An art dealer is a person or company that buys and sells works of art. Art dealers' professional associations serve to set high standards for accreditation or membership and to support art exhibitions and shows.
An art dealer is a professional in the art world that is responsible for buying and selling pieces of art work, like paintings and sculptures. Of course, there is typically more to the profession than that. Art dealers must be able to choose pieces that may be popular with the general public or pieces that a certain client may like. In short, they typically need to find pieces of art that are almost sure to sell in order to make a profit, not just pieces of art they enjoy themselves.
Successful art dealers often share a few very similar characteristics. Most importantly, art dealers must have a true passion for and knowledge of fine art, art history, current art trends, and the entire art world in general. They should also have excellent communication skills and be very outgoing, which will help them establish a large network of other art professionals. Business skills are equally important, and these professionals should be able to get the best prices on pieces of art and keep track of their transactions.
An art dealer facilitates the sales of artists' works to collectors and museums by agreeing to represent artists, show their work, and negotiate sales either in person or through an auction house. In addition, because an art dealer has the opportunity to give artists more exposure by arranging for exhibitions of their work and bringing it to the attention of critics and collectors, he can play a key role in the development of artists' careers. Becoming an art dealer requires both a love and knowledge of art, as well as sound experience in the art world and a network of both artists and collectors. In addition, you'll need excellent business skills and available capital to become an art dealer.
In order to understand the differences between selling through a dealer or through an auction house, a careful comparison of all time and expense factors must be made. It is our belief that selling privately through a qualified and reputable dealer is the best way to achieve maximum returns. Selling privately avoids the many inherent risks and costly expenses associated with selling at auction. Although auction houses tout their abilities to achieve high prices for their consignors, the evidence paints a vastly different picture in which "over promise" and "under deliver" are the most likely results. Let's examine auction house estimates, as well as the expenses an owner incurs when selling through auction.
Art dealers use their business and social skills to sell art and to develop a stable of artists to represent. They establish a reputation for good taste and talent to provide a win-win situation for both the artist and the buyer. Starting salaries are about $32,000, but with growing credentials the average salary is about $75,000 after five years in the business, depending on the location.
An art consultant is a person who consults individuals or businesses about which pieces of art they should acquire. This advice may be used for a wide range of purposes, from building a personal collection for enjoyment, to designing an art program for a chain of hotels, to building an investment portfolio. Fine art is considered a relatively stable long-term investment, if properly handled, and so many individuals or businesses with money to invest turn to it in times of economic turmoil.
Wealthy individuals often turn to an art consultant when purchasing a new house, or redecorating an existing house, to help them get the art on the walls that they most want. The art world is in constant flux, and keeping track of which pieces are for sale, and what new artists are hot, is a full time job. A skilled art consultant will meet with a client and get a feel for their likes and dislikes, take down their budget, and note any specific pieces the client is looking for. They will then help track down the desired pieces at auction, and recommend new or unexpected artists to help fill out the collection. Rates for consultants vary widely, depending on expertise, overall budget, and the size of the desired collection.
Businesses are often in need of art for their locations, and they may hire a freelance art consultant, or may have an in-house art consultant. These consultants are responsible for keeping a cohesive feel throughout the business’ many properties, staying within budget while reflecting the feel of the company. Hotels, for example, may use a number of art consultants to design a comprehensive art program for their chain, either with similar art throughout, or with regionally-appropriate art.
An art consultant may serve principally as an investment adviser to individual or corporate clients. In this case, the consultant is expected to have a very comprehensive understanding of trends in the art world, including which new artists are rising stars, which artists are undervalued, and where large risks may be taken for potentially large gains. These consultants work hand in hand with clients to diversify an art portfolio at auction, or through private sales to reach the level of risk-to-gain they desire.
Most art consultants have at least an undergraduate degree in Art History, or a similar major, and many have advanced degrees. Many art consultants have worked in some professional capacity in the art world before becoming independent consultants, often working at large auction houses, or in galleries. A number of large art consulting firms exist, as well, employing tens or hundreds of employees in order to cover various specialties for clients.
A Great Art Dealer did not just happen
It was planned that way
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