Colorida Gallery

In Lisbon Portugal, a city I’ve frequented and love very much, there is near its castle Colorida Gallery. They approached me via Linkedin and after some correspondence I agreed to be included in a summer exhibition that went from two weeks to two months. A map of the gallery indicated the wall where my 8 paintings would hang in my bonding contract, and yes they asked for money to cover the expenses of an online booklet included on their website. When I arrived, on the Thursday before their Saturday reception reassembling my paintings, I noticed in the hours spent there that no one paid the gallery a visit, which I dismissed knowing the difference would be made during the reception. My wall was given to another which I didn’t protest (my regret). A mutual friend of the late Francis Bacon flew in from Paris as did another from England. What I was to discover is that the gallery is situated way behind the castle where no traffic, tourist or otherwise, would manifest, the reception was discouragingly feeble, the gallery sold nothing, no collectors, and my conclusion is that they just live off of international artist monetary contributions, Americans included, and I’ve yet to have galleries charging artists sell substantially having no collectors. There’s much more but not worth stretching into this comment, although I’ve noticed Colorida in previous forums where many struggling artists have been approached and question their legitimacy. Sometimes we artists must take chances and make sacrifices, but my heart bleeds when we consider adding up all that it may end up costing and yet a gallery is incapable of selling and just continue targeting vulnerable artists to keep their expenses paid.

22 comments
  • Skitch

    At first I was intrigued by the idea of showing in Lisbon, but no mention was made of the fee of $390 in the substantial email correspondence I had with Colorida after they reached out to me; It first came to my attention in the contract they sent me. This felt deceptive and then I researched more about the space online and found several disappointing stories . Clearly this is a vanity gallery that lives on volume of as many artists fees they can get and not sales. That might be ok if you’re looking to just get any exposure at all, but it sounds like there’s also a lack of foot traffic or collectors interest there. Have there been any reviews of work there in the Lisbon Press? I was contacted similarly by a gallery in Barcelona, but they came right out and mentioned their fee which also was $390 ( 350 Euros).

  • Noam

    I saw this thread and just had to comment.
    Colorida approached us by email and we agreed to exhibit 8 works (and to pay a “promotion” fee which included an invite, publication and a press release).
    Everything looked ok at the beginning.
    We paid the fees via PayPal and sent the works over to them.

    Our works were stopped by customs and we were asked to pay approx. 400 Euros.
    when we tried to understand better the nature of the tax, we learned that we had to pay the tax since the works are for sale, and the tax will be returned for each work that will not sell.

    Since Colorida was the seller, we asked them to pay the tax and reduce it from our commission for sold works.
    this debate took about a 3 weeks, In which we came to just a few days before the exhibition begins.

    I have to mention that Colorida staff did not even come close to be professional, it took them days to respond to each email, and did not answer phone calls.

    Since we got the feeling that there was no one to talk too, we asked them to cancel our participation and refund the amount paid since nothing has been done by them to that point (and the agreement did allow for a refund).

    What Colorida did next was just shameful.
    About 5 days after our cancellation request just after the planned opening was held, they sent a response saying that they cannot refund because they already issued the press release, created an invite with our works and had a photographer come to the event and picture it.

    I’ll explain why we got so pissed off by that:
    1. They knew our works will not be there – so why would you bring a photographer?
    2. They sent us the press release, and the digital invite they made, and what dropped our jaws was that these PDF files were created just 12 hours before they were sent to us, and 4 days after we requested to cancel.
    when we tried to confront that with them they disappeared. did not respond to emails, and did not answer phone calls.

    We then opened a dispute with PayPal presenting all of our complaints, and proofs of what they’ve done, and PayPal has approved our dispute and refunded our money.
    We then had to contact Lisbon customs and got our works back directly from them.

    My advice – stay away. far far away.

    • Anne

      The collaboration with Colorida Gallery has been really excelent for my practice. The great thing about Colorida is their collaborative approach. They seem really engaged in supporting emerging artists, and have actively helped promote my exhibition, publish writing, and pointed things out that I should be involved with. Although they have helped me reach new markets and expose my practice to a wider audience. I particularly value the opportunity to reach a huge audience in collaboration with a team of professionals who truly understand the creative process of individual artists and more importantly, the need to promote art from every possible angle in an ever changing world.

    • Ribeiro

      In my opinion, people used to get excited to go to a gallery, meet an artist in person and experience a work of art. Now, with almost every image an artist makes available on the internet, more people can view the work online and decide if they like it enough to leave their house to visit the gallery, or attend the opening reception, or just stay in to watch another night of reality television. I guess there is also the flip side: maybe the artist sees marketing the work to a critical mass over the web beneficial to their career. Or maybe it’s the collector who would like to see the work online first to get a sense of what they might want to acquire. I am a brasilian artist. Last Saturday I visited Colorida Gallery in Lisbon, Portugal. The owners Rosemary and Roberto are very nice. They promoted a conceptual concern with a high visual approach and through its exhibitions they showcase the work of both, established and emerging younger artists from all around the world covering a broad sepctrum including painting, works on paper, sculpture, and photography. I loved the gallery. Ribeiro

    • Anonymous

      The same thing happened to me, and the gallery tried to threaten me with lawyers when I rightfully challenged their sham operation. Also – the people posting as “Dario” and “Anne” are Colorida staff or their friends, as they foolishly let that slip in their emails to me. So, basically, we rightfully complain about their sham operation on this thread, and the gallery reads it, tell their shills to writea rebuttal about how great they are, and then the gallery threatens you with libel for posting your experience. So post your comments here yet to avoid their meaningless threats, do it anonymously. And never, EVER use this sham operation – it is not a gallery. All they do is try to take advantage of artists who are less business-savvy.

  • Marcolino Brito

    I had the privilege of exhibiting my work at Colorida. The gallery space looked so perfect, and I felt so proud that my artworks were exhibited in that place.

    In my opinion, every country has Customs, including Portugal, and the requirements are the same for everyone in all the European community. A package can be stopped for inspection by Customs or not, it is random and cannot be known in advance.

  • Cal

    Just wish I had read this prior to agreeing to show my work at COLORIDA GALERIA and paying them to do so, with the promise they would represent me if I sold a piece. I knew that slight hesitation before I hit the summit key was a sign for me to just say No. I didn’t want to give them 400 euros to show my work anyway, they approached me after all. All this exposure I was supposed to get?
    My work never made it out of customs. Eight pieces, the gallery wouldn’t go and get it, even though I paid my 400 euros. They had me send three different invoices. Still, my work sits in customs. Big bummer, many lessons learned.
    Thanks for the comments, I don’t feel so alone. 🙁

    • Marcolino Brito

      Colorida Gallery staff have been extremely professional. I am impressed with the people who work at the gallery and their efficiency with response to my questions. They have been prompt with all emails and courteous with their responses. I think every artist should find a gallery like Colorida, where the artist can take care of his art and the gallery staff takes care of everything else. Regards, Marcolino Brito

    • Cal

      I did receive my work back from customs unopened? Never was able to show with the gallery, and will never respond to any of their emails!! They know all of this ahead of time and do nothing to inform the artist! Another racket.. sad but true

  • Anonymous

    My 9 art works are now held in customs ij Lisbon and the gallery tells me that I have to pay 360 dollars to get them cleared from customs for my opening Saturday February 17.So my artworks are being held hostage and I have never heard of paying customs to clear my art into a country…very disturbing so i guess I have no choice…any advise?

  • Tom

    Seeing Dario’s comment just reminded me that I should post an update too. My wife’s exhibition at Colorida was handled professionally and courteously. Unfortunately we weren’t able to keep her work there for quite as long as the gallery wanted, but when we asked the to, they were excellent about packing all the paintings back up safely and the courier that we organised collected them with no problems at all.

  • Dario Manuel de Souza

    Everyone at Colorida Gallery was friendly and professional and made me feel at ease for my opening reception as well as the whole process of selecting the work, dropping it off etc. Everything was very smooth and overall a really positive experience. Everyone I spoke with was extremely professional and on the ball. They left no stone unturned and I really felt that me and my work were in good hands when dealing with the Colorida Gallery staff.

    I especially appreciated the social media presence that the PR team had when promoting my work and the show.

    It’s been a very positive experience with Colorida Gallery, and all in all an excellent learning/networking opportunity for me as an artist who is fairly fresh into his artistic career. I appreciate all the help and guidance the staff at Colorida Gallery gave me in the months leading up to my exhibition.

  • Sheila Grabarsky

    Glad to have read all of the above. Not going to respond to them. Hope everyone else does well with this gallery but doesn’t sound worth my effort. I’d like to know how they got my email address as it’s not publicized. I use my website email for contacts.

  • Ken

    HI All – I saw this thread and feel a need to comment. I agreed to show work at Colorida for a July-Aug show. For the most part the gallery does not act like a traditional vanity, as my only expenses have been the shipping of the art and a very small fee for marketing. My issue is that my agreement with them ended over a month ago and they have not responded to two emails asking them about the status of my work – whether any sold, and where is my unsold work.
    I somewhat planned for the possibility that I would have difficulty getting the art back by sending older, smaller pieces work that were not my best at all – yet whereas it’s nice to add to the resume, I would not work with them again. Photos of “opening nights” can be staged easily too –
    Unfortunately this is the modern art biz for those of us who have been around – almost everyone that contacts me for art is a scam. Just had another scammer contact me this weekend. Ken

  • Lisa

    I too had some pieces in a show at the Colorida Gallery. I felt and still feel that being able to say that I had my paintings in a show in Lisbon is a good thing and a nice resume listing. I also got nice pictures of the opening with people attending the show- with my pieces in the photos. So I think it was a good thing.

    Just be sure to follow proper directions for shipping your work internationally. I underpriced my works on the manifest- to avoid high tariffs into Portugal, but put the real prices inside the package for the gallery. Which held my work up in customs. Then when I alerted the gallery to this- and that they should tell us how to best ship our works- they said they were not allowed to? Not sure what this meant. Perhaps they are not allowed to help us cheat the system- well if this is the case- tell us that.

    At any rate, the gallery put my work back in the same box that I shipped it to them in and it caused Fed Ex a lot of confusion. The gallery did not make it clear on the label that it was being returned to me. They didn’t change the package label at all. No Return to Sender- no Arrows etc…My box was pretty much “Lost in Space” until I received a phone call from FedEx representative asking to clarify the delivery address. If not for this hip and together and diligent FedEx woman, my 6 paintings would have been lost forever.

    Well, that was my experience- good and bad. Make your own decision accordingly.

    Best-

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