The changing role of the gallery

The other day I had an exchange of views with one of my galleries which got me thinking about their changing role. The gallery in question had asked most of their artists a while ago to collect their work in order that they could “stock take”. Then this week I had a call saying someone wanted to buy one of my prints and could I send one out to the gallery.

This put me in an interesting position. I am actually a great supporter of the gallery system and my view is that I pay my commission in order that they stock my work, display it and promote it to would-be buyers and then handle the sale and any logistics. That seems to me a fair bargain.
For the same reason, I have never been keen on internet gallery sites as it seems to me they do very little to earn their commission and I can just as easily sell off my own site as off their’s.
So it was interesting when a conventional gallery asked me to take back my prints, but wants to keep me on their “database” so they can sell my work if the opportunity occurs. To my mind, this is an unwelcome development. Galleries should stick to their role promoting artists and their work and in return can expect the loyalty of their artists. Moving in the internet selling direction risks undermining this relationship of trust.

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