Art consultants are professional advisers to art collectors, museums and corporations. These people are experts in the field of fine art, commercial valuers, and art market experts. This can be extremely complex, demanding, work involving extensive knowledge of works of art, artists, and a thorough understanding of how the market operates.
Art consultants are responsible for:
Some of these art collections may be worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. For art consultants, this market can be an extremely demanding clientele. If you've seen the high prices paid for some works of art at auctions, you'll appreciate exactly how demanding this market is. Art consultants are responsible for the entire process, including the all-important verification of the authenticity of the artwork.
Art consultants usually have formal training and degrees in fine arts, and many years experience in the art market, often as auctioneers, valuers or in similar roles.
Art consultancy is an extremely competitive commercial field. Art consultants may be very much in demand in this market, but this clientele can afford to demand services which art consultants must be able to provide in order to get their business.
For example, a consultancy may need to be able to demonstrate working with a particular type of art, like the old Dutch masters, 19th-century Impressionists or regional types of art. This type of expertise isn't exactly common. In many cases, an art consultancy may need to be able to outsource expertise and have access to technical facilities for evaluating artworks, like art conservationists and specialist services. This is effectively a forensic level of technical capabilities, and art consultancies need to know how to supply these capabilities on the moon.
An art consultant career is very much a business. Art consultants charge very high fees for their services, which must also cover their own costs and make a profit. Career progression in the art consultancy field is based entirely on commercial success and degrees of difficulty.
For example -
An art consultancy which can demonstrate prior success managing acquisitions and collections in a particular field of art is more likely to get business in that field. At the absolute top of the range, working with acquisitions of major artists like Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, or Monet, etc are important professional credentials. It's not easy to get these credentials, and many consultants work in the field for years to achieve their professional reputations.
Art consultancy is very much a career for art lovers. The rewards are high, but the responsibilities are almost infinite. This is a career for very dedicated people who know their art, know their market, and love their work. If that's you, this is the career you really need.