First call back from a store – the big YES we want YOUR art – and I rush over with my best work. It didn’t even occur to me there would be a consignment contract. Too green to know what I didn’t know.

Skim the contract, sign on the dotted line and leave with a smile and a little skip (when out of view of course). It wasn’t until a week or so later I started wondering what was standard and non-standard in a consignment contract. What exactly did I just sign and was it in my best interests?

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As always, once you think to look, the answers are only a couple clicks away. The best resource I found was part of a free online series of Professional Guidelines. This guidelines are created by a committee currently chaired by Harriete Estel Berman. The Consignment Contract Guideline includes an example contract and a detailed summary of the meaning and reasoning behind all of the contracts components.

It is a very thorough document that taught me what I should be thinking about and what I should be looking out for. And example would be the section on discounting. If the venue decides to discount whose profits will the discount come from? The sections on fiduciary responsibility and loss or damage could become crucial in unforeseen misfortune. I hope you find it as useful.

Artists: Do you typically sign contracts when selling on consignment? Does the boutique supply the contract, you or is it a collaboration? What have you found is the most important part of the contract?

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