Art Consultants Make Buying Art Easier

Art Consultant Jennifer Perlow started working with a client who was furnishing the walls of a small neurology clinic. The client had been doing all of her art-buying on her own, with a fairly small budget.

“I took on a project for her,” Perlow remembers. “She was astounded at how much easier it was.” The client was pleased with how simple art buying can be when working with an art consultant or advisor.

Perlow’s firm Lewis Graham Consultants purchases art for clients to fill large spaces. “My job is to find the best pieces within your budget that align with what you are looking for,” she says. It’s important to note that there is no difference between an art consultant or art advisor, these titles can be used interchangeably.

This first in a two-part series discussing the role of an art consultant, also known as an art advisor, outlines the basic responsibilities these professionals have and why you might consider hiring one to help with your art collection. Part two outlines the finer details after you have hired an art advisor, and how they can be involved in your collection’s daily maintenance.

1. Art Consultants Rarely Require Additional Fees

Galleries and artists often give consultants and advisors a discount on works. A lot of consultants will buy the work at full price and collect the discount as their pay. This means that you are receiving essentially free consulting advice, and the consultant is making a profit through maintaining relationships.

“You do not pay more to purchase art through an art consultant than if you walked through a gallery,” Perlow says. “The difference is I’ve been in ten galleries in the last two months.” Perlow provides her consultation for free, knowing that she will make a profit with a sale that she is proud of. Consultants and advisors are also not wed to a specific gallery or artist. They manage relationships with experts to bring in the best pieces.

2. Art Advisors Put Your Style and Preferences First

When looking for the right candidate, you want to look for experience in similar projects. This could be based on size, location, or style. Note that if you like an art consultant’s work, and your only qualm is that you want the consultant to focus on contemporary instead of antique paintings, it’s worth asking the consultant about the project. Consultants do not adopt a personal style or preference. Their job is to mirror your wants for your art collection. “I never incorporate my personal taste in artwork with what I’m going to give to a client,” Perlow confirms.

3. Art Consultants Stay Up-to-Date in the Art World

“Part of our job is always staying fresh and seeing what’s new,” Perlow says. Consultants will participate in gallery tours and stay up-to-date with openings. It’s much easier to rely on an art consultant to stay informed about new artists and styles, especially if you’re balancing a demanding career with a busy personal life. An art consultant or advisor works daily with gallerists and artists to stay current.

4. Art Advisors Are a Great Resource for Large Projects

Your art collection should never be daunting or overwhelming. “We are here to make the whole process easier,” Perlow says. Art consultants have experience working with large projects and making a collection of art flow seamlessly through hallways. If you’re looking to furnish a guest house and want the project completed quickly, an art consultant is a great option.

5. Art Consultants Are Available to Help

“Know that there are resources out there,” Perlow shares. The Association of Professional Art Appraisers has a member directory you can review to start your research. Starting with location and experience is your first step to finding the right person. “It’s a very personal relationship,” Perlow imparts. “My goal is when we finish a project, [our clients] miss us when we’re gone.”

Finding, buying, hanging, storing, and caring for your collection can be complex as your art collection grows. Get more artful insights in our free e-book, Essential Guide to Collecting Art.