Building your collection with reputable art professionals whom you trust is essential. Below are the art industry standards:
Art Advisors/ Art Consultants
Art consultants help collectors develop their personal taste and collecting focus. They maintain close relationships with galleries and auction houses and help collectors gain access to important work they may not have access to otherwise. At times, they administer private deals where artwork is traded privately. They do not hold inventory and generally work on commission or have a set fee.
International art fairs are very popular venues to view the international art market, buy art and meet the experts. Most major cities have one or more fairs featuring hundreds of galleries from around the world at one location. Art fairs are similar to large conventions where visitors network and deals are made on-site and at after-parties around the clock. If you are going to a fair with the intent to buy, be sure to collect information about art that interests you as you move throughout the fair and be prepared to make quick decisions.
Auction houses host public sales where artwork is sold to the highest bidder. Auctions are free and open to the public. There is no obligation to bid when you attend the auction.
Galleries are privately run exhibition spaces that are free and open to the public. The services that galleries provide range from exhibitions, education, publications, curatorial advice, appraisals, sales and resales.
Non-profit galleries have various missions and offer artists the resources and space to mount exhibitions that are typically more experimental than those found in commercial galleries. Although sales are not the primary focus of non-profits, acquiring work from an exhibition is certainly possible. Non-profits often host annual auction benefits, which provide collectors with a great opportunity to buy work, sometimes at very affordable prices.
Online venues bring buyers and sellers together through the internet. The internet has greatly expanded the volume and accelerated the speed at which the art market now moves. Artists, galleries and auction houses have become more accessible making proximity less important. Even though you can buy work online, try to view the work in person before making a final decision. If this is not possible, ask about buying the work upon approval for a specified period of time.
Private Art Dealers
Private art dealers offer similar services as galleries except for the fact that they work from non-public spaces and do not present exhibitions. They are usually open by appointment only.