Ask A Gallery Owner | To sign or not to sign . . . that is the question – RedDotBlog

Artist signature

In the following email exchange, I answer an artist’s question about visible signatures on art – what’s your opinion? Post in the comments.


I’m so glad you were a presenter again in this year’s Telesummit. You provided a great deal of value. I’m sure many who participated are very grateful.

I do have a question. In your experience of selling art, have you noticed any impact on whether or not 2-D artists sign their work in a way the signature is visible? My paintings and mixed media work are abstract. I’ve thought a signature detracts from the work. I do sign, title and give the dimensions of my work (not the date) on the back. Should I re-think my signature practice?

– Tom

My Response:


Thanks for the email. I wish I could give you statistics on your question (“You are 29.75% more likely to sell your art if you include your signature on the front of a piece”) but statistics like that are hard to come by in this business. What I can tell you is that over the years I have had artists who don’t sign their work on the front and I perceived some hesitation among collectors about the work because of it. I can’t say for sure that it prevented any sales, but my attitude is “why risk it?” Art buyers are accustomed to signatures visible on the front of work, and typically in the lower right corner. My tendency would be to give them what they are used to.

You can minimize the aesthetic impact of the signature though by keeping it small and discrete, and by using low-contrast color.


Featured image by Xanadu artist Charlie Barr

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