A Simple Formula for Pricing Artwork

Paulie Frontiero sent me a link to this blog post on how this person prices thier artwork-

 Lori Woodward writes-

Pricing artwork is one of the most complex tasks that emerging artists face, especially when they first begin to work with galleries. It’s easy to see by reading articles and books on art marketing that the opinions of the experts vary.

To make it even more complicated, we artists sometimes price with our emotions. Some artists overprice their work in order to impress viewers, hoping to make the artwork look more valuable. Sometimes this works, but usually only when the collector is naive or when the artwork is spectacular and gets the attention of serious collectors. When I price with my emotion, I tend to lower my prices because I feel sorry that the collector has to spend so much. Now, don’t get on me for this … it’s the truth. I’m an empathetic type, but I need to be careful to not price my work based on how I feel about it or collectors. In other words, I need to look at pricing objectively.

Putting emotions aside, let me share a simple formula that many of my professional artist friends have used when first starting to sell their work. I still use this formula. Remember that pricing reflects your position and reputation in the art-selling world more than what your art looks like. If you’re relatively unknown to collectors and don’t have many credentials—such as having placed in competitions, shown with a well-known gallery, or had your work published—you really can’t get the same prices as artists who do have those credentials.

When you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to make your work as affordable as you can while being able to cover your costs and make a small profit. Don’t charge so little that you don’t break even. Remember that galleries often take a 50 percent commission from sales, so you’ll have to take that into consideration.

click here for the way she formulates her prices

I’m curious if this makes sense to any of you artists out there.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


  • To me it seems like a strange way to price. But, I’m not a “full time Painter”. I go by how I like the results. It would be great to see if any Artist out there agrees with her formula.
    Let us know. Please.


  • i price my glass work by the square foot: $750/sq foot (gold is $50 book right now, so if there’s a lot of gold in the work i might have to charge a higher fee). any oild work on a pre-stretched commercial canvas 24×36″ or smaller is $275. most of my drawings are $150-$275. i like to keep things simple and uncomplicated. and i don’t sell 75% of my work, any artist worth their salt will have the work piled deep and deeper.


  • after all of that blab i just wrote, the $750/sq ft is for commissioned work. anything that is on my studio wall, a square foot or under, i consider ‘training paintings’. these are priced $500 and under depending on size, medium, etc.



  • This was an interesting article, and the comments after it make it a valuable resource! Reading through a number of different artists experiences and practices helps put the issue in perspective. Thanks!


  • Beer, a grand time, good company, and a nice dock to dive off! paid in full!

    I envy oil painters! sigh.


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