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Would You Buy Your Own Work Back ?

Posted by: Susanne Clark on 10/05/2012 - 5:16 PM

About five years ago I sold a large painting to purchasers who had just bought a second home in another city because the husband's work had him living there several days per week. They wanted art work to decorate it. Yesterday I received a message on my cell phone from the purchasers asking me to call them. They have now sold their home and are moving back to their home city and are disposing of all the things in the second property and evidently have no room for my large painting. I am wondering if they are going to ask me if I would buy it back. Has anyone else had this experience and if so how did you deal with it? I would also be interested in opinions of how to deal with it if they do want me to buy it back. They are not short of money. Perhaps they may even offer it back for nothing but I think that is wishful thinking. The original cost was $1750.


Oldest Reply

Posted by: MM Anderson on 10/05/2012 - 5:31 PM

I wouldn't purchase it back unless I was afraid that it might end up in the landfill and I really wanted to prevent that. They could sell it at auction or consign it to a gallery for sale.


Posted by: Barbara Moignard on 10/05/2012 - 5:40 PM

If it happened to me I would not purchase it back. Unless I really regretted selling it in the first place. It may not be that though - have I read that if someone resells a piece of artwork they have to compensate the artist if it has gone up in value? Or have I imagined that - lol! They may want your advice, they could be selling it in situ with the house and need your valuation.


Posted by: Johnny Trippick on 10/05/2012 - 5:42 PM

I would buy it back and sell it on again to someone else for twice as much, if it were mine. In situations like this I always ask myself the question 'What would Bender do?'.


Posted by: Barbara Moignard on 10/05/2012 - 5:57 PM

How much would you charge someone to rent a painting for five years? If they do want to sell it back deduct the rental from the price you would pay.


Posted by: Susanne Clark on 10/05/2012 - 7:16 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I will call them tomorrow and see what it is they have in mind. It's great to hear everyone's thoughts.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 10/05/2012 - 7:17 PM

once it's gone it's gone, i don't want to see that thing again. its not like they were renting it. did they at least give a discount? or did they charge more?

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Phyllis Beiser on 10/05/2012 - 8:16 PM

I recently had a similar event. A lady who had purchased a large oil from me decided that it was too large for her space, I gave her two small paintings and took the larger back. She was very pleased and I have lost nothing.


Posted by: Anne Norskog on 10/05/2012 - 8:21 PM

Indeed I would buy it back--now that I am strictly digital, however, the patrons can chose the size they want! My oil and acrylic portraits are, of course, another matter. The family portraits are not for sale and my commissioned works become part of that person's legacy.


Posted by: Ed Meredith on 10/05/2012 - 8:41 PM

Johnny, Bender would steal it work out a deal and sell it to the insurance company...

i would buy back the original like it was a used car... a used and devalued piece of merchandise, other wise why would i want that piece of crap... lol


Posted by: Loretta Luglio on 10/05/2012 - 8:45 PM

I may consider it if I sold it years ago, my prices are much higher today, and I pay no more than what I sold it to them. Of course, I would make sure this painting is up to speed with my current body of work before floating it on the market again.

I read an article where a well known artists donated a large work to be raffeled off at a fund raiser for improvements to the down town area where his studio-gallery was. After much reflection he agreed, the event was a success and the painting raffeled. His work sold at the time in the $3000+ range. Anyway, a few weeks after the raffle a couple walked into his gallery with his painting. He thought they wanted it personalized or a new frame, whatever. They approached him and wanted to know if he wanted to buy the painting back for a couple thousand. He was astonished and flatly led them to the door!!


Posted by: Johnny Trippick on 10/05/2012 - 8:48 PM

Ed - you're right. I'll have to up my game a bit. That Bender really knows the right way to do things.


Posted by: Angelina Vick on 10/05/2012 - 8:51 PM

I would offer to buy it back for a small portion of what they paid.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 10/05/2012 - 9:10 PM

you can offer to cut it in half and reframe them both for a fee.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Dindin Coscolluela on 10/05/2012 - 9:11 PM

Yes. I feel connected to all my artworks. Buy it back at a lesser cost. You cal sell it at a higher cost to future clients someday.

I do, however, suggest for you to recommend your client to your art gallery agent so your agent can take care of the business deal of purchasing it and selling it especially if you are busy and have no more space for that artwork.


Posted by: Susanne Clark on 10/06/2012 - 8:54 AM

I will post an update after I speak with the purchaser today. I think that Barbara's idea is a good one. If they had rented the painting for three years they would probably have paid $40 per month. That would take it to $1440. The original price was $1750 so if I deduct the rental costs the most I should pay to have it back is $290. What do you think?


Posted by: Andee Photography on 10/06/2012 - 9:32 AM

Maybe help them find a buyer for it or tell them what they need to do to try to go about

selling it themselves.And if you help sell it for them charge a fair fee to do that.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 10/06/2012 - 10:38 AM

that figure seems low to me honestly. i'm betting it's dusty as well, that's a maintenance charge. i don't know of any place that rents art. i would say that if you really wanted to buy back the art, give them at least half of what they paid for it. you were expecting to get rid of it after all, not have it come back. if they went to a pawn shop - how much do you think they would get for it? i'm honestly betting not much (no insult, it's just a business thing). part of it is, if they say why so little? you can say - rent, and now you have to store the thing again.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: K Kingston on 10/06/2012 - 2:00 PM

Personally, I wouldn't buy it back. A sale means "sold." You have no obligation to their present situation, a lack of wall space.


Posted by: Susanne Clark on 10/06/2012 - 3:39 PM

I spoke with them today and they suggested perhaps I could buy it back off them for $500. What I am going to suggest is that they donate it to their favorite charity and take the tax deduction as recompense. That way they can do something good and get a tax deduction for at least $1000. I also believe that once something is sold you can't be expected to take it back three years or so later.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 10/06/2012 - 3:44 PM

i don't think art works that way. it's like insurance, unless it can be appraised for a high value, then it can be set at that. otherwise you can set the price to a million, just for insurance money. since you set the price, i don't think they can legally tell the government it was worth the amount you set. the most it would be worth is the materials it's on. but that's about it. at least as far as i know.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Jenny Armitage on 10/06/2012 - 3:55 PM

I don't think I'd look at it as rent. After all you've had $1750 interest free all these years. I'd think about it in terms of retail versus wholesale. You sold it retail which means minus the 50% you would have paid (or did pay) a gallery. If you buy it back now, deduct 50% from the current price you could sell it for.. That's your price for having to market it again. So unless it has gone up in value, you shouldn't pay more than $750. But if frame styles have changed or the frame is damaged, be sure to deduct any framing costs necessary to get it ready to sell.

I wouldn't feel obligated to purchase it in any case. Buy it if you think you can make that 50% by reselling it or if you want it back.


Posted by: Andee Photography on 10/06/2012 - 4:09 PM

I would think they could deduct it for the price they paid if they have a receipt but they would have to check the legalities

on that one to see if they could, And a good tax person could tell them what they can and can not do tax wise for deductions


Posted by: Susanne Clark on 10/06/2012 - 4:21 PM

From what I can gather here in Canada they can donate it to a registered charity and claim up to $1000 without having to get it professionally appraised. They would need to have a receipt for the amount they paid me.

Someone mentioned in a previous post that they had never heard of art rental programs. Here in Canada there are quite a few. One I know of is called Art Lending. You can apply to have your art included in one of these collections. They jury work in once a year I think and are quite particular. Many home staging companies also rent out art by the month.


This discussion is closed.