What is an Art Advisor?

Why You Need an Art Advisor and What to Look For

There are simply times when an expert is in order: legal issues require an attorney, financial questions often necessitate an accountant, but what about purchasing art? Is this simply an aesthetic undertaking which can be handled based on one’s “eye for art,” or as an advisor—expert—in order?

Why or Why Not?

When looking at a single piece of art, or a small collection of affordable pieces, it is possible for the buyer to research, choose, and purchase the items single-handedly. This is very likely the simple act of finding a piece of art that a buyer finds attractive and brought home (or to work) for display and enjoyment. However, when taking on a more exhaustive task, such as filling a large office space, furnishing a home or commercial location, it might be time to hire a professional.

What is an Art Advisor?

Art advising is a fast-growing profession of art experts who are skilled at bringing together buyers and seller of quality (think expensive) art. Historically hired by large businesses who wanted to furnish offices with artwork to impress staff and clients, assist the “newly” wealthy (often young) investors looking for ways to spend money and those who wish to build collections for their display or to be exhibited in museums and galleries.

These professionals have extensive knowledge about the process of obtaining artwork (and art itself), as well as obtaining insurance, shipping, estate planning, and tax matters. They can further educate clients on styles and artists to consider due to their experience and extensive network within the art industry. Although they often work for clients who spend more than six figures on artwork, their knowledge is appropriate for nearly all price points of fine artwork.


What is an Art Advisor?

But How Do You Pick?

When you decide that an art advisor could be helpful in your endeavor, take into consideration a variety of factors:

  • Experience – Number of sales facilitated and collections obtained. What type of clients have they worked for?;
  • Qualifications – Is the advisor certified by a reputable organization, like the APA (Association of Professional Art Advisors)?
  • Do they work with particular styles or genres? Have they handled a project of comparable size or location as yours?
  • Do you feel a connection to him/her? This is a very personal relationship, and you need to trust that you are both looking for the same type of work. Their style should not stray too far from yours.
  • Cost
  • References – Check with a few clients and gallery owners they have worked with to check their references.

Some Benefits You Get

By obtaining the services of an art advisor, you get a plethora of resources, like:

  • Insurance advice
  • Conservation of artwork
  • Estate planning
  • Shipping/shipping insurance
  • Sales tax

The art advisor’s network opens a whole new world in art for their clients. He or she can expose you to types of artwork you may never have considered purchasing before; they do not give you their personal preference, but help you to understand what you like and are attracted to, and teach you how to refine that taste. Instead of pushing you to make a purchase, your advisor will spend time teaching you the fine skill of choosing quality pieces. Further, when you are tackling a big job, such as furnishing an office or large home, your art advisor can help acquire a large-scale collection.

What is an Art Advisor?

Gallery Connections

An art advisor can help you browse galleries, looking for the right pieces for your collection. His job is to help you find the best works for your budget, and his relationship with specific gallery owners and dealers can provide you with advantages, like access to high-quality pieces that may not be available to the public, as well as providing entrance to dealers who have a more exclusive establishment or discounts not offered to the public. They will often be the first to know of new exhibitions and private gallery tours.

Final Word

An art advisor can be a helpful tool to tackle the world of art collecting. This liaison will become a personal relationship, with advice that will stay with you for years to come. Many art advisor clients lament about how much they miss the relationship they had with their advisor! The lessons you learn from your association will help deepen your understanding of art, history, and the art market. Take these pieces of advice when you begin your search.

About Sybaris

Experienced in choosing art to reflect a variety of styles and tastes, our mission is to discover pieces which inspire you, while helping you create a collection you can be proud to display in your home or office. Let us guide you in your search for what moves you!