What Do Art Advisors Do?
What are the responsibilities of an art advisor? What type of services can you expect? What is the value they add?
An art advisor is someone who advises collectors on their collections, assists them in acquiring and negotiating for prices, and helps them focus when creating their art collections. Collectors have varied reasons for collecting and an art advisor helps them navigate the crowded and sometimes complex art world to better reach their goals. Here are the two main responsibilities of art advisors:
Educate and focus
Essentially, an art advisor’s main goal is to educate the collector and help them better understand her taste and needs. Many collectors do not have enough time to attend auctions and browse all the galleries in the neighbourhood to wait to fall in love with an art piece. A successful art advisor knows what her client might and might not like, helping guide the search.
Collectors have varied reasons for collecting and an art advisor helps them navigate the crowded and sometimes complex art world to better reach their goals.
Bear in mind that a collection is a personal thing. The advice should be in line with the collector’s interests. Therefore, an art advisor does not dictate what to buy, she works with the client to reach the client’s goals. Most of the job is educating the clients so they can make their own informed decisions.
The old saying “buy what you love” should always be in focus when a new art piece is being considered. This focus, should of course also include the perceived future value of the art piece.
Currently, there is concern in the art market about homogenized collections because collectors are after a finite number of art pieces by specific artists whose works are estimated to increase in value. This is a reality resulting from a lack of vision and refined taste on the side of the collectors. If a collector is only after “what’s in” at that moment, or looks at his collection as an investment that is to double in value in a short amount of time, then it only makes sense that everyone’s collections would have a Damien Hirst, or a Jeff Koons. And the advisor and the collector should pursue these art pieces.
There is concern in the art market about homogenized collections
But a collection doesn’t have to be a way to acquire social status and prestige. It should also be a cultivated accumulation of objects that speak to that particular collector. Having someone’s work in your space is having a piece of that artist’s psyche, and more often than not, the goal should be to be surrounded by things that we genuinely enjoy, made by people who were able to fascinate us. An art advisor works with a collector to acquire items of personal importance and connection to that collector all the while helping the collectors understand what they like and what speaks to them, helping the collection have a focus.
Access and negotiation
There are more collectors than ever and most primary galleries work with a set of collectors and put emerging collectors on waiting lists. A well networked art advisor helps break this barrier of entry by gaining the collector access to the gallery’s artists and collection. An advisor introduces the art dealer and the artist to the collector when necessary, helping the collector gain a network with people whose works and collections interest him.
“The true value of art is actually what someone will pay for it”
An advisor also negotiates the prices and bid on certain pieces at art auctions. Having cumulated a vast knowledge on pricing over the years gives the advisor an edge over the inexperienced negotiator. An advisor follows what happens in the art market closely and can advise on what the upper limit paid for an art work should be by looking at what was paid for similar art works recently at auctions and in primary markets.
However, essentially, like art advisor Candace Worth says in her Chelsea TedX talk, “the true value of art is actually what someone will pay for it” so the true responsibility of an art advisor is to talk to the collector about what that art piece means for the collector and how much the collector is willing to pay for it, while staying in the established budget.