Art advisors can be a big help when selecting the right piece for your collection. And they’re not just there for rich people. We met up with Vanessa Moos, who advises both new and experienced art collectors, to tell us how it works!
Vanessa, you spent the last 20 years in the art industry, what changed?
When I started my career in the art world at Nagel Auktionen in Stuttgart in 2004, they were one of the first artworld players to implement a live streaming for their auctions, with an overseas bidders room in Hong Kong. That was pretty amazing at the time! Since then, new technologies have completely disrupted the art industry and traditional galleries and auction companies have increased their engagement in digital sales and marketing.
Did the art collectors like these new digital possibilities?
They did, and do even more today. Collectors now use e-commerce in a more mainstream way. Online platforms, where you can buy and sell art, have become indispensable. This also results in a new price transparency that has never existed before. Also auction action has shifted from the salesroom to online bidding; art fairs have online viewing rooms; galleries open up in the metaverse without physical art pieces and physical space but with avatars as collectors.
That means, art now gets sold right off the internet, without collectors seeing the art first?
Not quite. Most collectors still want to experience the art in real life and due to Clare McAndrew’s well-respected Art Market Report, most collectors still prefer to view art for sale in person.
What is the role of an art advisor in this changing environment?
The best benefit a good art advisor can offer is neutral advice. As an art advisor, it is important to understand the client, their character and desire. What is the real purpose of buying art? Is it pure passion? Is there a certain empty wall to be filled? Is the art purchase seen as an investment? Whether buying art for passion, investment, or both I help my clients to make the right choice.
Who are your clients and how do you work with them?
My clients are new collectors, established collectors and companies that collect art. I support them across all aspects of the art acquisition process. Simply speaking, I provide guidance through the world of art. Most collectors appreciate the shortcut that an art advisor can offer. The advisor does the research and the “running”, which basically means viewing a lot of art, talking to dealers, checking and negotiating prices, attending art fairs, biennales etc. I then provide the collector with recommendations based on their specific interest and budget.
Can you give an example of a recommendation?
If a client is looking for a particular artist and the budget settled upfront does not allow them to buy the best painting, I would advise them to buy the best work on paper or a sculpture by that artist rather than a mediocre painting. Regardless of the medium, good quality will always retain its value and increase in value over time.
You also work with new art collectors. What motivates you to work with us newbies?
It is so rewarding to see the sparkle in the eyes of a first-time collector when they get their very first piece of art into their home. Every collector remembers their very first piece of art and I am glad to help to light the fire and to be part of the journey. Once your love for art is awakened, it will last a lifetime! Contemporary artist David Shrigley once said rather sardonically that “art will change the world”.
Do you think it does?
I would not go that far, but art will definitely make your home (or your future museum!) a better place.
As a newbie collector, what should I have figured out before I come to you for a first consultation?
As your first homework assignment, I recommend that you take a day off and stroll through a good museum or art fair and dive deeply into the art surrounding you, without rushing! Try to figure out what kind of art attracts you, what you like and what you don’t like. Think about what artwork you want to live with and love. No worries if you feel completely lost and overwhelmed. This is your starting point into a beautiful journey! Allow me to take your hand and be your guide as we discover good quality artworks, new art hubs and exciting emerging artists.
Should I also think about how much I want to spend on art?
It definitely makes sense to figure out your art budget. If your budget as a young collector is limited, you should be open to works on paper, it opens things up. Going down to a younger generation of artists also helps to take the edge off in terms of prices.
What is your one essential tip for the artlemon community?
Go out and look at as much art as you can. Educate your eye for good quality – that is the best investment you can do for your own art collection. And doing this with others is twice the fun!
Dr. Vanessa Moos studied art history, law and sociology and has more than 20 years of experience in the international art market. Having worked in galleries and auction houses in New York, Zurich, Stuttgart and Berlin, Vanessa now works as an independent art advisor in Zurich. She is a collector, curator, star lover and mom of 2.
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