Is Your Gallery Insured?

Being concerned for the safety of your work is just plain old good business sense.

Here’s a short discussion from one of my magazine column, where I answered the following question about galleries insuring your work.

Artist’s question

All four galleries I’ve dealt with during my career have provided insurance. Is it commonplace for artists tocarry insurance to cover their own paintings when they are being shown and sold in a gallery?

My response

Well, it’s supposed to be commonplace for galleries to carry the insurance. But because the vast majority of galleries struggle in the early years-and many in their later years-they sometimes fail to take out insurance, or they let the insurance lapse.

How do I know?

I did this when my gallery was young, back in ‘96. I owed so much money everywhere, that I decided to let the insurance lapse while I caught up on rent, the phone bill, and marketing expenses.

Sure enough, no sooner did the lapse occur than the gallery caught fire, and my business went on an entirely different trajectory-a good one in the end, but only because I refused to give up.

Upshot? If the gallery doesn’t carry insurance, which I consider to be the cost of doing business, then they shouldn’t carry your work. And insuring it while it’s in their possession really isn’t your responsibility.

Your first responsibility

…is to produce the best work you possibly can.

Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. If a gallery is uninsured, and you are hell bent on being there, then you might want to protect yourself and take out your own insurance.

Tell me, how have you handled insurance with the galleries that represent you?

One Response to “Is Your Gallery Insured?”

  1. Sari says:

    Funny thing, it was only After I took out a new insurance policy offered for artists on works in shows that I started to experience thefts…It has seemed to me that there is a serious security risk to telling a stranger where your valuables are & how much they are worth…Use caution when selecting an insurance company & meet the people in person…I am quite interested, because it seems the incidence of fire, for example, in galleries who have let their insurance lapse briefly is more than coincidental…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *