This time we asked Sándor Pál Tóth, co-founder of GalleryTool, how this valuable initiative started and developed. We talked about how the urge to do better work can lead you to bringing about an incredibly useful tool, and how this, later on, enables many gallerists, artists and collectors across Europe to do their daily work more effectively.
Where did it all start?
“I worked as a gallery manager for 10 years at Deák Erika Gallery, Budapest. During that time, I noticed that certain tasks, mostly carried out in Word or Excel, could be done differently and more efficiently. I reached back to my programming knowledge and started developing the forefather of GalleryTool. It was a meticulous process of fine tuning to all the upcoming and specific needs that I encountered during my daily work as a gallery manager. In that software I included absolutely everything practical that could be handy. I think this is the reason why it turned out to be a very efficient, easy-to-follow and easy-to-use program. I didn’t hire a programmer to do it for me, but I’ve created it myself, tailoring it specifically to needs of the gallerist.”
What were the very first features you included in the program?
“The very first thing that came to mind was the formulation of artwork lists, which I used to do in a Word document back then. In the process of compiling a list, I realised a tiny little detail might have been left out, or the arrangement had to be changed, needing correction. I saw how complicated it all was to do this. Actually, I just ended up making a mess. It was a complete nightmare. It took another couple of hours work to make things right again. So I had to find a better solution. Another issue came to light with inventory lists when dealing with private, national and company collections including thousands of art pieces. All these works needed to be registered, researched and tracked. I had to include a competent function to handle them adequately and efficiently. Doing so, now enables us to offer our tool to collectors too.”
How did GalleryTool finally become accessible online?
“There was a lot of interest in the first offline version. Quite a lot of galleries bought the software. So it made me think that it had to be taken to the next level and introduced European-wide. With the help of a wonderful team, I developed it further, and now it has turned into a cloud based, but closed, operating system – so as to deal with sensitive data in the best possible way. It’s been available online since 2017. It’s actually very similar to an emailing program like Gmail. With a user account and password, only you have access to its content. You can send a ‘view only’ invitation to your clients, so they cannot alter or modify anything in your settings or data. Later on, we are planning to create an offline GalleryTool version too with all its enhanced features.”
Who are your main target groups?
“With GalleryTool we try to appeal to contemporary and classical art galleries, antique dealers, artists, and private and institutional collectors. With the help of our tool they can manage their collections and/or artworks best. At the moment, we are present on the Hungarian, Swiss, Austrian and German markets. Our ultimate aim is to change the data-handling paradigm in the gallery world.”
In what areas can GalleryTool help gallerists the most?
“Our top notch features are: creating lists and specific price offers, with easily manageable personalised templates, which can then be quickly turned into emails with specific timing, ready to be sent out to the clients. It helps the gallerist in his/her daily work, for instance when organising an exhibition or going to an art fair. One can easily access and prepare artwork lists and prices, track them, administer when they enter or leave the gallery, or send out immediate offers. All these options would definitely make gallery managers’ work so much smoother.”
How does your program assist artists?
“GalleryTool can work for mature artists who wish to archive and catalogue their lifelong achievements. We also recommend its use to emerging artists so to keep track of their art pieces and ongoing exhibitions, and to young artists so as to start cataloguing their works now.”
How easy it is to use?
“Oh, it’s very user-friendly. My original intention was to create something that is very handy. There is absolutely no need for extra programming knowledge to be able to operate it. If you can handle an emailing system, then you will have absolutely no problem with our tool. I would like to highlight here that GalleryTool is not a publication software, but an inventory-based program. Of course, we regularly give our clients some extra tips to best benefit from the application. But all in all it’s super smooth to use.”
How is GalleryTool different from other available tools?
“When a program is created by someone who is rather distant and doesn’t have clear insight into the gallery world, then it often ends up being pretty complicated to use. We developed our software by fitting it completely to the needs of the gallerist. I was a gallery manager once and know for sure how things are done and fully understand daily gallery operations, therefore I could find the best solutions to make things work so much better. Our tool has evolved out of the practical demands of a gallerist.”
Where do you see GalleryTool in 5 years?
“Soon we will launch GalleryTool 2, an extended version, including more valuable means to operate daily tasks. Our long term plan is to turn GalleryTool into a complete platform where all our clients’ needs can be entirely met and solved effortlessly.”
Author: Marta Balla
About Marta Balla
1980, lives and works in Budapest, Hungary
Marta Balla graduated from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Spain. She holds an MA specialized in painting and art theory. She has exhibited in solo and collective shows in Croatia, Hungary, Mexico, Spain and the US. She is also involved in curating and social art projects and has been invited to international conferences to talk about her art and process. She is currently enrolled in a postgraduate course in Art Therapy focusing on the use of fine arts, music and storytelling in the therapeutic process. Marta has been practicing aikido, a non-violent Japanese martial art for 13 years. She has been engaged in contact improvisation dance for 2 years which lead her to more exploration in performance art.