Magazine article Art Business News

Art Books Add a Boost to Prestige and Sales

Magazine article Art Business News

Art Books Add a Boost to Prestige and Sales

Article excerpt

Galleries take art books off the shelf to use them as powerful selling tools

Cover to cover, page by page, art books are attractive tools that entice collectors, lure potential buyers and enhance the sales techniques of gallery personnel.

Indeed, complementing artwork with interesting and attractive reading material is a win-win strategy, according to industry experts. In a nutshell, art books bring credibility to an artist, broaden the exposure of their work and provide a sense of esteem to the high-end collector.

Julie Maner, director of business affairs for Museum Editions, likens a devotee's interest in an artist to that of a musical performer.

"When people enjoy a musician, they buy CDs and attend concerts," she noted. "By reading a book, fans gain additional insight into the performer, his inspiration and his values. It helps them to pursue their attraction."

"The same goes for art books. When people see a work of art that they like, they become interested in an artist. Art books help satisfy their curiosity," she said. "The books are a wonderful promotional tool. Collectors love them; they put people one step closer to the artist, his makeup and his technique. The books provide a real value in helping to know who the artist is and what his work stands for."

Furthermore, the books succinctly illustrate an artist's full range of work. "Chances are that an artist has hundreds of pieces, but only five will fit on a gallery wall," said Maner. "Providing a book for a client to browse through helps to supplement the lack of wall space"

New Rochelle, N.Y.-based Museum Editions has published a series of four books by Charles Fazzino. The most recent, released about a year ago, has nearly sold out. Part of the book's appeal is that it is a work of art in itself, said Maner. "The Fazzino book is a high-quality, glossy, coffee-table release," she said. "To do well, a book has to be as beautiful as the artist's work. It's a complete reflection of the artist. There is something magical about being able to hold a book in your hand and see all the wonderful accomplishments of one talent."

A Show of Books

High-end art books are particular assets when tied in with gallery shows, pointed out John Murphy, vice president and general manager of Smart Publishing. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company has published two books of work by David Schluss.

"Offering books is an adjunct to selling the art. We find that people who buy original works are also interested in the books. Buyers like pointing to a book on the coffee table that contains the art they have displayed on their wall," Murphy said.

"Books spark interest," he added. "During an exhibition, a buyer may become intrigued by Item X on page 22. The books are good sales tools that pique a buyer's interest. Books acquaint people with the range of artwork available. Further, a book loaded with visuals can open doors for new collectors."

Decorative Expressions in Atlanta practices tying in books with exhibitions. "It is a missed opportunity not to showcase, educate and promote a gallery artist," said President Robert Harris. "People who purchase art are interested in the books for prestige as well as for the information the books provide. The books support artist recognition. This is a very positive and powerful marketing tool."

This month, Decorative Expressions is tying in its new release, a book devoted to the artist Alvar, with two gallery shows and a museum exhibition.

"At the time of the book's release, the Georgia Museum of Art will have a retrospective of his work and there will be shows held at Regency Fine Art in Atlanta and Nuance Gallery in Tampa, Fla.," he said. "The book is written by a scholar at the University of Georgia and will be used as a resource for people who have bought original pieces and limited editions."

Peter Nee, president of P&C Fine Art in Washington, D. …

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