Art Advisors and Appraisers
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Art & Finance

Art World Players

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In recent years, art has increasingly been perceived as an integral part of a healthy investment portfolio. With the potential for staggering returns, art is one of the few investments that allows for an individual to have their cake and eat it too. In contrast to a stock or bond, a work of art allows for an investor to benefit for the work's aesthetic and conceptual characteristics while watching it's value grow. In contrast to dealings in the stock market, the art market is an exciting cultural hotspot, full of excitement!

In this blog series, Art as an Investment, we will focus on various aspects of the art market. This week, we will introduce you to the key players in the industry, and how their role affects the market.

The Artist

The keystone of the market, the artist is an essential component. In the market you will find artists at a variety of places within the industry. 

Emerging Artists ($): Artists at the start of their career, these artists have been to establish their reputation and have likely not yet caught the eye of any serious critics or curators. 

Established Artists ($$): Living artists who have developed a noteworthy reputation and having earned the attention of critics . These are the noteworthy names. The gallerists heavily guard these resources, and most often, when purchasing works by these artists, you must go through the artist's gallery. Further, most artists of this caliber are protected by clauses in the seller's contract stating that the gallery has right of first refusal when you wish to sell this work. Artists in this range can vary considerably in value.

Blue Chip Artists ($$$): Artists of the highest caliber. This category includes such household names as Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso. This artists are highly sought after, and command the highest prices. 

The Gallerist

Primary Market: The primary market gallerist, serves as the intermediary between the artist and the client. They find and promote artistic talent through gallery exhibitions, art fair showcases, and private sales. It is their job, to get the artist in front of the right buyers. 

Secondary Market: Secondary market gallerists identify and buy works for resale. This can be directly from the previous owner, or through an auction setting. Oftentimes, they buy and sell on behalf of a client, acting as an art broker. 

The Curator

The tastemaker's of the art world works to reveal art historical significance of an artist or a movement. While the curator is not immune to fiscal demands (i.e. ticket sales) they are able to highlight works of art and artist who are difficult to collect such as performance, conceptual and heaviliy politicized works. Further, they are able to highlight trends occuring in the art world-- and providing scholastic insight. 

The Critic

Though the preeminence of the critic has diminished in recent decades, the unbiased critic is able to sway public opinion. Acknowledgement of an artist by an established critic has the ability to attract the desired attention from gallerists, curators, and buyers. 

The Auction House Specialist

Auction houses employ teams of specialists who are responsible to putting together art sales. These specialists attempt to cultivate a collector's market surrounding their particular specialty and to increase their respective market share. Auction specialists are not personally invested in your item (beyond the overall performance and reputation of their sales) and are likely to give you honest feedback regarding the value of your items. 

The Appraiser

The appraiser is an unbiased provider of opinions of value. An often overlooked player in the art world, appraisers provide essential support to both art market professionals, as well as private collectors. 

The Art Advisor

The art advisor assists clients in collection accession. They'll navigate the complex and murky art-market waters so that their clients can acquire new works which best fit their investment portfolio. 

Kaitlyn McElwee