How To Price Fine Art In 2022

Photo of author
Written By Sam Davis Ph.D.

Sticker Crypt is the internet's premier source of free advice for artists and small business owners! 

Does an artist price exist? The art market can be wild at times, which means that pricing artwork is key if you want to sell art. Pricing art can be difficult, but there are some rules for pricing fine art.

There are many different ways to price an artwork or painting, but if you want your work to sell quickly and for the highest possible price, you need to follow the lead of galleries and auction houses.

Black wooden framed black padded armchair

1. Isolate Your Price From The Market

It can be tempting to price artwork based on comparable artists. Maybe you're just wanting to price oil paintings based on what you've seen other art sell for. This is a common mistake for emerging artists.

The problem with pricing artwork in this way is that it's unreliable. You can't just choose a number and expect that to be the price you sell your art for. Also, when you price against competitors, you naturally fall in with other artists, when you want to stand out.

Your art career needs you to stand out from other artists to actually sell your art. Similar artists are fine – but you need to be better.

2. Focus On The Final Sale Price

The best prices are when galleries and auction houses buy pieces outright, meaning they're buying it from the artist so they can mark up the art for further sale.

Unless you're selling all of your pieces your self, you're just going to have to work the price structure into how you do business. Gallery representation can take a good chunk of the money away from artists, but what you lose in cash, you gain in marketing and art business support.

When you sell high at gallery prices, you're able to set a benchmark for future art that you may sell yourself.

Woman sitting on ottoman in front of three paintings

3. Consider Art Prints And Alternatives

Not everyone is going to want or be able to own the original artwork. An original oil painting may be hundreds to thousands of dollars, well outside an average person's budget. But you can resell with art prints.

This is actually why we're talking about fine art on Sticker Crypt. Museums sell stickers and prints of their hung art all the time – and you should too. It's a great way for you to reach many more people and price artwork reproductions affordably for the average Joe.

You can also consider selling art on t-shirts, garments, bags, and even on a Print on Demand site. The art community is wide, and many people who may not have room in their walls will have room in their wardrobe for your art. Obviously, a shirt won't fetch the same price as an original painting, so price your art accordingly.

4. Be Careful About Selling Price Cuts

If an art piece isn't moving, you may consider cutting the price. But this can diminish your brand, and it won't help you recoup materials cost, either.

So when you price your art, think very carefully about your basement price, and then stick to your guns. If you need to get $300 from a piece, then keep it at that price until it sells.

If you have to discount price your art, now's the time to look at similar artists. Comparable artists will likely have discounted pieces as well, so you're able to start pricing artwork competitively.

5. Consider selling gimmicks

If you're still not sure how to price your piece, there are a few fall backs that you can use. Consider using an hourly rate, a square inch, or a reasonable hourly wage pricing system. Some folks will use a multiplier times the cost of materials.

I have personal feelings about these methods, but they do work for most artists, and they can potentially result in more sales.

What fine art pricing techniques do you use? Let us know in the comments below.

Want even more intel?

My upcoming book, "Bulletproof Marketing for Digital Artists" will have everything you want - and more - on digital art and building your digital business. Preorder today, and be the first to get your copy in January 2024!

Preorder Now