Does It Cost More to Buy from a Dealer?

James Turkas, The Wood Cutter, Sold for $2250
Jules Turkas, The Wood Cutter, Sold for $2250

Convention would have it that you often pay a premium to buy from a dealer. In return for the premium, you get the advice, knowledge and reassurance they can provide. However, as a recent experience shows, that’s not always the case.

A dealer that we’ve done business with previously approached us with two paintings by the artist Jules Turkas. Not familiar with his work, I repiled with “please send a photo.” The dealer sent a photo, but for whatever reason it never arrived. I assumed he never got around to sending it, and he assumed we were not interested. The dealer ended up selling the paintings to a third party.

A month or so went by and Hui discovered the paintings at James D. Julia auctions. Lots by this artist don’t come up often, so I assumed they were the same. I sent off a an email to the dealer and confirmed that fact. He appologized for the mis-communication and said he’d much rather have sold them to a retail customer.

Jules Turkas, Turkeys Under the Oak Tree sold for $3600
Jules Turkas, Turkeys Under the Oak Tree, sold for $3600

The paintings went up for auction today, and together went for about 50 percent more, not including premium or shipping, than the unnegotiated price offered to us.  (Interestingly the one I liked the least sold for the most). If they were bought by another dealer, I have little doubt that the price will again be doubled. A lost opportunity for sure!

If you want good deals on paintings or furniture, yes, learn to look on your own in shops and at auctions, but also get to know dealers. Sometimes there is a premium to be paid, but they’d also like to provide good value to their customers.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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