What Is an Art Gallery?

An art gallery is an institution that promotes and sells artworks by the artists it represents. It may be dedicated to a specific artistic style, for example landscape painting, or it may focus on a particular period or movement. The main activity of a gallery is organizing art exhibitions which include selecting and preparing the work for display, promoting it in print ads and on social media, inviting collectors, journalists, and the public to an opening reception, and then selling the artworks.

The primary source of funds for an art gallery is the commissions earned from the sale of the artworks. In addition, art galleries also earn income from a range of professional services they offer within the art context such as advisory services open to the public for advice on home art, or from investment services.

When it comes to choosing which artists to represent, the art gallery chooses those with a strong and cohesive body of work that show clear aesthetic direction. In general, the highest quality galleries seek artists who have a track record of previous exhibitions in respected venues and a proven sales history.

Once an artist is signed with a gallery their reputation grows and when that happens the value of the artwork they produce increases. In the long term this creates a positive cycle that benefits everyone involved, the artists, the gallery and the collectors.

An art gallery’s portfolio of represented artists is their greatest asset. As the portfolio grows the artists’ reputations increase, their work values grow and this in turn brings more collectors to the gallery. The gallery benefits from a solid roster of artists and in return, it provides financial support to the artist, helping them develop their careers.

In recent years, the Gallery’s collection of photography and time-based media has grown significantly. This includes major acquisitions of works by Uta Barth, Sophie Calle, James Casebere, Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, Rineke Dijkstra and Mark Ruwedel. The Gallery also has an extensive holding of the work of Stephen Shore and Robert Mapplethorpe.

While many people believe that an art gallery adopts a group of collectors ready to buy the artists’ works, this is not always true. It is important for an artist to understand that if a potential buyer contacts them directly instead of the gallery they must refer the collector back to the gallery so that the gallery can receive their fair share of the sales revenue.

It is crucial for an artist to realize that an art gallery cannot be their only means of selling their work and that they should try to find other outlets as well. This could mean setting up an online store or creating a website to make their art available for sale to a wider audience of people. In addition, they should actively seek out opportunities to participate in art fairs to get their work seen by a larger audience of potential buyers. It may also be helpful to network with other galleries in their region and abroad to find out what kind of opportunities are available.