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primary market

The market in which original works are sold for the first time. Like the broader financial market, the art market operates on a two-tier system. It is at this first level that artists sell directly to collectors and dealers, as well as through dealers and brokers on an agency basis. Making initial sales through auction houses is extremely rare, but would typically involve very well-known artists or small auction houses; sale outlets tend more to include venues such as artists' studios, art fairs, and galleries. The primary market comprises the work of new, unknown artists, as well as new works from those who are more established. While prices tend to be lower than on the secondary market, buyers can face substantial risk given the proportion of unknown artists and the greater difficulty in evaluating the quality of their work. Furthermore, purchasing in this market often entails imperfect information and high transaction costs in time, effort, and commissions.

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