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Who is an Art Dealer?

One of the most market-oriented figures in the art world are, definitely, art dealers. Their role is to buy, sell and exchange works of art. Armed with a range of transversal skills, they work for artists and, more often, for collectors, art galleries and art institutions.

What do Art Dealers do?

The spectrum of responsibilities of an art dealer ranges from art works appraisal to negotiation and mediation with the involved parties. Equally central are advisory services provided to private individuals, companies or public bodies. Here again, their consultancy focuses on the opportunity to purchase a certain work or the definition of its economic value. Last but not least, and no less interesting than the previous ones, these professionals engage in an artist’s promotion and may collaborate with other figures (e.g. curator and critic) to spread the artist’s work.

What skills must an Art Dealer have?

An Art Dealer's exposure to the art world and market requires widespread knowledge, briefly listed below.

Art market awareness: art dealers must have a thorough knowledge of and keep up-to-date on trends, prices and buying-selling conditions.
Appraisal skills: art dealers must be able to assess the likely value of an artwork, according to a number of variables (e.g. supply / demand balance, state of preservation, etc.).

Technical knowledge: these professionals must be able to recognise artwork, artists’ works and their place in art history.

Soft skills: business skills (persuasion skills, negotiation skills and customer relationship management), organisational skills (ability to manage and organise transactions as well as events), networking (essential is a network of contacts in the art world including artists, collectors, art critics and curators).

How to become an Art Dealer?

The skills mentioned in the previous paragraph must be acquired through an educational and training path. From art history to business studies, these are the disciplinary areas that, more than others, orient the career. NABA offers a comprehensive educational proposal starting from the Three-year BA programme in Painting and Visual Arts. Here, in fact, the foundations are laid for reading and understanding artworks, as well as positioning them in their socio-economic context. Students may then carry on with a Two-year Specialising Course or an Academic Master Course. Particularly appropriate is the one in Contemporary Art Markets - an intensive one-year course providing effective tools to understand art market procedures, with a focus on contemporary languages. No less important, studying at NABA favours the network of contacts that is crucial for this profession.

What to study to become an Art Dealer?

Three-year BA Programme in Painting and Visual Arts

Academic Master in Contemporary Art Markets