top of page

How To Choose A Fine Art Consultant in 2024

Commissioning and collecting fine art can seem a daunting task without the trusted help and advice of a fine art consultant. Many first time collectors have little experience working with artists, gallerists or auction houses and may find the process intimidating. We have put together a guide to help first time as well as seasoned collectors find the right fine art consultant for their needs.


Artelier is a world-class, independent fine art consultancy that provides tailored services for discerning collectors, including comprehensive art consultancy services including art commissioning, shipping, framing and final installation. We work with both private art collectors and corporate clients such as interior designers and property developers. Our advice for finding the right consultant encompasses decades of experience in working on all types of curatorial projects.





Working With An Art Consultant


Finding the right art consultant will be a different experience for each individual. A relationship that may last for many years, taking your time to find the right person is key. A good art consultant will be someone who understands your vision and your goals, who is trustworthy and reliable as well as extremely knowledgeable and well connected in the specific artistic style you are looking to purchase. Art consultants often attend art fairs to discover new works and stay updated with the art market.


Once you hire an art consultant, they will be out in the field negotiating on your behalf with art dealers, auction houses and artists, securing the best prices, whilst doing all of their due diligence by checking the quality and authenticity of the work. Working with the right art professional means working with someone who truly has your best interest at heart.


Purchasing a new piece of art is no small decision and so having the whole process guided by an expert that has carefully considered your aesthetic, spaces and budget can be a real asset. So without further ado discover in this article the benefits and top tips on how to find the right person for the job.



Fine Art Consultant

The Benefits of Working With a Fine Art Consultant


If you’re unsure whether hiring an art consultant can be a cost effective and worthwhile solution, discover below several benefits that many clients have experienced over the years after making the decision to work with a consultant.


Art consultants can help clients navigate the contemporary art market and identify emerging art talent.









Professional guidance for new art buyers:


Art consultants and advisors have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can instantly benefit from when hiring them. Whether a strong eye or great negotiation skills they can elevate your art buying experience significantly especially if you are new to the art world and looking to acquire your first works. Art consultants are passionate about their work and love to educate their clients on different art types and acquisition processes.


Access to established networks:


You may have heard of the exclusive private sales that go on behind closed doors. Or may know a particular artist you love but not know how to approach them. Every art consultant and advisor has a little black book of contacts they are more than happy to use when sourcing art for their clients. Through their network an art consultant can help you find the best deal and avoid costly mistakes. They can also negotiate on your behalf at times achieving prices that would not be available to the general public.



Support for large-scale projects:


Art consultants and advisors become an essential part of the team when dealing with large-scale projects in the private or public sector, such as hotel or corporate art collections, and public art installations. An art consultant with this type of experience will typically offer a complete solution from initial concept to final artwork logistics and installation which can be crucial in taking out a lot of the headache. The final collection will be completely bespoke and speak to the values of the company, or the cultural heritage of the location of the hotel.


Art Consultant


What To Look For in a Fine Art Consultant


Experience


Look for an individual who is experienced in your particular area of interest, for instance if you are looking to acquire an Old Master painting. Experienced consultants often work with seasoned art collectors to build and manage museum-quality collections. Find an art advisor who specialises in this and has clearly helped other clients in the process of acquiring such a work. If you are looking to commission a contemporary artist for a private residence, look for an art advisor who has done just that working either with private individuals or property developers. The information may be on their website but if not you can quickly find this out over a phone call. An experienced consultant will also have a good network of contacts that they can tap into, ultimately you are looking for someone with experience working with clients with similar budgets, taste and objectives.


Expertise:


When looking at the expertise of a particular art advisor, try and find out whether they have in-depth knowledge of their particular area of the fine art market. They for instance may have worked in the Asian Ceramic department at Christies or have other credential that would make it clear that they have experience in sourcing contemporary art as part of their art acquisition strategy. Looking at their past clients and past sales is also a good indicator, this will make it easier for them to advise you on current trends and artists to look out for. Once the artwork has been purchased a good art advisor will also be able to offer guidance and support on protecting your artwork , framing, and display.


Approach:


Depending on how you like to work, understanding an art advisors approach before hiring them is extremely important, ensuring a very positive relationship moving forward. Some art advisors may be more hands-off allowing you to make your own decisions and simply facilitating the process, while others will be far more involved and meticulous about curating your collection even providing in room mockups to see how the art may look in-situ. There is no right or wrong answer to this, different approaches will work for different clients, it is simply important to be aware of your art consultants approach before hiring them.


Art Consultant Curation | Lobby Art

Finding the right person


With many specialisations within the art consulting industry, the first step to finding the right consultant is to find someone with the right specialisation for your needs. If you are unsure of where to start with this, checkout our Top 40 Art Advisors by Genrearticle for a comprehensive list. This will ensure alignment with your specific art genre and project scope.


You must also be aware of the type of client that your chosen fine art consultant typically work with; some will be specialised in building close relationships with private clients while others will be experts at large scale projects and international shipping logistics.


Another consideration is if you are looking for investment grade art, you will likely need to work with an art advisor or dealer with expertise in that particular aspect of the art market. This is especially important if you are looking to acquire a specific artists’ work, who is difficult to come by. 


Finally make sure you choose someone who you can trust and who has your best interests at heart. A good art consultant should be unbiased, be able to answer all your questions and provide the best advice. This is because, unlike a gallery they do not have specific artists they are representing, their job is to represent you in the art world.


Questions to ask before hiring your art consultant


When considering working with an art consultant, you will typically be invited to attend a free consultation which is an opportunity for both you and the consultant to see if it’s a good fit. The consultant will likely ask several questions to try and find out more about your needs. In turn it's a great opportunity to ask them questions as well to have a better understanding of how they work. Here are a few questions to ask before hiring a consultant:


  • Can you give an example of a previous client / project similar to my requirements?

  • How many years of experience do you have?

  • How big is your team?

  • How many clients do you currently have?

  • How would you describe your approach to fine art consulting?

  • What are your rates and do you have payment schedules?


Preparing a few simple questions like this before a consultation will give you a better idea of each consultant’s relevant experience as well as how much time they will have to dedicate to you. It is important during this consultation to also get a feel for their personality and approach to see if you would enjoy working with them. Lastly make sure you interview a few different consultants and take your time before making your decision. Choosing the right person could lead to a meaningful working relationship for years to come.





How to work with your fine art consultant


Once you’ve found the right art consultant, you will need to establish a great working relationship to get the most out of your investment. The consultant will often guide this, however as the client the clearer you are about what you are looking for, the easier this will be for everyone. So here are some tips on how to build a great working dynamic with your consultant.


Understand your starting point:


Are you completely new to the art world or are you a seasoned collector simply needing a little extra assistance? Most art consultants will happily work with both types of clients, however being upfront with your starting point will get you on the same page as your art consultant far quicker.


Be clear about your goals:


There is so much art to see and buy in the world, with countless genres and artists in all mediums. It is common to find oneself overwhelmed with choice and struggling to stay focused on a singular goal. Having as clear of a goal as possible, and being able to make decisions when presented with options and can make the process of art buying a more efficient, enjoyable and cost effective as possible.


Find someone whose company you enjoy:


Acquiring art is a highly involved and at times very personal endeavour. Finding the right art advisor for your needs will be based on many factors such as previous experience, artistic focus and availability. Another important factor to consider is whether you are working with someone whose company you enjoy. If you have a pleasant working dynamic it will be easier to build trust, maintain good communication and ultimately get to your end goal easily.


Clarify your art buying budget:


Budget can sometimes be a tricky subject that is avoided for far too long. Being clear from the start will allow for realistic expectations from both parties. Sharing your budget early on will mean that the consultant will be able to advise you from the beginning on whether this is a realistic amount for the type of art you are looking for. You can then adjust accordingly, which can then lead to having clear boundaries about not exceeding the budget moving forward.


Be clear about your expectations:


You can think about what your non-negotiables are, what you are looking to get out of the relationship with your art advisor in order to clarify your expectations. the clearer you are and the better the communication, the more you will get out of the process leading to an artwork selection you can be proud of.


Still looking for a consultant?

Here at Artelier we love working with new clients from private residential projects to complex hotel projects. Our team of curators will work with you to ensure a completely bespoke curatorial solution adapted to your needs and budget. If you're interested in finding out more visit our website or simply get in touch.



Comments


Contact Us

Do you have a project or want to explore how to invest in art?

Join our Newsletter

Receive exclusive industry guides & behind the scenes of the world's most prestigious projects

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page