What is an Agreement to Sell Works of Art?
An Agreement to Sell Works of Art, also known as the Artist’s Contract or the Projansky Agreement, is a contract used by Artists to authorize a person or entity (called the “Buyer”) to sell their work. It details the period of time that the Artist will allow the Buyer to offer their works for sale and any other obligations expected of the Artist and the Buyer for as long as the contract remains valid.
Agreements such as these are especially important for artists as it helps them identify issues such as art theft and plagiarism of their work while also allowing them to focus less on matters relating to the sale of their work. By designating one person or group of persons as the only ones authorized to sell and display their work, it becomes clear that any person selling, displaying, or otherwise profiting off of the Artist’s work is doing so without the Artist’s permission, and therefore may have legal action pursued against them by the Artist or the Buyer.
It is not required for all Artists to create and sign an Artist’s Contract. In fact, some artists may even prefer to simply advertise and sell their work on their own. This has become more common with the increasing popularity and awareness of Digital Art. However, an Artist’s Contract still provides some extra security for the Artist and alleviates the pressure of selling their work to allow them to focus more on creating their art. Platforms such as Patreon and Kickstarter are popular ways to both allow Artists to sell/promote their work on their own, and make it easier for them to find an audience or customer base that is interested in their work.
The benefit of the Artist’s Contract for the Buyer, on the other hand, is that they are then allowed to take a portion of the profit earned from the sale of the Artist’s work. The terms of the agreement may also allow for a structure similar to that of a copyright license agreement, giving the Buyer the exclusive right to exhibit, reproduce, and publish (and others, depending on the scope of the agreement and the nature of the artwork) the Artist’s work.
As with most agreements between two parties, while it is not necessarily required in this case, Artist’s Contracts may benefit from being brought before a Notary in order to ensure that no fraud is being committed by either party.
Who needs to use an Agreement to Sell Works of Art?
Any Artist who wishes to designate a Buyer to publish, distribute, reproduce, and sell their art should use an Artist’s Contract to make sure that their work is in such a way that they approve of and by a person or entity that they trust. Both parties may also propose that an Artist’s Contract be drafted in order to ensure that all matters regarding the sale and distribution of the Artist’s work, and the earnings of the Buyer from selling their work, are protected by a legal agreement.
How to fill out an Agreement to Sell Works of Art?
The Artist’s Contract is a very simple form to fill out and sign. However, it is important to remember that these types of forms will usually only be properly signed after both parties are satisfied with the terms as outlined in the agreement. As such, make sure to read each part of the agreement carefully in order to ensure that everyone involved has a full and clear understanding of the terms within.
Name of Buyer
Enter the full legal name of the Buyer, or the representative of the entity that wishes to sell the Artist’s work.
Name of Artist
Enter the full legal name of the Artist.
Item 1 - Agreement Period
Enter the length of the agreement in years in the space provided. For the number of years written here, the Buyer will be authorized to sell (and authorize others to sell) all items of artwork created and owned by the Artist. Each item will be delivered to a location designated by the Buyer.
Item 2 - Buyer’s Rights
Enter the number of years that the Buyer is authorized to sell the Artist’s work. The buyer will have the exclusive right to arrange and authorize others to arrange for the publication and sale of books and catalogs that contain illustrated reproductions of the Artist’s work.
Item 3 - Buyer’s Obligations
Enter the number of years that the Buyer is authorized to sell the Artist’s work and the cities that the Artist wishes their work to be exhibited in. Throughout this period, the Buyer will arrange for exhibitions of the Artist’s work in the given cities as well as any others that they and the Artist agree upon.
Item 4 - Artwork Price
The Artist will (or will soon) provide the Buyer with photographs of each artwork that was made by the Artist on the date of this agreement. The Buyer must sell the works for no less than the amount written by the artist on the back of the photograph. Both parties may jointly determine the minimum sales price to be charged for each artwork and adjust it as necessary.
Item 5 - Earnings
Enter the percentage of the amount that the Artist’s work is sold that the Buyer will earn as their commission for effecting said sale. Then enter the remaining percent (less any other amounts due to the Buyer) that will be paid to the Artist on a quarterly basis.
Item 6 - State and Laws
Enter the state whose laws this agreement will fall under and be executed or enforced by.
Enter the date that this agreement was drafted and signed.
Buyer’s Name and Signature
Have the Buyer enter their name and signature in the space provided.
Artist’s Name and Signature
Have the Artist enter their name and signature in the space provided.
Tips when filling out an Agreement to Sell Works of Art
While filling out an Agreement to Sell Works of Art is very simple, its nature as a legal agreement means that it is vital to review all parts of the agreement, not just the ones with spaces that require information to be entered.
Review the terms of the agreement. Make sure that you have read and understood all parts of the agreement before signing it.
Consider getting legal advice. While it is not required to have a lawyer or attorney read the agreement in order to properly sign one, the importance of reading and understanding each part of the agreement and ensuring that each part of it is acceptable means that having a legal expert to consult regarding the terms in the agreement is a great benefit.
Notarization. As with legal advice, having the agreement notarized is not required as part of filling out and signing an Artist’s Contract Agreement, but you may wish to pursue it anyway to prevent fraud on either side, and to assure both parties that the other is aware of the terms and is signing the agreement of their own will.
Practice good contract management. Keep a copy of the agreement in a safe and organized space. This will be useful in case you wish to review or renegotiate the terms at some point in the future. Some legal procedures may also require that either or both the Artist and the Buyer produce their copy of the Artist’s Contract.