The Terrill Welch Gallery has fortunately, so far, been one of art businesses that has kept going and doing well. In fact, quite well. With 36 new paintings released and 27 paintings of my work finding homes, along with a couple from the new artists we represent, we have been able to recover the costs of doubling our physical gallery space and securing high quality online gallery space while still managing the usual operating expenses. Let’s just say that this is quite a few 🔴’s! We have launched new shows to be viewed by appointment and kept painting by distancing plein air events and now by zoom to support our studio time. It definitely hasn’t been business as usual and the in-person gallery visitors are less that 25% of the year before and supplies have been a wee bit harder to come by. Getting professional, custom made, canvases has taken months and sometimes even paint pigments are on back order. But overall, things have gone unexpectedly well, considering the circumstances a pandemic creates.
Now for the big questions about what to do next and can the Terrill Welch Gallery count on this trend of art collecting to hold in the near future? I have little idea what the answer is to either of these questions even after doing a fair bit of research. Can we go by past history of recessions? Should we be looking at just our experience specifically? Is the scramble for more online exchanges going to disrupt the relationships with our current collector base? As an art collector myself, what should I be looking for and expecting during these times? Can we expect differences in the primary art market (first time an artwork is purchased) compared to the secondary art market (purchased at auction or privately from an art collection)?
So many questions! Here are some interesting quotes at a time when nothing is really conclusive and quite frankly, we just don’t know.
“… I think there’s all this talk about digital everything, digital marketing, digital catalogs, digital viewing rooms, you know online auctions. And I think that actually we’re probably not spending enough time thinking about the recasting of live experiences. At the end of the day, all of us would agree who love art and follow it, that being part of this community, being able to experience things, experience art you know, physically, is very important and is not fully replicable, at least so far, in an online environment. So we’re also spending a lot time thinking about what the future of live experiences, you know, looks like.” - Conversation with Sotheby’s CEO Charles Stewart, May 2020 https://www.privatebank.bankofamerica.com/articles/conversation-with-sothebys-ceo.html
“Primary market contemporary artists—particularly young figurative pre-crisis market darlings—will lag more established artists. Middle market galleries and museum acquisition programs will likely take years to recover, and some will close. Well-capitalized mega-galleries should emerge stronger and the art fair calendar will likely shrink. We expect virtual sales rooms, online auctions and digital channels to boom, but ultimately the art market could return to its social, tactile roots in Phase III (vaccine willing).” - Art Market Update, June 2020 https://www.privatebank.bankofamerica.com/articles/art-services-market-update.html
“Since the pandemic began, many of the world’s top collectors continued to purchase artworks—adapting quickly to online initiatives from auction houses and galleries alike—often in an effort to help artists in need of attention as well as the struggling ecosystem around them. As Arthur Lewis and Hau Nguyen
, newcomers to this year’s ARTnews
Top 200 Collectors list, said, ‘There has always been a focus on emerging and underrepresented artists in our collection. It simply became more urgent to support artists and smaller galleries more directly.’” - Collecting in challenging times, October 6, 2020 https://www.artnews.com/art-news/market/top-200-collectors-list-introduction-2020-1234572437/
“One explanation for the resilience of the art market is its unique ability to self-regulate supply and demand. When there is relatively high liquidity in the market and the economy is healthy, art changes hands more frequently. In more uncertain times, the owners of expensive artworks, who are among the the wealthiest in the world, tend to hold on to their Warhols and Monets until markets become favorable once again. As a result of the reduction in supply, prices tend to remain relatively stable for works by established artists, while contemporary works with shorter histories experience more price volatility.” - Art in a financial crisis, November 18, 2018 https://resources.masterworks.io/2018/11/15/what-happens-to-art-in-a-financial-crisis/
As you may surmise, the gallery is going against the usual curve of things in the art market in general. There may well be many primary artworks at lower than past prices in the near future as galleries close and more works become available from sales that didn’t happen earlier in 2020. But these will NOT likely be “Terrill Welch original paintings,” unless you all decide to sell your collections immediately, at a loss. Currently, there are far more Terrill Welch original paintings “sold” than there are “available”. I can only create around 40 new pieces in various sizes each year… and about two-thirds the number of works created were sold from the inventory so far in 2020.
From past years, you know what this means, right? So, with a deep breath and slow exhale, I am telling you that all available works are about to increase in price. And if I am making a wrong-headed move, we will likely know within a year and, if necessary, I will most humbly admit and correct my error. Because, from what I can tell, no one really knows what is going to happen and everything is shifting and jiving in interesting ways. I have done my homework. I have reviewed the recent specific past of the gallery and the longer history of the art market as a whole and I will necessarily take my chances. The only thing I can promise you is that I will try to keep the increase as modest as possible. You will still be able to purchase at current prices (and with your usual collector savings if you have one or more artworks from the gallery already in your collection) until around the middle of November. By that time, I should have the price increase in place. You are most welcome to share this brief window of an opportunity to purchase at current prices with family and friends. But keep in mind, there are only about 125 paintings currently available. If you are going to purchase one yourself, you might want to choose yours first. 😉
Here is the directly link to my full body of currently available paintings. Remember to click on “available” at the top to save you the frustration of going through “sold” paintings (which is four of the latest six released).