Big Paintings for Big Houses


This past winter I had a studio visit from two women who have a long-running business selling art to people who are looking to fill their walls. I was introduced to them by a woman who had purchased one of my drawings and also employed them to help her place some work in her home. I was grateful for the chance to make some sales.  In fact, it was unnerving because I really wanted sales; being your own collector is depressing.

After months of delays, they pulled up in a Land Rover and went to work. I had been waiting for them for so long that I had thought through all kinds of tactics for presentation. I felt I needed to have something intelligent to say about each work even though they are often done instinctively. Well, that was too much thinking. They went through my panels like appraisers and asked no questions. Talking between them they indicated that some might be right for this or that client, but they lamented the small sizes of many that they liked because their client liked them large, although some might do for a bathroom.

As the visit progressed I came to understand that their clients preferred large work and wanted it to be more or less abstract. The women told me that they had not sold a “nature” painting for over ten years and that nude figures were out of the question as their clients had children. I have a couple of abstract paintings, but they were not deemed to be large enough. And my prices were too high.

They encouraged me to do larger paintings or works on paper to be framed in various sizes and configurations, which they would determine.

And they were gone.

In the following week I felt worse and worse about the whole experience. Most of my work is nudes or “nature.” I spent time thinking of ways I could alter my course to achieve some sales, but the more I thought the worse I felt. It was depressing and somehow humiliating. Here these women had access to active buyers willing to spend, and the buyers apparently had no real feel, let alone love, for Art. They wanted to decorate their big new houses and needed big work to do it. And they didn’t want to pay too much either. I suppose that “abstract” art is now the “safe” choice. Who could be offended by some nice color on the wall? Poor Pollack suffered so much to be decoration.

I heard back from them a week later asking just how low I would go on one piece that they thought might interest a specific client. I reluctantly lowered the price by 25%. I have not heard from them since.


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