How to sell art on auction

Selling art at an auction can be a thrilling and rewarding experience. It offers a unique opportunity to showcase your artwork to a wide audience and potentially earn a significant amount of money. However, the process can be challenging, especially for beginners. This article will guide you through the necessary steps to successfully sell your art at an auction.

  1. Understand the Art Market

The first step in selling art at an auction is understanding the art market. This involves researching the current trends, knowing what type of art is in demand, and understanding what collectors are looking for. The art market is constantly changing, and what sells well today may not sell well tomorrow. Therefore, staying updated with the latest trends and market demands is crucial.

  1. Choose the Right Auction House

The next step is to choose the right auction house. Different auction houses cater to different types of art and have different clienteles. Some auction houses specialize in contemporary art, while others focus on classical art. It’s important to choose an auction house that caters to the type of art you’re selling. Research different auction houses, check their past sales records, and consider their reputation in the art world.

  1. Appraisal and Valuation

Before you can sell your art at an auction, you need to have it appraised. An appraisal will determine the market value of your artwork. This is usually done by a professional art appraiser who will evaluate the artwork based on various factors such as the artist, the condition of the artwork, its provenance, and the current market demand. The appraised value will serve as the reserve price, which is the minimum price at which the artwork will be sold.

  1. Consignment Agreement

Once you’ve chosen an auction house and had your artwork appraised, you’ll need to sign a consignment agreement. This is a legal contract between you and the auction house. It outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, including the reserve price, the auction house’s commission, and other important details. Make sure to read the agreement carefully and understand all the terms before signing.

  1. Cataloguing and Marketing

After the consignment agreement is signed, the auction house will catalogue your artwork. This involves photographing the artwork, writing a description, and including it in the auction catalogue. The auction house will also market your artwork to potential buyers. This may involve displaying your artwork in a pre-auction exhibition, advertising it online, and sending the catalogue to their client list.

  1. The Auction

The final step is the auction itself. This is where potential buyers will bid on your artwork. The auctioneer will start the bidding at the reserve price, and the price will increase as more people bid. If the bidding reaches or exceeds the reserve price, the artwork will be sold to the highest bidder. If the bidding doesn’t reach the reserve price, the artwork will not be sold.

  1. After the Auction

Once the auction is over, the auction house will handle the payment and delivery of the artwork to the buyer. They will then pay you the sale price minus their commission and any other fees outlined in the consignment agreement.

Selling art at an auction can be a complex process, but with the right preparation and understanding, it can also be a rewarding experience. Remember to do your research, choose the right auction house, and understand the terms and conditions of the sale. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to successfully selling your art at an auction.