Art pricing

The topic of "prices in art" is unpleasant for most artists. Many find it difficult to switch from a creative process to economic considerations.

I can understand this well, as I feel no other way. As someone said so beautifully in the comments on Instagram on this subject: "You can't put a price on pouring your heart and soul onto paper." (@passion_for_pastels)

You don't have to if you decide not to sell your art. For example, you could just give it away as a gift or simply keep it.

But since in general the efforts are more in the direction of making a business out of it, one has to deal with the topic for better or worse.

There are different ways to approach this topic. Mostly I include them all in my considerations. Here are the 3 basic methods.


Preliminary considerations

The prices of an artist reflect how long he has been in the business / how well known he is. In addition, pictures of different sizes should have reasonable prices in relation to each other.

The price for a picture should be the same at all locations (gallery, online, direct sale)


Painting size as basis

The easiest way to approach a reasonable pricing is through the size of a painting. 

To this you add the length to the width. The result is multiplied by a factor that you have previously determined.

The advantage of this method is that the prices are correct in comparison between larger and smaller pieces. With very large pictures, however, I would add something to the price, with very small pictures I would charge a little less.

With time you can simply increase the factor and thus raise all prices evenly.



Galleries often take a percentage of the sales price as an expense allowance. This ranges between 30 - 50%, whereby 50% is not unusual. This should be included in the price considerations.

And as mentioned above, there should be no price differences between the gallery price and the online price.

If a painting is sold after an exhibition, but the customer has seen the painting in the exhibition, the gallery owner naturally owns his share as well.


Price according to effort

A basic consideration should always be what the picture has cost in production. 

Listened to the composition:

- Material

- hours

- Framing (if you have it done externally) or hours + material Framing (if you make the frame yourself)

- Profit margin as a factor


Example: inexperienced artist in a collective exhibition


PastelCard 40x30cm = 4.80 CHF

Chalks approx. 10,- CHF

Fixing spray approx. 1,- CHF

Share of small material: approx. 5,- CHF (e.g. painting board, adhesive strips for fixing, easel..)


5 hours of 30,- CHF = 150,- CHF


Ikea frame: 40X30cm à 10,- CHF

Total amount: 180.80 CHF

Factor e.g. 2.5 > 180.80 * 2.5 = 452,- CHF


If the painting is sold in a gallery in this way, the result is the following:

452,- / 2 = 226,- each to gallery and artist

226,- - 180.80 = 45.20 So exactly 10% of the selling price is for the artist

Depending on this it would be advisable to choose a slightly higher factor.

In the end you always have to decide for yourself if you can live with the price as well as with the profit.


Art pricing
3 methods to get the "right" price for your artwork!
Art pricing.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 125.4 KB