Carve Your Niche in the Sculpture Market. (News)

Art Business News, July 2002 | Go to article overview

Carve Your Niche in the Sculpture Market. (News)


What makes sculpture a unique art experience is the fact that it must be observed over time to understand. Sculpture is a freestanding work that's intended to be viewed from a continuously changing vantage point to observe how the form evolves. The interplay of light on and across the surfaces accentuates forms and textures.

Sculpture is also different from wall art in the process of creation; materials used and methods of casting require collaboration between an artist and technician. Knowing the process, therefore, is as much a part of the sculpture experience as viewing.

Understanding these factors ultimately will ensure a gallery's success with sculpture. "Selling sculpture is not much different than selling paintings," said Daniel Winn, c.e.o. of Masterpiece Publishing. "It's important to understand the process and to communicate that knowledge to collectors."

In some ways, Winn added, sculpture is easier to sell than wall art. "You can take advantage of sculpture's tactile properties," he said. "If customers can touch and handle sculpture, they experience it in a more fundamental way."

A major advantage to selling sculpture is its ability to convert more square footage into valuable real estate. "Sculpture can be displayed in unused or walking space," said Karen Johnston, president and c.e.o. of Fingerhut Group Publishers. "It's a practical way to make the most out of a gallery space."

For gallery owners who want to delve into the sculpture arena, here are some tips to consider:

Highlight the display. Many novice sculpture dealers make the mistake of shoving three-dimensional art into an empty corner and calling it a day; when time goes by without a sale, they decide that investing in a sculpture inventory doesn't pay off.

The best sculpture displays take two facts into consideration: first, the display should show off the characteristics that make sculpture different from wall art--its multiple dimensions, textures and forms. Said Winn, "Sculpture must have the right light. This is the area where I see the most mistakes. The light must focus on the sculpture.

"Customers also must be able to walk around it, look at it from various angles.

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