that does quite a good job or respraying the frame to a consistent not too shiny gold finish.Valspar Metallic...with a gold lid...Premium Enamel..
guick dry. If the frame is really a mess....use a apray primer first. I finish about 30 paintings a year and enter lots of local shows. My galleries do not complain about my frames which are small, plein air frames from a manufacturer on Long Island, N Y.which offers good discounts.
Decor.I back my frame with heavy black paper if it is on a panel..affix an envelope with a copy of the invoice, my bio etc. I paint on linen, which looks very nice on stretchers from the back...Sand off printed junk from the frame co, stretchers, etc. Anne

Bruce Gherman

Great Article and Very True
I am the publisher of a magazine on Picture Framing for framing retailers and also a painter
Being in that position I am sort of obligated to get really good frames for my paintings
In many cases the frames are equally or more expensive as the artwork I am selling
However as Eric pointed out the quality of the frame makes all the difference in the world in making a decent painting look good and a good painting look great.
I found a good way to work with galleries when it comes to using higher end frames on my work .
It is the galleries objective is to move artwork and a good frame helps to do just that.
I sell my small paintings for $950.00 unframed, I am perfectly happy to give the gallery 40% of that price
However I want the full price of the frame back for myself, otherwise I will make little to nothing on the sale. This allows me to keep buying good frames for my work. Often a gilded frame can cost me $700 to $1000.00 for a 9 x11 painting. So if the gallery sells the artwork for $1,950.00 and they took $780.00 that would leave me with $1,170, and only making $170.00 on the painting, after paying for the $1000.00 frame. That won’t work.
However if the gallery sells the painting for $1,950.00 ad gives me $585.00 for the painting and my money back on the frame we both win. If the buyer wants a different frame which does happen I get the frame back and the gallery gets to make money on the new frame they sell them.. I found this arrangement works very well. The gallery presents the artwork in the best possible light and will sell more artwork, and the artist gets a fair share for their efforts.

Degas said “The Frame is the reward of the Artist.”
Claude Monet said “A picture gains 100% in a fine frame”

Donna DeLaBriandais

Spending more money on a very expensive frame is only worthwhile if the customer is willing to pay more for the artwork than normal. My experience is that customers are not wanting to spend top dollar but looking for mid range prices. Another thought is when we give the gallery 50-60 percent of the purchase and we have spent hundreds on the frame, that does not leave much profit for the artist. My theory is to add a quality and affordable frame.

Sharon Gates

I agree with Eric as well that frames should match the quality of the work, but the examples here are mostly of gallery sales. It has been my experience at plein air paint outs, which I do more of, to be asked to sell the art WITHOUT the frame, not because the frame is cheap but because it makes the painting more affordable to the buyer. That goes against my grain because I know they will take it home and stick a cheap frame on it, devaluing the painting itself. Therefore, I do not sell without the frames and in fact do a lot pieces on deep, gallery wrapped canvas in order to sell them at these events and to deter the buyer's addition of cheap frames.

Dave Casey

I agree with the idea of using a top quality frame, but I do have to pause and wonder about a gallery that calls and asks an artist to okay a change of frame. Is the gallery suggesting a $2000 frame because they have ten sitting in back they need to get rid of? Is the buyer of the painting buying it simply to buy the frame, as one commenter already alluded to? You have to wonder about it when after the painting has sold and the artist gets hit with the bill for reframing and all they have to put in their pockets is a couple of dollars. I'm sure most galleries are quite honest and trustworthy with their stable of galleries, but if that were to happen to me I'd be pulling my artwork out of the gallery the next day.

Rachael Lofgran

This is great. I think this isn't emphasized as much as it should be. One problem I do see a lot is when the frame looks way better than the main artwork it's trying to present. The frame might become the main piece and detract from the art, so I think it's just as important and difficult to find frames that look highly professional, but won't distract from the artwork just as any cheap frame would.

Lori Quarton

I agree with some of the above--would love to see some before and afters.

k

Nothing worse than putting a nice frame on a painting, sending it off to a show or gallery only to have it returned later with the frame damaged or destroyed!

throne

I won a regional art competition. A local gallery opted to sell the painting for me but only if I paid $$$ to have it professionally framed. Reluctantly I agreed and bought the frame. The following week, the gallery owner called me with the news that the painting had sold. After paying the gallery commission and factoring in the cost of the frame and the best of show prize money, I barely broke even. The gallery owner gave me the buyer's name. I called her to ask how she liked the painting. She laughed. She'd already trashed the painting. All she wanted was the frame.

c a taylor

Hi I have had excellent results when I began using a professional framer. Your article does make sense and i understand it, because my mentor always said quality framing does make a difference. He said, why spend all this time creating a beautiful piece of art, and put it in a crummy old frame that says you don't care? its all about presentation. I use Bellport Arts & Framing in Bellport, she is very good, an artist in her own right, with a great sense of design and creativity.

Andrea M. Holbrook

A local gallery requests all pictures be hung in a gold leaf frame and they prefer all of your work be in the same frame. The only trouble I see is that some paintings look better in a silver toned frame or even one with a mat-like insert in a wood frame.

Carole Belliveau

I have the same POV. As my paintings have gotten better I feel they deserve to be framed the best way possible so that when they are juried into shows they pop off the wall. Also I want them to pop off MY wall while waiting at home for an upcoming show- I deserve that too!
I too would like to see some examples of a painting framed inexpensively and one with an appropriate frame. Even if it is not in my style I'm sure to learn something.
Question- does a clients decor matter? Perhaps not for the very wealthy, but I have had people express reservations if they have a contemporary decor and I have used a traditional frame or visa versa. Sometimes I have changed out a frame to convince a client.
Pet peeve- resin frames!!

David P. Hettinger

Eric, I agree with your view point here. I have been using Guido frames out of Boston for the last ten years for the very reason stated above: I respect my work, I want the collector to know that. - David Hettinger

Carol Anderson Kanga

Enjoyed the article -- many words but no visuals, though. Please indulge us with some before and after images so we can see what you see. Many thanks!

Paula

Great article. Frames are the icing on the "cake". Do you have a list of framing suppliers that you recommend? I'm not finding quality simple wood frames for my watercolors.

Stephen Crisafulli

Eric, you hit the nail on the head! To spend hours on your paintings and then adorn them with cheap looking frames, makes no sense. I have heard the reasoning from some artists that the customer will probably change the frame out anyway so why purchase a good frame? I feel that reasoning is backwards. The purpose of a good frame is to enhance the work, making it a harmonious and beautiful presentation thus drawing the eye of the viewer in.

D,Lee

I would have loved to have seen some examples. I'd like to step it up but not quite sure how. Great article.

Krystal Allen

Well said Eric. The frame can definitely make or break a piece of art. After 17 year working in framing, the last 12 of which were spent working for a custom manufacturer, I saw so much art absolutely transformed by the choice of a quality frame. That did not always mean it was super expensive either. The appropriate frame will allow the work to take center stage

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