A question from Pei Sze, a student at Academy of Art, San Francisco: "If we put our works on consignment and it gets damaged, who is usually responsible for the damage?"
The ANSWER is in your consignment contract. BEFORE SENDING WORK or delivering work to a gallery or store, ALWAYS discuss the consignment contract. The Professional Guidelines has a Consignment Contract that will help negotiate this and other issues before there is a problem.
Section 8. Loss or Damage.
"The gallery shall be strictly liable for loss or damage to any consigned artwork from the date of delivery to the gallery until the artwork is returned to the artist or delivered to a purchaser. In the event of loss or damage that cannot be restored, the artist shall receive the same amount as if the artwork had been sold at the retail price.
If restoration is suggested or pursued by the gallery, the artist shall have veto power over the choice of the restorer. The artist shall be responsible for all repairs to artwork necessitated by artist’s faulty workmanship."
To explain further:
If damaged work can be repaired or restored, the artist should be compensated for the time and materials for repair.
If the work is lost or damaged: The artist or maker should be paid the wholesale price. This is the "same amount" that the artist would have received "if the artwork had been sold at the retail price."
"Even in the best relationships based on trust and a good working relationship, there is no substitute for a contract. To minimize and hopefully avoid possible conflicts, the rights and obligations of both the artist and the gallery should be clearly written in a contract.
Do not rely on assumptions and the memories of verbal conversations. A good contract, such as the consignment contract developed by the Professional Guidelines, is fair to both parties. It is in the interest of both parties to discuss all the issues presented here."
"Many galleries are accustomed to using their own contract. If the gallery already has a contract that it wants to use, it can be signed “as is”, or it can be viewed as a starting point for further discussion. The artist can use the Professional Guidelines example contract as a checklist or guide for negotiating modifications and revisions. Your business relationship with the gallery may include specific arrangements that require additions or deletions, which you should initial. In addition, amendments that arise after the original contract has been signed should also be put in writing and signed by both parties (see clause #18)."
The above text in quotes was taken directly from the Consignment Contract in the Professional Guidelines.
Below are copies of the Consignment Contract in the Professional Guidelines as a Word and PDF.
Please feel welcome to share this with your friends and fellow artists.
This post was updated on March 17, 2022, to provide current links.