Art Consultant Career Facts

Art consultants are art experts, hired to advise on acquisitions and collection management. This is a top of the market role that caters to private collectors, art dealers, commercial d├ęcor, public galleries and organizations.

The Work Environment

Art consultants act on behalf of their clients, protecting them as well as advising them. They're often involved in major purchases. Their work involves a certain amount of risk, particularly when possible art fraud can cost a client millions of dollars. This is a very complex and often diverse line of work. Art consultants may work in several different fields. The various roles require a good knowledge of the art market, and the ability to work with the esoteric tastes of collectors and the tough budgets of corporate clients.

Although art consultants work with a receptive clientele, they should be interested in acquisitions, the difficulties of valuation, authenticity and matching client needs. Art consultancy work may involve:

  • Researching and monitoring market prices and auction values
  • Checking authentication details and certification of art works
  • Detailed analysis of acquisition costs
  • Advising private collectors across the entire spectrum of art sales
  • Working with buyer's agents and legal advisers
  • Liaising with owners intending to sell artworks
  • Creating acquisition plans
  • Advising buyers and sellers

This work also involves clearly identifying the client's wishes and needs. Private collectors may use their art consultants as hunters of artworks, because they can both locate art coming on the market and advise regarding values and acquisition possibilities. The art market is purely sales oriented, and it isn't an easy place to do business. Prices can be highly debatable. The art consultant has to work within the client's budget and exercise considerable discretion when advising clients. Art sales advice can also include complex advice regarding certification of artworks and market requirements.

Salary

The salary of an art consultant is fee based, usually a commission or contract rate. Fees may be combinations of these factors and relate to transaction values. The consultant will work standard business hours, unless on location for a consultancy.

The Career Environment

Art consultants are formally trained experts and often specialize in particular areas of art. Many art consultants have wide experience in the art market, and some have previously held positions as art curators. Expertise and market reputation are major factors in this career. An art consultancy is a business, and career progression is based on business factors. Client accounts and client relationships are central to the work of the consultancy, and it's a results driven business. A good reputation can generate a lot of business through client contacts, and industry networks.

Core competencies in art consultancy are the delineators of business potentials. Specialists in fields like oriental art, modern art, or other areas work in niche markets, with a clientele which may include collectors who are experts in these areas themselves.