Ask A Gallerist: How do I find a good art dealer?
How do I find a good art dealer?
A good art dealer may or may not own a gallery, but that is a good place to start. Dealers have their own personalities and it may take time to find a good match. One should feel welcome when entering a gallery. A smart gallery owner will not prejudge whether the folks walking in the door are buyers or not. A gallery that has been in business a long time has a history. The gallery business is very tough. It takes good management, and good relationships with both artists and buyers to keep a gallery going. It provides work in keeping with the tastes of the community. A good dealer will have extensive knowledge about art and should be able to discuss style medium, history, provenance and more about the people represented. A gallery owner should be able to educate others about art in a conversational way. If a gallery owner is snobbish, walk away.
When interested in a particular piece, there should be resume and additional information on paper to be given out. Reliable regional galleries will let a potential buyer take the piece or pieces home to try out. This is of course, with the buyer's credit card on hand. Good dealers make friends with buyers and establish a very trusting relationship. Circumstances are different when you are traveling and not likely to visit that town again soon. One should never feel pressured into buying a piece. A good question for the buyer might be, “Will I regret not buying this piece and will I love it 5 years from now”. A good dealer will provide for a payment plan, usually a third down and two additional payments.