Beginners Guide to Art Auctions

The battlefield in the art world has always taken place at the art auctions where wealthy collectors and art speculators have all converged in the salesroom to compete with each other. It provides a strange delight for the onlookers who have attended the event to specifically have a look at all the action. When an art auction performs poorly, it undermines the confidence of the entire industry. For those getting started, it can be tremendous fun to watch, and sometimes the record-high prices elicit a gasp and roaring applause. If a person has no familiarity with the baroque logic of the art auctions, it might sound like an impenetrable mystery.

 

The Auctioneer

The showman of the art world, the auction employs humor and drama to raise the prices even from the most reluctant of bidders. Each auctioneer has his signature style, and the younger generation of art gavelers has leaned more towards the edgy and in-your-face style.

 

The Hammer

Known as the Excalibur of the auctioneer, he wields this combination of baton and judge’s gavel with astounding alacrity. When it comes down, sometimes it taps the table lightly. Other times, a crashes with an unmistakable thunk to show a sale has been completed.

 

Paddle

A snooty cousin of the ping pong paddle, this numbered instrument gets used as a telegraph to bid. Many of the high-flying buyers have chosen one of the more discreet approached to help in signaling the auctioneer, but sometimes the process can be as simple as nodding.

 

Appraisal

An appraisal gives the art collector the approximate market value of the items at the auction house. This is the process of developing an informed opinion on the value of an art collection. This will get assigned to a lot from the specialists of the auction house.

 

Estimate

The estimate is what a particular work will fetch in the sale. Art collectors will see both the high end of the estimate and the lower estimate. For example, they might have something that says anywhere from $14,000,000 to $18,000,000.

 

These are some of the terms for a beginner to understand about art auctions. Sometimes a dealer will bid on behalf of an artist he or she represents, and he ensures that the price of the work never drops below a specific price range.

Art Collecting’s Technological Transition

The world of art collecting is being transformed by apps like Artland, Artsy, and Magnus, as well as websites like Paddle8. These resources bring the hobby of art collecting to people who cannot frequent gallery shows and art auctions, leveling the playing field among collectors. While these options broaden the pool of potential buyers, they have been met with resistance from those heavily involved in the art scene.

 

Each technological option operates in its own way. Artland, for instance, charges galleries a monthly subscription fee to list pieces on their service, through which both aspiring and seasoned collectors offer bids for individual pieces. Artsy focuses on educating novice collectors on the practice of art collection, and, like Artland, offers galleries a monthly subscription to show their pieces. Magnus serves as an aid to those attending shows and auctions, allowing the collector to capture a picture of the piece in question with their phone and run it through a database that estimates its potential value based on the artist’s other works. Paddle8 operates as an online auction house that has recently stepped into the future by collaborating with The Native to orchestrate auctions accepting bitcoin.

 

Each forum is designed to bring art to the masses, but current collectors hesitate to accept them. Many are concerned with robbing art collection of its exclusivity and mystique. By having prices available, the art world runs the risk of becoming an open market instead of an invitation only world, bringing prices down. Conversely, supporters of these apps praise them for their openness and demand even more transparency; only one third of the pieces listed on Artsy include prices, which is a staunch difference between Paddle8, which makes it a point to be upfront about monetary details.

 

Despite conflicting views, apps like Artland are poised to launch the world of art collecting into the future. Forbes quotes CEO Mattis Curth, “Until now, the art world has been small. Lowering barriers to entry will lead to a bigger market.” Without these barriers that the pioneers in art collecting’s digital age intend to complete their mission: to bring the art world out of its selective community and into the light, where any art lover has the power to view and purchase collections they otherwise would not have seen.

 

Most Valuable Art Collections in the World

Art collection supports local artists and the value it presents to society as a whole. In fact, art collecting has grown so big that the top five players in the game have more than $11 billion in assets. Art has become one of the most lucrative investments a human being can put their money into. In fact, to put art collecting into perspective, the Orange Marilyn silkscreens of Andy Warhol were originally bought for $2,400 in the ’60s. Auctioned at the turn of the century, they sold for $17 million, which is a 102,000% value increase in 40 years.

 

Here are some of the most valuable art collections in the world:

 

Francois Pinault

 

A total collection value of $1.4 billion dollars, Francois Pinault has a combined personal wealth of around $14 billion. Even small beginnings can have a massive influence, and when looking at Francois Pinault, he began from small beginnings. He started chopping wood in 1963, but he soon turned his business into a thriving profession. He grew smarter. Some of the investments he has made include Puma, Château Latour vineyard and one of the world’s largest art collections.

 

Philip Niarchos

 

Having a total collection value of $2.2 billion, Niarchos has a personal wealth of around $2.2 billion. Some of the collection of masterpieces include one of the world’s largest private stockpiles of Van Gogh and even the iconic “Self Portrait,” which took place before he cut his ear off. He bought it for $71.5 million, and he bought “Yo Picasso” for $47.9 million.

 

Eli Broad

 

Featuring a collection value of $2.2 and a personal wealth of $7.1 billion, Eli Broad has sometimes been called the “Lorenzo Medici of Los Angeles.” He’s a self-made billionaire who has done some famous philanthropic work. Broad’s interest in art dates to 1973 when he bought the Van Gogh drawing, “Cabanes a Saintes-Maries.” He picked up some other pieces like Picasso, Miro and Matisse. His collection has since expanded to include the likes of Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. He has over 2,000 artworks.

 

These are some of the most valuable art collections in the world. As art collectors, each of these men hold a special regard and respect in the art community.

 

Tips for Starting An Art Gallery– According to the Experts

 

The most important consideration for individuals who plan to start an art gallery is to know your target audience. The next most important tip is to study the planned location of the gallery.

 

In large urban areas like New York City, starting an art gallery is a relatively simple matter of choosing a location with a lot of daily foot traffic. In large crowded urban cities, there is less worry about a target audience since throngs of people pass by an art gallery and, on impulse stop in due to an art collection that captures their attention. In these large cities, art galleries crop up on sidewalks, in local parks and in strip malls.

 

The Grand Opening of an Art Gallery

The most momentous occasion for a prospective art gallery owner is the Grand Opening. This event should attract artists, art lovers and buyers. Choose a specific theme for the Grand Opening that becomes a signature style of the gallery’s offerings to create the gallery brand.

 

This event should create a lasting memory of your gallery’s purpose and artistic potential for a wide range of patrons. A Grand Opening announcement should be done several weeks before the date of the opening through advertisements and public relations. Don’t be afraid to contact local dignitaries for a “ribbon cutting” ceremony.

 

An Art Gallery with Curb Appeal

The other facet of starting an art gallery is creating a proactive calendar of gallery events. These events include guest artists’ collections or an open house during the holidays. The purpose of starting an art gallery should be clearly defined before a location is chosen. Decide whether renting or leasing is within budget.

 

Advertising and PR – Tools for a Solid Start

Experts agree that art galleries with the greatest success are those who have a well designed advertising and public relations program in place. An effective advertising plan should include social media and some form of hard copy ads in local papers and magazines.

 

The public relations plan should focus on encouraging regular gallery patrons of the art. Successful art galleries often choose activities for patrons like a “wine and cheese” art collectors’ and buyers’ soiree. Don’t be afraid to start gallery events with a program by professionals in art restorations and identifying valuable works of art.

 

Collectors and Buyers – The Lifeblood of a Startup Art Gallery

Obviously, without art collectors and buyers, a gallery’s finances suffer. Before the Grand Opening, create a list of potential collectors and buyers for the type of works of art that will be on display.

 

Art Conservation 101

Art conservation is the preservation of artwork. Curators of art museums try to appropriate works of art they feel will encourage greater patronage. In some cases, these art museum curators require the services of highly experienced, professional art conservators. Generally, this occurs when artwork has been found to be of considerable value in estate sales and through art dealers who do not want to repair damaged artwork.

 

The Unique Skills and Talents of Art Conservation

In addition to repairing damaged works of art, the skills and talents of professional art conservators requires them to visit art museums to ensure great works of art remain in top condition in an uncompromising environment.

 

To show the depth of importance of art conservators, these professionals all adhere to “Guidelines and Standards of Practice” as set forth by the professional organization, AIC (American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works).

 

Thus, an art conservator is experienced in proper pest and climate control, museum facility security and a broad knowledge of original artists’ use of color and design. These professionals must be able to detect an “overpaint” of a famous work of art and recover the original painting hidden beneath the overpainted artwork.

 

Tools of the Art Conservation Trade

In order to properly conserve artwork for preservation purposes, proper tools are needed by conservators. These include small implements like erasers, spatulas, tweezers, bone folders and cotton swabs. These tools help the conservator preserve works of art with such details as to appear untouched by other than the original artist. They also require a handheld black light to uncover “overpaints.”

 

Why is Art Conservation Important?

To understand the underlying factors of art conservation, it is important to study art value. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, generates a large patronage as a result of changing art exhibitions regularly to attract public interest.

 

An art conservator is required to store and lock away valuable pieces of art at this museum to make room for these displayed exhibits. The job of the art conservator is to properly transport works like 18th Century pastels, DaVinci, Matisse or Monet paintings, works of art from privately owned collections or those that are specially commissioned.

Conserving works of art is of primary importance in order to create the durability of artwork and also to preserve a continuance of the love of art for future generations.