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What type of paintings sell best in New Zealand

What type of paintings sell best in New Zealand

Trying to find that perfect topic, size or colour fro hey your art to sell is like hunting for a needle in a haystack but this may help a little

Most artists know that some size artworks sell better than others while subject matter can determine popularity depending on where it is located. Whether these are subjects you want to paint and whether you should be painting specifically for the market are something an artist has to deal with at some stage in their career.

Only you can decide whether you want (or need) to paint to sell, or whether you can focus on painting subjects that you choose. Of course, if you’re lucky enough for your favourite subject to be the same as what’s popular on the market, and then you've in a win win situation.

From my experience of the art market for your average painter in New Zealand these are the top sellers for most markets but do keep in mind that different cities and even different galleries can sell more of one thing than the other so if you are looking for somewhere to sell your work make sure you check this sort of thing out.

Trying to get your work into a gallery that specialises in rustic prints or landscapes isn’t going to be the right place for your abstract or surrealist work so save yourself the grief of rejection and apply accordingly.

Types of Artworks that Sell Best

1.Traditional Landscapes especially local scenes

2. Modern Landscapes

3. Seascapes and Beach Scenes especially local scenes

4. Abstract artworks.

5. Flowers

6. Birds

7. Cats

8. Figure Studies especially nudes

In regards to the type of media as in prints or originals it seems prints are out selling originals in our market, I suspect that may be because they are generally cheaper; price often is a major consideration for many people.

It’s worth noting however that it’s actually limited-edition prints (where a set number of prints are made and each one is numbered i.e. 1/50 where the second number denotes the amount available and is written at the right hand side with the artists signature on each one.), not open-edition prints (where an unlimited amount can be produced) that are top the list.

What Sells Best In New Zealand?

1. Limited edition offset-litho prints.
 2. Limited edition giclée prints.
 3. Open edition offset-litho prints.
 4. Oil or acrylic paintings.  (Some people still think oils are better quality than acrylics but that’s not the case anymore, we just need to educate the public more!)
 5. Water-colour paintings.
 6. Artists' original prints (eg etchings, engravings).
 7. Open edition giclee prints

So what sells best for the size of artworks? Again it can depend on location and the style of work as often the subject matter can be really affected by the size of the artwork. Larger and more affluent cities seem to attract sales of larger artworks better. I’m talking generally in this case and in regards to original art not prints as that’s a whole new ball game.


  1. Smaller artworks as in under 500mm
  2. Larger artworks as in over 1000mm
  3. Medium artworks which are obviously in-between!

 So what should you paint, well that’s entirely up to you? I myself paint both smaller and larger works and seem to sell well in both so I’m sticking with that for now!

The painting on this post is titled 'Blend' and is an astract piece about the blending of cultures in New Zealand

Posted: Tuesday 19 January 2010


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