How to sell a Painting or other Work of Art

The most important aspect in the sale of artwork
is the evaluation of the art
and therefore the allocated price.


The most important aspect in the sale of artwork is the evaluation of the art and therefore the allocated price. In case you are looking to sell your own piece of artwork this will not be an issue for you: the most practical solution for achieving your objective is put up the piece of art for sale at a price that is deemed reasonable, and set up a small temporary gallery. Alternatively, it is possible to have the work assessed for sale online on art websites and forums that, moreover, can ensure a certain visibility even to those who are beginners in the art market.

It is different if you have a painting by the artist – or other work of art – that, in addition to having a sentimental value, also has a commercial value.
Who can you contact to evaluate paintings, bronzes, marbles, wooden sculptures, furniture, antique furniture, silverware, prints, ceramics, porcelain, glass and tapestries? Who can handle the sale of these precious pieces? These are the questions that people ask when, for example, they inherit works of art. If you are not as versed on the topic it is absolutely not recommended that you do it alone: it is better to make use of an expert art appraiser who can carry out a proper assessment of the painting or the work in question. Once in possession of the certified evaluation you can proceed to the next step, the sale of the item.


The art collectors’ market is massive, however the sale of these types of works is anything but easy. This is substantially due to the fact that collectors are not always informed about who is selling things.
Whether it is a painting, a piece of antique furniture or a tapestry, rather than marble or a print, the main actors in the sale of these products are most certainly art galleries and auction houses. These structures are very powerful within the secondary market: they deal exclusively with the resale of artistic values already established. The purchase is made through a merchant, through an auction house or directly by private individuals. Normally these are works by artists who have died or who have already achieved notoriety.
Currently managing a monopoly on the international sale of art are the two British auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, which operate on the London-New York market. They assist their clients during the entire sales process: once they have established that the property is appropriate for sale at auction, their experts will take care of every detail, from accurate estimates, to taking pictures and cataloguing the property, to publishing it in catalogues and proposing it to potential buyers around the world.
Auction houses follow the market trends and have at their disposal a constantly updated database: their customers know how to provide an accurate opinion on the present value of an object.
Alternatively, much less personalized and less organized auction houses are offered by a network of different websites. Among these we only mention EBay, but the truth is that there are many websites being created currently, some of which are specialized. Although it isn’t possible to generalize completely, many of these platforms are not necessarily professional; it is good to assess them on a case-by-case basis.These sites generally do not offer any consulting and utilize the same mechanism as the action houses, with one major difference; they utilize unique-bid auctions.
The middle ground between the big auction houses and websites is to contact an art appraiser and/or an agency specializing in the sale and purchase of artwork. WAC covers this and the collector offers valuable services including; consultation, evaluation, brokerage, and complete support. This is essential, especially when it is necessary to consider the tax implications of any potential transaction.


It is good to know that, for the purposes of taxes on income, the sale of artwork or antiques from part of a private collection is not, at first, subject to taxation. In order to be excluded from taxation, however, the sale must first keep up with the requirements of occasional sale; in fact, in the case that your sales become more habitual, income from the artwork would therefore qualify as entrepreneurial income and would be subject to taxation.
Just as an example, we would like to point out that, in the case of a private sale of a piece of art, antique, or part of a collection that was inherited or donated, one can avoid claiming the sale as entrepreneurial income. This exclusion is independent from the amount of receipts and is valid both in the case where the sale is made to one buyer with a single act, or carried out at different times and to multiple buyers, this is only possible seeing that the buying and reselling of the inherited or donated works is not being carried out regularly. This exclusion obviously does not apply if it comes to light that the seller has an entrepreneurial organization.

If you have any works of art to sell or simply evaluate contact our art experts today.