Earn More on Every Art Sale

by Carolyn Edlund

Instead of running a sale or resorting to discounts, turn your thinking around. Use these strategies to increase the perceived value of your art and earn more on each sale.


mid-century modern abstract art

Collection of mid-century modern abstracts by artist Marion Griese


What is your art worth? Basically, it’s worth what people will pay for it, which reflects their perception of the value of your work. You as the artist have the power to increase perceived value in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Outstanding Presentation

When you sell art online, the customer depends on the photographs you present to understand what you make and imagine owning it. This is your opportunity to give site visitors as much visual information as possible about the art under consideration. Your photographs must show your art to its best advantage in order to be perceived as a serious professional. Make sure that your online portfolio is cohesive and consistent, without noticeable faults.

Multiple Views

Have you ever noticed that major ecommerce sites show several images of each piece of merchandise for sale? If you are shopping for shoes, for instance, you may see half a dozen photos. The user experience is enhanced by allowing you to virtually try them on.

Every additional image of a piece of art on your website is a source of information that increases customer confidence and the probability of a sale. Additional product views may be in the form of detail shots, which give an up-close perspective of your art. Help your shoppers appreciate the intricate surface, complex design or materials used. In situ photos help the shopper visualize your art in their own space by seeing it shown in a room. This type of image serves to give a clear idea of the scale and impact of the piece under consideration.

Each additional image you share serves to give an impression about the value of your work and also its desirability.


Abstract art shown in a room

In situ photos help the customer imagine owning your work. Artist credit: Marion Griese


Descriptions that Resonate

Just as we share visual information to enhance the shopping experience, we must use written content also. Well-written descriptions help the visitor appreciate what you do as an artist and make an emotional connection. Product-level pages are perfect places to tell the story behind the work, describe your inspiration and relate to the reader.

Certificate of Authenticity

A Certificate of Authenticity may include the title, medium, materials, year of creation and the artist’s signature. It verifies that the work was made by the artist, and establishes provenance. Although it takes little effort to create a Certificate of Authenticity form, offering one can definitely boost the perception of the art as a valuable investment. It’s also a great addition when the purchase is a gift, to let the receiver know that they are getting a very special work of art.

Invite Commissions

Custom made art that is personalized for the client always has a greater emotional value. If you are in a position to specialize in doing commission work, you can charge significantly more for this service. Consider adding tier levels to commissions, not only by the size of the piece, but extra services such as providing installation in their home or office, or even making an appearance at an “unveiling” party.

Increase the High End

Many artists offer work for sale in a range of price points to appeal to different pocketbooks. That’s a good strategy, but avoid using this solely as a way to include lower-priced works in your collection. Take a look at the most expensive art you have for sale, and decide whether you can offer work that is even higher in price.

This type of positioning can place you in the running to appeal to a more affluent audience. And, it allows you to go big and present artwork at an aspirational price level for those who can afford it.


Artwork photos courtesy Marion Griese.


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