How to Sell Abstract Paintings


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Abstract paintings have a wide appeal, which means they sell pretty well. This is probably because when placed on a wall, an abstract painting gives the viewer the freedom to interpret it as they choose. It’s no wonder they make such remarkable home decorations, but how do you go about selling abstract paintings? 

To sell abstract paintings, you need to look for the right channels. These include galleries, online platforms, art fairs, art dealers, and trade shows. You also need to promote your work, set the right price, get insurance, and sign a legal contract before working on any client project. 

In this article, we’ll discover more reasons why abstract paintings hold such great allure for many people and why they are so expensive. We’ll also dive into things you should consider before selling abstract art, where you can sell your abstract paintings, and who your potential customers could be.

Let’s get started.

The Allure of Abstract Paintings and Why People Love Them

Great art communicates with the viewer. It inspires thoughts, moods, or feelings. In most cases, art that sells usually triggers a memory or rekindles something from the buyer’s past. Abstract art, on the other hand, is visually striking, with most people often purchasing abstract paintings for their color – or even to complement the decor in their home (source). 

But there’s more. Abstraction encourages both involvement and imagination and provides each viewer with a unique, intangible, and emotional experience (source). As such, two people viewing the same painting would interpret it differently based on their personality, disposition, or state of mind.

Abstract paintings command a high price in the world of art. This is because:

  • The artwork is not a true picture of reality. Modern abstract art is more than an eye-catching display of shapes, textures, and colors. Instead, it allows the viewer to get a peek into the artist’s vision and emotions. Abstract paintings are, therefore, authentic, genuine pieces that don’t replicate the real world. Their high price tag is a way to appreciate the truth the artist works so hard to exhibit.  
  • It displays a high level of creativity. Painting abstracts requires high intellect. It also entails lots of hard work, many years of training, and experience. This allows the artist to create masterpieces that aptly represent the deep meaning he wants to portray, hence the premium price tag. 
  • Abstract art depicts advancement in human expression. Great abstract artists display high sensitivity levels in addition to talent. They showcase a crucial progression in self-expression, enabling them to break free of societal stereotypes and express their truth.  

Who Buys Abstract Paintings?

Abstract paintings buyers include:

  • Those who go for high-priced artwork like private collectors and museums 
  • Organizations that decorate offices or public areas with art
  • Homeowners are looking to decorate their houses with signature pieces 

Now that you know who can buy your paintings, let’s explore how you can sell them next.

Sell Your Abstract Art Online

A few years back, galleries were where most artists sold their paintings. But not anymore. Today, online platforms have become strong contenders for the internet savvy art lover. Not only do these outlets offer a new marketplace for many artists, but even traditional galleries themselves have opened online stores and are getting lots of business from here. 

Many artists say that they are now selling more paintings online – high-priced ones too- particularly to younger buyers who are comfortable making online purchases. 

But these two are not the only options open to art sellers. You can also sell your abstract paintings on online sites such as Etsy, Zazzle, and DeviantArt, among many others. The advantage of using such sites is that they facilitate sales and help to cut out brokers. They also offer a pre-existing customer base though there’s high competition from other artists.

Sell Your Abstract Art in Traditional Galleries

Despite the boom of the online shopping craze, traditional art galleries are still a great way to sell your art. And, yes, galleries do accept abstract art, depending on their vibe.

Make sure to research galleries prior to reaching out to them. You don’t want to waste everyone’s time by reaching out about your abstract art, when abstract art wouldn’t be a good fit to their collection.

You can read my guide about selling your art to traditional galleries to learn more.

Aside from galleries, also think about art fairs, festivals, coffee shops that do rotating art displays. Think about all of the places where you see art, and think about how your own abstract art could be a part of it.

License Your Artwork 

Licensing your artwork allows you to work with third-party companies who put your artwork on their various products, such as coffee mugs. This entails you working with buying agents to set up a contract. Once this is done, you get an initial payment and royalties on any paintings that sell.

You can also walk through retail stores scouting for products that sport abstract artwork, check for the manufacturer’s contact info, and reach out to them.   

Sell Through Art Dealers or Interior Designers

Art dealers, architectural firms, and interior designers who source artwork for hotels or corporate clients can provide an excellent platform for your paintings. You can also use your social media platforms to network with these and other professionals like bloggers or journalists who are always on the lookout for new talent.

Work on Private Commissions

Individuals or corporates can commission you directly to work on abstract paintings. You could also get paid to do artwork for interior decor or even street art. Just make sure to have the right documentation in place in case the client decides they don’t like the finished work. 

You see, when you get a deposit before you start, at least you get to walk away with partial payment–and the artwork–in such an eventuality. 

Other ways you can use to sell your abstract paintings include:

  • Art fairs
  • Trade shows
  • Your website
  • Opening your art studio to the general public

What To Consider Before Selling Your Abstract Paintings

Before you start selling your abstract artwork, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Your pricing. Set the right price for your paintings and take care not to undersell your work. Your customer will value your paintings depending on how much they pay for them. A top-dollar price tag allows your client to treasure the artwork and gives it sentimental value. 
  • Your packaging. Consider how you will package your paintings to create a unique unboxing experience for your customers. You can also protect your packaged prints with padding.
  • Your insurance. Make sure you get proper insurance for your abstract paintings in case of damages during shipping. Remember, the more expensive your paintings are, the better the insurance you should go for.

Tips on How To Best Sell Your Abstract Paintings

Here are some tips on how to best sell your paintings:

  • When selling through your website, use large, high quality, and high res images of your artwork for people to see it clearly.
  • To protect your images against plagiarism, use a customized watermark. This has the added advantage of enhancing your brand.
  • Showcase your artwork to as many people as possible via online platforms or art fairs for additional exposure.
  • If a client commissions you to do some work for them, prepare a legally binding contract to ensure that you receive your commission after selling the paintings.
  • Request for a deposit to cover you in case a client changes their mind and cancels after you have begun working on the project.
  • Use social media platforms to network, promote your work, attract clients, and connect with other artists.

There you go—a quick guide explaining how you can sell abstract paintings. Hopefully, you are now well informed about the steps you need to take. To recap:

  • Set the right price for your paintings
  • Use the various online and offline channels available
  • Get insurance and the proper packaging
  • Promote your work online and in networking forums
  • Always sign legal contracts before commencing client work- get a deposit too
  • Protect your work from plagiarism

Now you have no excuse, go and start selling!

Diana Fitts

Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana's latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.

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