what to consider before working with an art advisor
If anyone can walk into a gallery and buy a work of art, why work with an art advisor, and what can an art advisor do that you can’t? There are many answers to these questions, and the process of building a collection goes far beyond finding a photograph to put above the couch or a painting to match the décor. While art should look good in your home, there are many factors that savvy collectors take into account and numerous benefits an art advisor can bring to the table.
education and advice
Education and new ideas are two critical services an art advisor can provide. Most collectors, no matter how seasoned, don’t have unlimited personal time to visit galleries and artist studios and travel to art fairs. An art advisor will introduce artists and works to help determine what a client likes, recommend appropriate options and acquire works that reflect a client’s taste and budget.
establishing a point of view
A strong art collection reflects a point of view and an effective advisor will help define what each client hopes to express through collecting. Success in this context requires listening to clients while encouraging them to consider options they might not otherwise be aware of. An advisor may object to a work the collector doesn’t truly love; a work that’s too expensive; a work the advisor doesn’t believe in or a work that doesn’t reflect the client’s point of view. If a client is concerned about an artwork retaining value, or if they’re buying for investment, an advisor can perform due diligence on artists, galleries, market comparables, auction results and other considerations.
access and preferred status
In sourcing works of art, art advisors leverage relationships with galleries, artists, private collectors and fellow advisors to whom their clients would not otherwise have access. In demand artists typically have waiting lists for work, a frustrating scenario that can leave new and seasoned collectors alike feeling overlooked or unappreciated. Galleries and secondary market dealers will always offer works to their best clients, and new collectors are often ignored by galleries or unaware of emerging artists. A well-positioned and well-informed art advisor can provide access to sought after works and artists that may otherwise be unavailable to their clients. An advisor also negotiates deals for their clients and is generally offered better prices based upon their existing relationships with galleries and dealers.
Acquiring works is just one aspect of building a collection. Once a work of art is acquired, an advisor can assist with shipping, framing, installation, inventory management, conservation and storage. They can also recommend trusted specialists to help with appraisals, insurance, estate planning and tax guidance. A well-connected art advisor can also tap into their networks of contacts to sell works on behalf of clients, either through private transactions or by consigning works to an auction house, negotiating the best terms possible.
transparency and discretion
Working with an art advisor is a relationship with many facets and benefits. There is no rulebook for art advising but transparency in financial transactions and discretion on behalf of clients are critical. Building an art collection should be a fun, educational and rewarding experience, and the best art advisors engage their clients with the utmost professionalism and highest level of service.