Tableaux Chat: How To Talk To An Art Advisor

hero image gajah-gallery

If you’re looking to buy or sell artwork for personal gain, it’s helpful to have a quick-witted, knowledgeable, resourceful art advisor on speed dial. Beyond price negotiating and sourcing, advisors can also get you access to dealers, artists and galleries who might otherwise ignore your calls (it happens). Advisors can get you on waiting lists for highly coveted works before they’re even produced and can make sure you’re in touch with the right artist liaison at the gallery or studio. The way you build your relationship with an advisor can have a direct effect on the success of your collection, so it’s important to start the conversation early with clarity and confidence.

Here’s our fast and easy four-step guide on how to talk to an art advisor:




When approaching an art advisor to discuss your tastes and art preferences, have some goals in mind. Are you looking to collect emerging artists? Are you particularly interested in contemporary art from a specific region? Are you hoping to collect a range of medium? Try to visualize what you hope your collection will look like in 5, 10, even 20 years’ time. An art advisor should understand your goals early on regarding investment and personal fulfillment as an art collector.

Bringing Up Budget

bringing up budget


In addition to goals, financial planning is also a key factor when talking to an art advisor. Be prepared to discuss what your annual buying budget will be as well as if you intend to sell other works for funds towards future acquisitions. You should also discuss the advisor’s fee to better understand how they get paid and what it means regarding your overall budget. Some advisors are paid through a gallery, others will invoice you the full amount for the work, including their commission fee. An experienced advisor will use their relationships to negotiate the best gallery price, so even with their fee, you may still score a better deal than by approaching the gallery directly.

Is My Name On The List?

Is my name on the list?


Art advisors can be your “in” to art world events you would otherwise have a difficult time accessing. Discuss which art fairs, collections, and studio visits you’d be interested in attending with regards to sourcing for your collection and a well-connected advisor can help you get VIP passes and invites to private events as well as accompany you so that they can assist with introductions. Knowing your collecting goals and tastes will also help them recommend events you should mark on your calendar.

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power


Whether you’re interested in a particular style or have a list of artists you wish to collect, arming yourself with as much historical and personal information can better prepare you for buying art as an investment. Ask your advisor questions about the artist – their training, who is acquiring their work, what exhibitions will they be participating in during the next few years. If you’ve become interested in a particular work, ask questions about its provenance and the current/anticipated market value. The questions you prepare in advance will show the advisor your seriousness as a collector as well as provoke meaningful conversation about artworks you may be purchasing. Art magazines, such as Art News or ArtInfo and art market blogs like Lofty’s are excellent resources to keep you up-to-date.