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Step 1: Choosing the Artist

Step 2: Provide your artist with information

Step 3: Quote given to client

Step 4: First payment due & sculpting begins

Step 5: Review the sculpture & second payment due

Step 6: Sculpture sent to the foundry

Step 7: Client receives sculpture & final payment

Step 8: Installation


How To Commission A Sculpture

From concept to completion, the client and artist work together to bring an idea to reality. Whether you are commissioning a large or small, public or private sculpture, the process remains the same. These are the steps you will follow as you commission a sculpture. Payment structure may vary between artists, so be sure to inquire.

1. Choosing the artist

Finding the right artist to create your sculpture is the key to owning a piece you, your family, or your organization, will enjoy and value for a lifetime. It is best to find an artist whose style reflects what you are looking for and who has experience producing sculptures of the size and material you desire.

Susan Wagner specializes in figurative sculptures, from a few inches tall to larger than life, cast in resin, bronze, aluminum, and other materials.

2. Provide your artist with information

Before you approach an artist you may want to answer these questions yourself so you are able to clearly convey your expectations.

  • What size would you like your sculpture to be? You may provide the size in measurements, such as 3 feet tall or 5 feet long, or in relation to the object such as life sized or half-life sized.
  • What medium would you like the final piece cast in? Some commonly used casting materials are resin, bronze, aluminum, and silver.
  • What is your budget? Be honest with yourself and the artist. If your budget is tight let the artist know. He or she may be able to work with you to let you know how to decrease your costs.
  • What is your deadline?

If possible, make available photographs of the subject to help the artist determine the level of detail needed. This will also enable the artist to give a better estimate.

3. Quote given to client

The artist will give you a quote for the final sculpture. The quote is an in-depth explanation of what the client should expect and will receive as an end product. The quote also includes the estimated cost which is determined by a sculpture’s unique configuration, size and proportion and, therefore, varies for each piece.

You may take some time to consider the quote. The timeline, however, is based on the foundry’s schedule so consult the artist on exactly how long you have to decide without affecting the timeline and pricing.

Note for large sculptures (i.e. life-sized, large than life): A finished maquette of the approved sculpture is required to calculate the cost of the bronze. The foundry must be consulted and requires accurate measurements in all dimensions; height, width, depth, direction/ movement of the piece as well as other factors to be able to calculate the total cost.

4. First payment due & sculpting begins

After accepting the quote, a down payment will be paid and work will begin on the sculpture.

If the sculpture is of a person able to model for the artist or an object that may not be left with the artist, a sitting will be scheduled. During a sitting, measurements and photos will be taken.

If the sculpture is of a person or object the artist cannot view in-person, please provide photos from the front, side, three-quarter, and back views if possible.

The artist may also hire a model to pose in the position of the sculpture so he or she can take photographs and measurements to assure accuracy. For large sculptures, a 2-foot maquette will be sculpted before the actual size sculpture is created.

5. Review the sculpture & second payment due

The client will review the clay sculpture and if the model is available, a second sitting will be scheduled to help the artist put the final touches on the piece. Once the client has approved the clay sculpture, the second payment, equaling one-third of the total cost, is due to the artist.

6. Sculpture sent to the foundry

The sculpture is now ready to go to the foundry where it will be cast.

7. Client receives sculpture & final payment

Once the sculpture is complete, the final payment equal to the remaining amount of the quote is due to the artist and the finished artwork is given to the client.

8: Installation

If the sculpture needs to be installed, necessary artisans, craftsmen, and professional installers will be employed and the artist will oversee the installation process. The cost of the installation is calculated separately and added to the initial quote.

Now you understand the sculpture commissioning process. Please keep in mind that the process may vary slightly because each piece is unique. Also, it takes several months to complete a sculpture, so please allow at least six to nine months for life size statues and a year or more for larger than life pieces.  

Let's Get Started!

If you are ready to commission your own sculpture, please contact Susan Wagner by email at classicsculpture2000@yahoo.com.