How to build relationships with the artists in your collection


At the heart of most collector-artist relationships is a transaction – with this in mind, money is the root of many conflicts. Besides flipping a work of art, trying to negotiate a deal is one of the fastest ways to deter an artist and ruin a relationship. “A no-no is trying to get a good deal,” Osadebe said. “You meet another CEO, so act like that. Seeking discounts from artists represented in galleries also puts them in a difficult position. “We try to give loyal collectors a good price anyway, so when they ask for more, that embarrasses me,” Hegarty said. “I either have to talk to my gallery or just take the hit.”

Collectors should also think about how to react to prices above their estimate. Once, Ficus Interfaith received a request regarding a potential commission for a terrazzo ceiling. “We gave them the number, and they said, ‘This is path more than we thought, ”said Bush. “It was insulting. I felt devalued. A better strategy, according to Cohen, is for buyers to be transparent about their budgets. “If they just said, ‘We can’t afford it,’ that wouldn’t have been insulting,” he said. “We asked someone else to email us to order a small sculpture and they wrote, ‘This is what I can pay you, I love your job. It was really simple and it set a good tone for the dialogue.

Courteous collectors would also do well to extend this spirit of transparency to any instance where they choose to forgo a work of art. One of Hegarty’s frustrations is not being notified when a collector sells his art at auction. “It seems like an easy thing to do, to be more thoughtful about how it affects the artist,” she said. Recently, one of his collectors had to part with two coins as they were leaving the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. “They contacted me, told me what was going on and how they felt bad about it. We have been thinking about ways to get the pieces back from them so [the gallery] can resell them on their behalf, ”Hegarty said. “That way, the works don’t just go up for auction without anyone knowing. It is a commodity, but it is the work of our life, and we must keep track of it.


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