What to Do with Old Art Works


# Offer the Art for Sale at Reduced Prices

  sale sign photo


In order to sell their work more quickly some artists will offer older work in a “bargain bin” at their open studio event, or at a show. The price may be dramatically reduced. I’ve come across some artists offering older work at 50%-70% off the original retail price. Is this a good idea?

The Problems with This Approach

  • Discounting in this way offers several problems for consideration. Firstly, the older work can be a distraction from your new work. You would be better off holding a retrospective exhibition and honouring the work’s place in your creative timeline.
  • Secondly the pricing of the older work can be a distraction. The bargain art may make your regularly priced work seem expensive and prevent sales – not the desired outcome at all!
  • Thirdly, if the art is greatly reduced it devalues the work you have already sold to other collectors.  You can put your prices up but generally speaking you should never put them down.

# Hold a Studio Sale

junk sale photo

Another idea is to hold a kind of art yard-sale at your studio. This sale may target existing collectors, or it may be an opportunity for friends and neighbors to acquire your art at prices more suited to their income. However rather than heavily discounting, you would be better to do something like buy 1 at full price and get a second with 10-15% off. This way you are offering a reward for their purchases.

The Problems with This Approach

  • If you target existing customers you risk training them that they shouldn’t buy your current work, but should instead wait for your work to age and for the price to decrease. When what we want it to do is to increase over time.
  • You may find that if you are targeting existing clients, that they end up feeling they paid too much for the initial piece or pieces they bought. It could also make them nervous about collecting your work in the future as they may think your work has become devalued and therefore is not as collectible now.
  • If on the other hand you are targeting your neighbors they may feel that even at a greatly reduced price, the work is still too expensive, or they may feel they don’t want to spend their hard-earned money on your rejects.
  • The other thing to be very mindful of is that you never want to undersell any galleries that may be representing you.


This Weeks Question: What do you do with your older artwork?  I would love to hear any ideas you might want to share with us. 

Look For Next Monday’s Post: 


Photo by Stewart Black

Photo by Goran Zec

Photo by Eastlaketimes