Sales Commission

Commissions on Your Sales

This ArtMakers introduction provides you with a broad overview of Art Commissions paid to a gallery, art dealer etc when you sell a piece of work.

What is an Art Commission?

When you sell your artwork via a gallery or online sales platform, they will ask for a commission – a percentage of the final sale price of your artwork. The only time this doesn’t happen is if the gallery or online sales platform purchases your art before selling it to their customers. In this instance, the gallery or online sale platform will increase the price of your work to make a profit from the future sale. This is more of a risk for the Gallery/online sales platform, so most will sell your art though a commission basis.

There is no universal base commission rate and it can be anywhere from 30- 50% sometimes even 60% of the final sale price.

You need to mark up your art (add money to your original price) to cover the commission.

For example, you have valued your art at £1600 but you know the gallery will take 40%, so you need to increase the price of the painting to cover 40% commission. Don’t just add 40% of £1600 because if the artwork sells for £2240, then 40% of this equals: £896, which leaves you with £1344, not the £1600 you might have thought it would.

Here is a formula on how to calculate what to add to your art to include the commission.

For this example, you need to divide your price by 60% (.6), because the gallery takes a 40% commission. (100% – 40% = 60%). 60% is the remainder and this is what you need to work out first.

Other examples of remainders for different commission percentages.

For 60% divide by .4

For 50%, divide by .5

For 35%, divide by .65

For 25%, divide by .75

For 20% divide by .8

Here’s the formula for our example: £1600 ÷0 .6 = £2666.70 – 40% = £1600.02

So, you needed to add £1066.70 to £1600 to make sure you achieve your original value after the 40% commission is taken by the gallery or online sales platform.

If you also sell your work on your own website, you should never undermine the gallery or online platform price you offer for the same work.. You must keep the price the same as advertised in the gallery or online sales platform if you wish to keep faith with your gallery or online platform. 

The commission goes towards the galleries or online sales platform overheads, including running costs, heating, electricity, marketing, insurance, staff wages and other business costs.

They would all go out of business if they couldn’t make money from selling your art. In return for the commission, a gallery will market, introduce your work to collectors and ultimately sell your work. 

Exhibition Fees

This is another type of commission. It is when a gallery charges an artist for taking part in an exhibition. This type of fee has become more popular over the last few years, as it reduces the risk to the gallery if work does not sell.

I hope this has been helpful and explains why being charged a commission is essential to other sellers of your art.

Here is a table with ArtMakers commissions calculated for you.

Artist’s PriceSale Price inc 38% CommissionSale Price inc 35% CommissionSale Price inc 30% Commission





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