top of page

What Does an Art Advisor Do? The Art Advisory Process Explained

Contemporary Abstract Art | Art Advisory Explained

What does an art advisor do? Quite a lot, actually! They can help you with art acquisitions for your private collection, act as a consultant for art collections within corporations and museums, and offer art investment advice. Because the art market is so complex, it is often helpful to have an expert by your side when making important decisions about art investment and acquisition.

In this article, we'll explain what art advisors do and how they can help you, we'll also discuss the art advisory process and where to find a great art advisor based on the type of art you are looking to acquire.

The Role of an Art Advisor

An art advisor can play many roles depending on the client they are working with. For private collectors, art advisors often act as a curator or art consultant, helping to select pieces, and to buy art that reflects the collector's taste and interests. They may also provide advice on framing, lighting, and displaying the final artworks. For clients focused on art as an investment, art advisors can act as art appraisers and auction experts.

They will help you to decide when to purchase and sell art in order to maximise your profits. Most art advisors will have an area of specialism, so it is important to find one that has experience in the type of art you are interested in such as contemporary art, Old Master paintings, or rare Chinese paintings. To find the perfect advisor for your needs checkout our extensive list of The Top 40 art advisors by genre.

Art Advisory Process

The Art Advisory Process

When working with an art advisor, the art advisory process will usually involve four steps:

Initial Consultation

The first step is to meet with the art advisor and discuss your needs and what you are hoping to achieve. This meeting will also be an opportunity for the art advisor to learn more about your art tastes and preferences whether you are seeking an art advisor for aesthetic or investment purposes. A good art advisor will help clients make an informed purchasing decision so if you are new to art acquisition, they will be able to educate you on anything from art history and collecting, to the present day art market.


Once the art advisor has a clear understanding of art collecting and your needs, they will begin researching suitable artwork for you. This involves looking at art galleries, art fairs, and auctions as well as tapping into their extensive network of artists and art dealers in order to find pieces that fit your budget and interests. They may also discuss bespoke commissions with prospective artists if you are looking for contemporary art not available on the market. This is usually more suited to interior design clients or art collectors with a specific theme in mind for their art collection.


Once the art advisor has found suitable art, they will present it to you in the form of an art proposal document. This is usually a digital presentation but can also be in the form of a physical book if you are meeting in person. At this stage, you will have the opportunity to ask questions about the artworks, make choices or ask for further research while getting the information you need regarding the artist, pricing, and provenance.

Final Decision & Acquisition

After considering all of the information presented, it is time to make the final decision on whether or not you would like to purchase any of the artworks. At this stage the art advisor can help to negotiate a fair price based on their connections and expertise. Once the sale has gone through many art advisors will also organise the shipment, handling and framing of the artwork offering a turnkey service from initial consultation to final installation.

Art Advisory Meeting

How to Choose The Right Art Advisor

Now that you understand the importance of having a great art advisor on your team, you will need to decide who you choose to work with as this will have a significant impact on your art buying experience.

We have put together an extensive list of the industry's best art advisors by genre. Once you have found a few prospective candidates, here are a few questions you should ask before making a decision on which art advisor you would like to work with.

Do they have the right art qualifications and experience?

Ideally, you are looking for someone who has dedicated their career to art and has the relevant qualifications and experience from a reputable institution such as Sothebys Institute or Christies Education. Many senior art advisors will have so much more industry experience that their qualifications will be irrelevant but if you are working with someone more up and coming then this may be a factor.

Do they have a good reputation in the art world?

In the art world and photography especially, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to check out an art advisor's reputation so ask around your circles or do some online research. Look for reviews on independent websites, social media or features and publications.

What type of art do they specialise in?

If you are interested in a certain type of art, for example Modern British art, then you will want to find an art advisor that specialises in this area. They will have a better understanding of the market, and an existing network of contacts to source this type of work, it is important not expect an expert in say kinetic and digital installations to get you access to a rare 18th-century etching.

Do they work with private collectors or corporate clients?

Some art advisors only work with one or the other . If you are a private art collector, you will want an art advisor that has experience in dealing with private collectors and can understand your needs. Similarly, if you are a corporate art buyer then you will need an art advisor that understands the specific needs of corporate art buyers and can source artworks on a larger scale while understanding your company's goals.

Do you enjoy their company?

Having a good rapport with your art advisor is extremely important to ensure you feel comfortable with the art buying process. Buying art can be a big decision so you want to make sure your art advisor is someone you enjoy being around and trust. If they are experienced, they will know how to communicate with art buyers of varying art knowledge and interest levels empowering their clients to make the best purchasing decision.

Woman in Gallery | Art Advisory

How much does an art advisor cost?

The art advisor's commission is the fee art advisors charge artists for their services. This can vary depending on a number of factors including the type of art, the size and value of artworks, whether or not they are acting as an agent and any additional art advisory services offered.

Generally, art advisors will charge between 5% and 20% commission on any artwork purchased, the commission percentage tends to go down as the value of the artwork increases. If you simply need them on a consulting basis, they may have an hourly fee structure and you will simply pay them for their time consulting on your project.

Although consultants take a percentage of the commission, they can often secure a discount on a sale through their existing relationships with private dealers and galleries. This means that clients can end up paying the same market price for a painting while benefiting from the guidance and access of an art expert.

Why invest in the art market?

Although the art market is often seen as a complex place to navigate, art has remained for centuries a good stable investment. It has been shown to outperform other investments such as stocks, property and gold over the long term proving to be steady and reliable while other markets fluctuate. With the advance of technology and the increasingly globalised playing field opportunities in new markets are also arising like the Asian market which is driving up the demand for art and helping to increase prices.

Having an art advisor can be a very beneficial experience, whether you are a private art collector or a corporate art buyer. They can help you have a stress free experience to finding the right artworks for your collection and provide expert advice on all aspects of the art market.

Here at Artelier we have extensive experience working with both private collectors and corporate clients to help source artworks for both aesthetic and investment reasons. If you would like to find out more about working on acquiring art, with us visit our dedicated art advisor page or contact us today to setup a free consultation with one of our advisors.


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