Making an Exhibition of Yourself

A problem I have found in moving to this part of France is the difficulty in finding galleries in which to exhibit my paintings. This is marked contrast to the UK. We live just north of the city of Pau and have searched here and the surrounding area for galleries and have found very few that are not owned by the artist and are therefore not interested in selling my work alongside their own. I have searched in the more touristy areas as well including St Jean d'Luze, Biarritz and Hossegor on the coast.

Consequently I and my wife have organised my exhibitions in restaurants, mairies, vide greniers and at local fetes. This involves a lot of extra work but does reach cuctomers that might not go into an art gallery. For my classic car illustrations my wife and I set up in the Hotel de Ville during the Pau Classic Grand Prix weekend at the end of May.

What have other artists experienced and any tips that you can pass on with regard to selling and marketing?

Hi Paul, we live in a rural community of mainly farmers who have the money but just don't spend it! (they keep the Merc in the cow shed). I have seen some truly horrendous paintings mainly abstracts both in public places and people's homes. I had a range of prints in the shop at Pau airport mainly aimed at the tourist market for some time which went quite well, but then new owners took over and they decided that they didn't want them any more as the mark-up was too small. I have sold prints on line and will be redesigning my site with an online shop when I have the time. Toulouse is too far from me but will try the Saatchi site.

Hi Neil, I must be one of those artists who own their own gallery. This worked for me very well in Spain, where in addition to my own gallery (a former hay drying loft) every branch of Caixa de Catalunya and the other banks offered fully equipped and well lit exhibition rooms by the fortnight for the cost of one painting - leaving it up to the artist to choose which one !! There were eager buyers as well, because the cash economy was so widespread and restaurants were so cheap that wads of cash burnt holes in many pockets. In a moment of madness or boredom I moved to France, and found that apart from Paris there is very little. Unlike Spanish who are mostly home owners with no credits to pay off, the French in the provinces are always having to move from one pokey flat to another, so wall hangers have to be ephemeral and /or portable. As for the art they like their tastes are mostly conditioned by Bandes Dessinées, which, while an improvement from the holy pictures of yesteryear, means that there is no serious art market big enough to support commercial galleries. I can suggest Toulouse, where the Palladion Gallery in rue de la Colombette is fairly open minded, and if you want to hire a room for a month and do everything yourself there is one in Rue Bouquieres whose name I can't remember. Other than that you can always exhibit on line. I find saatchi online a nice site to use which will offer your work as prints without you having to take care of anything. Best of luck from Clairac 47

ATTENTION all artists. Ross McEwan is forging ahead with plans for an exhibition in his gallery in St. Laurent (Aude, Languedoc), for 14th April next. Anyone interested in exhibiting - please contact me at and I will forward onto Ross (he is currently having problem with emails at the moment).

Dear Exhibitionists,

This is very much a long shot, but I will keep you posted if you are in the Languedoc Region. A French friend normally resident in Germany, is current living in Pezenas, in his Brother's Massive Place. He has created an Atelier in one of the 'out buildings' of which there are many. He has in mind to carry on this arrangement, and 'sublet' the many spaces to other Artists. It would be fantastic if he could pull this off, as there is parking, drive in access, etc. And if he and his partner lived there they could curate, so the lesees, would not have to be there 24/7

I say that this is a long shot as there are external complications, that may stymie the project. All that said, I think that sort of idea, is a good way of exhibiting, ie on a co-operative basis, the pooling of resources, if one can and getting some sort of Municipal support, splitting marketing costs etc. It was an idea I had myself, until Brown changed the Self Administered Pension regs Grrr

doesnt surprise me!

What was it

Hi, email bounced back.

404 message on the link Elizabeth!

Neil, just posted something about, lots of personal problems but on the mend and gallery nearly finished so yes lets go for it.

Hi all again, i'm finally up and running with internet access and so the idea of the show here at gallery ecossedoc is still on.

I need to get a real idea of who wants to come and exhibit so can anyone that has not yet been in touch please do so asap to

Neil and those already in the loop i have not really thought about a name for this show so am open to suggestions it will also include some work from artists from scotland not associated to SFN.

My telephone number as of tomorrow will be 0468702783, 0644366870

Look forward to responses.

Hi Ross

Haven't heard from you for some time re expo on 14th April. Is it still on? If it is I will feature it on the Art Department and on Events or do you want to do it? We need a call for entries to go out ASAP.


Have tried local restaurants where a few have sold but not hotels as there are not many around here. One route is the wine producers but to put on an exhibition requires a vernisage which costs money. Organisers of vide greniers and brocantes are increasingly offering artisan expos alongside so have booked into a few this year.

Might this be of any interest

Just time for a quickie, but have you tried restos and hotels in the area... many will display your paintings, and even let you sell through them, for a small commission. If you don't sell, well.... at least they get paintings on their walls for a period of time..

Hi Ross

Haven't heard from you for some time re expo on 14th April. Is it still on? If it is I will feature it on the Art Department and on Events or do you want to do it? We need a call for entries to go out ASAP.


Hi Ross, Just back from holiday so will get some images, prices etc to you later this week.

Hi Ross

Will list this as an event and mail all members and ask James to get the info out as well. Any suggestions on a title for the exhibition? Will get onto Angloinfo - are there any other sites in your area? I can produce a poster in various sizes for the event if required.

Neil and all others,

The builders moved into the space yesterday to prepare it for the 14th April opening, i think it will be ready quite some time before that!! Ever hopeful

I need to now find who is going to be interested in taking up the offer of the space for 3 weeks from the 14th April.

What suggestions are there out there from others about this.

If anyone is really interested can they please begin to send me images of work they would like to show, i need sizes of the pieces and what sort of price they might be at. i would also be interested in small sculpture/ceramics and possibly even some large scuplture for the garden i have or even to convince the village to do a summer sculpture show!

So lets get this show up and running as the sun is coming.


PS to Sheila and Henry thank you for putting me up.

If we can find somewhere to stay we could come over for a few days to help. How long would the exhibition last? If there were artists who couldn't get to you but they could get to us, we could act as a staging post.


Thanks for all of that.

The plan is to have the show starting on the 14th April.

Depending on numbers showing response!

I don't know how many items i will have as it will all depend on size etc.

My plan is to get there in 10 days time and redecorate as it has been closed up for the winter.

When i am done i will post images of the empty space for all to see.

Maybe you could choose say 2 items that you would like to show and let me see them.

You are a long way from where i am down in the Aude how will you get work to me!!!!