Art fairs offer galleries an excellent opportunity to present their artists and reach an international audience. But to be able to participate in an art fair, you need a lot of money. After that, the turnover has to be right so that the gallery gets its money’s worth. For example, participation in Art Basel costs an average of around 34,000 euros. So the most important art fair in Europe costs a lot of money. That is the price for making the represented artists visible to those interested. The investment for the gallery and the artist is only worthwhile when it is possible to sell enough pictures.
The international art fairs are still among the most exciting marketplaces for art. But the business model is coming under increasing pressure. More and more often, even the most beautiful booths at the trade fairs are rarely visited. Although people can only view the exhibition there for a few days, the price is impressive. If you add the price for the medium-sized exhibition stand to the costs for hotel, transport, insurance, and advertising, you get around 34,000 euros per exhibition. The stand fees alone amount to 30,000 euros.
A Lot Of Turnovers Is Necessary For Little Profit
If you want to make a profit here as a gallery owner, you might achieve at least a turnover of 100,000 euros with commission goods. Assuming an average price of 10,000 euros per work, the gallery has a profit of slightly more than 3,000 euros after deducting the artist’s share, VAT, and ancillary costs. That is not a lot when you consider how much effort it takes to get there. Anyone who sells works that have already been purchased must generate even more sales. The bill for European galleries is very different when they take part in an event overseas. The costs increase three to four times. However, a significantly more solvent market awaits in the USA. The gallery owners can also sell works there whose prices are considerably higher than those in Europe. Again, this isn’t easy to do in Europe.
The additional costs can be expensive. There are always reports of high prices for lighting technology or transport. Of course, insurance is also not to be despised. Added to this are the costs for the overnight stay, the regular dinners with customers, colleagues, and curators. All-included packages are a good alternative. However, these only offer smaller art fairs. That also gives smaller and young galleries the chance to position themselves internationally and present their artists. Here the prices start at around 3,000 euros for a small stand. But with all this effort, it can still happen that a gallery leaves a trade fair without having sold a single picture. However, this can even prove to be a success as a result, namely when it succeeds in getting new customers interested in his gallery, who will become regular customers in the future. However, if you repeatedly do not sell anything, you have to ask yourself whether you want to maintain this effort.