Galleries Make Big Investment in Artists: Letter to Montreal Gazette
On March 8th, 2012 the Montreal Gazette published an article with the headline Galleries, museums shortchange artists: painter (pg 3). The following is an edited copy of our letter in reply.
Dear Sir / Madam,
Although it might be prudent for me to entirely ignore the page 3 “theft” story, I do however feel obliged to comment. You have dedicated 3/4 of a page to the nine year-old issue of a self-proclaimed artist who had been given the opportunity to show her work at Art Sales and Rental at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts when one of her works was stolen. The artist was paid the amount for which the gallery insured the work, I imagine for reasons of economy, that being wholesale or the net payable to the artist had it been sold. Three-quarters of a page is dedicated to an amount of somewhere between $1,200 and $2,000 that your sample artist under no circumstance would have otherwise received. Art Sales and Rental did not get any money, neither insuring their considerable expenses nor any potential profit. Then, after what may have been only a brief period of time as an “artist”, your sample simply quits and takes up another field. Why did you call her a “painter” at all? She hasn’t been one for nine years and may have been one for only the shortest period of time.
With this person and this position your newspaper very broadly paints galleries and museums as institutions or businesses that shortchange artists! You guys are tough – perhaps even mean spirited – towards a group of honorable people. Art dealers make an enormous commitment of time and expense to encourage and attempt to make a living for creative artists in whom we believe. In my opinion, our merits would be better discussed with interviews among those artists who are properly represented and who, although occasionally faced with the unpredictability of consumers and lulls in marketplace (which I should add adversely impact on their dealers, too), do not simply quit but persevere with the driving motivation that what they are doing is good and of aesthetic value.