ART CONSULTANCY: Collecting contemporary art

Starting a contemporary art collection can be an intimidating prospect. In a diverse market selecting out what seems like the best buy in terms of personal satisfaction, a piece you are content to live with, might not be the best value for money. Contrary to current trends, where it is thought generally a big budget is key, foresight and market knowledge still tends to bring about the most satisfying result. Historically there have been private art collections begun from relatively humble beginnings by a dedicated individual, who with the right outlook, bought what they could afford and what they enjoyed looking at from artists who had been dismissed or overlooked by art professionals of the day.

It may not be so easy now to disinguish between an artist who is going places, and one who has benefitted from speculative market manipulation. The art world is that much bigger, there is much more financial incentive to form cartels among less scrupulous art dealers and gallerists, and with a financially dependent museum sector, public sector collections are not what they used to be.

C&C  can help you put an art collection together without depleting your financial resources and will help to avoid the pitfalls. Even the most decisive and experienced collectors make errors. Working with a consultant can help you avoid that, which really helps take the pressure off your budget.

You will need to establish the parameters of where your interests are, how that may coincide with your life's goals and what your aims for the collection are. This encompasses developing areas of artistic interest to suit your personal taste, a particular budget and an ideological or ethical preference you may wish to see represented. You will need to know about the benefits of installating and maintaining an art collection for display, whether that is in a domestic situation, a garden or park, or a dedicated space indoors.

C&C will advise you on setting up the approporiate storage conditions and provide a digital cataloguing service. We can help you set up and operate exhibition loan liaison for larger collections and give relevant advice about strengthening or developing areas of specialty for more established private and corporate collections.


    Why engage an art consultant?
    Collecting art can be a hugely rewarding activity, it is social and stimulating, creatively involving and it can be financially worthwhile too. However, those first steps can involve a little trial and error. It doesn't matter how dynamic, decisive you feel you are, a well-informed art consultant can save a collector a lot of wasted time, money and effort. We can help smooth your path toward the more pleasurable part, setting a direction that will be more satisfying in the long-term, instead of enduring the pitfalls and sense of uncertainty brought about by sporadic purchases.

    Scoping out your area of interest
    • Refining and selecting an area of interest for your collection.
    • Coordinating museum and artist studio visits.
    • Researching secondary market sources for work identified as ‘of interest’ in commercial galleries, other collections and auction houses.
    • Searching for likely primary market sources at commercial art fairs, and as there are so many of these now, we can advise on those fairs that are more likely to be of genuine interest.

    Overseeing aspects of managing a collection
    • Displaying a contemporary collection: C&C can lend a well-trained eye to installing individual pieces as well as a whole collection. These need not be purpose built and can be in a domestic setting. We are used to installing contemporary art in unusual settings and so there are not many situations where we have not been able to find a suitable context for a piece of art.
    • Valuation and assessment: As values rise and fall the art market throws up opportunities to purchase new work and to sell art works from a collection that have risen in value, helping to take pressure off the financial commitment a collection can involve.
    • Collection management: If an artist’s work is becoming particularly sort after, often museums and other institutions will contact a collector and request access to particular key pieces. This suits the collector as it increases the value of a work, extending the provenance of the piece and the museum often accesses the best work an artist has produced at any given moment in their career. However it can be surprisingly time consuming to do this and we can help manage this process.
    • Our collection management services include: arranging transport or shipping; freight forwarding for international exhibitions and keeping track of a collection’s inventory; ensuring pieces return after a loan period without attracting any physical damage, avoiding unnecessary transport or handling costs and attaining the correct import/export licences.
    • Creating a digital and paper archive: We will assemble the necessary visual material and accompanying documentation like proof of purchase invoices or authentication certificates.

    Managing and coordinating a commission
    Whether you are an individual looking for a unique piece for your home, or an experienced collector short on time, we can help you source an artist or maker and commission something nobody else will have, successfully.

    There is of course nothing to stop you from commissioning an artist yourself however our involvement reduces the potential for any uncertainty during the commissioning process. You will become part of the creative process and we will do most of the legwork by coordinating the project to suit your exact requirements.

    We set the scope of the project with you by compiling a brief, talking through the outcomes you would like to see, that will be addressed in some detail in a written proposal setting out a budget and the time-scale for production and delivery.

    Once the proposal has been agreed and formally signed off by the commissioner:
    • The commissioned work will be described with confirmed dimensions,
    • Confirmation of proposed materials to be used,
    • Final price and payment terms,
    • Production schedule and agreed final delivery dates,
    • The installation site or delivery address shall be confirmed.