Art Market Research: Choosing an Art Dealer
The best way to demystify the art market is to visit as many galleries as you can which allows you to look at the works in the flesh, compare artists and works, and talk to people who can answer your questions and provide you with the knowledge you require. You can also take the chance to find out more about the gallery that you are visiting and make sure that they are a reputable dealer. There are so many art dealers out there that it can make trying to research and analyse the reputation and business practice of an art dealer can be quite confusing and daunting for art market novices. There are several questions that you can ask or try and find the answers to in order to gauge whether or not a dealer is reputable and suitable and they are:
1. How long has the gallery been established for, and what is the history of the gallery?
2. What is the relationship between the gallery and the artists?
3. What is the condition of the work you are interested in?
4. What is the provenance of the work you are interested in?
5. Does the gallery offer a certificate of authenticity?
6. Is the gallery a member of any professional organisations?
A particularly good source of information on art dealers is the internet although you shouldn’t believe everything you read online and anything you do find should be used more as a guide to deciding what questions to ask. You should always get the opinions of other people when choosing a dealer and always trust your instinct and judgement.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.