Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The artist can protect themselves with a contract
with the gallery which includes them providing liability insurance
for theft or damage to the art. The contract should also provide that the artist may have a lien on the gallery and the profits and accounts of the gallery in the event they fail to pay the artists for their art. If the gallery will not agree to cover your works under theft insurance or at least put up a bond for the works, then you need to consider not using that gallery.
The written contract is really the only way that you can protect yourself and if they claim they cannot get insurance, then demand a bond to cover the value or demand they place the value of the art in an escrow account and the contract should provide you would be entitled to your profits from the account in the event they do not return your art or do not pay you for the art.
You need to sit with a local attorney to draft your actual consignment contract with these galleries and once they draft one for you then you can use it over again.
Without a contract, you are forced to go to court and sue these galleries every time they do not pay you as they are liable for the works once you put them in their care.
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