top of page

How to Price Art for Sale

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

This is a question that keeps coming up. Pricing artwork is challenging when you're getting started. Even the opinions of the experts on how to price artwork vary.

price tag

To make it even more complicated, artists sometimes price with their 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 naïve or when the artwork is spectacular and gets the attention of multiple collectors.

Price Your Artwork with this Formula

  1. Multiply the painting’s width by its length to arrive at the total size, in square inches. Then multiply that number by a set dollar amount that’s appropriate for your reputation. Then calculate your cost of canvas and framing, and then double that number. For example: A 16”-x-20” oil-on-linen landscape painting: 16” x 20” = 320 square inches. Using $6 per square inch, this painting should be priced at 320 x 6 = $1,920.00.

  2. Figure out the price of your frame, canvas and other materials. Then double this cost. Otherwise, I’m subsidizing the collector by giving him or her the frame for free. For example, $150 x 2 = $300. 3. Then I put it all together: $1,920 + $300 = $2,220 (the retail price). If you're selling through a gallery, which customarily charge 50% of the selling price, your cut after the commission is paid comes to $1,110 for the painting and $150 for the framing, for a total net of $1,250.

It is recommended for much larger pieces to reduce the price per square inch down a notch, a dollar or two lower, so as not to overprice the work for what people will actually pay. Also, check around to see what others are charging for similar works.

Alternately, for smaller works, price using the same per square inch as for your regular pieces because these take nearly as much effort as larger works, and you need to be compensated fairly, even when the work is miniature.

Generally, when you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to make your work as affordable as you can while being able to make a small profit. But, don’t charge so little that you don’t break even.

If you've got another method and are willing to share, please let us know!

28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page