Watch Now: Art Advisory 101 - Live Online Module with Annelien Bruins

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The following is a sample from the live and interactive Q&A sessions with Annelien Bruins in Module 6 of Art Advisory 101.

For someone with no previous experience, would you recommend someone to do an internship and gain work experience or dive right into setting up one's own business?

Annelien Bruins: Well, you know what, I always feel that the art world is very competitive. I generally feel that getting some work experience or doing an internship will help you to decide if art advisory or, in fact, any other career in the art market that you are interested in pursuing, doing an internship or getting work experience will allow you to try it out relatively risk free, before you dive into setting up your own business.

It depends a little bit on the person. If you've set up a business before and you know how it works, you know all the work that goes into it, perhaps, you'd feel more comfortable diving straight in, so to speak, but I definitely think it would also be smart to make sure that art advisory is really what you want to do and really understand it on a very basic, pragmatic day to day level. I would probably recommend that you figure out what it's all about before you go through the effort of setting up your own business.

Do I need an art degree to be an art advisor?

Annelien Bruins: I think that you don't, but that doesn't mean that having an art degree isn't extremely helpful. There's been plenty of examples in the art market where people have started working at the bottom and just worked their way up and gotten a huge number of years of expertise and experience in the area that they specialize in. Do I think it's necessary? No. Do I think it's something that's very helpful to you? Yes. Do I think that'll make it easier for you to stand out in a competitive market? Yes, absolutely.

Again, it's not a straight yes or no answer. It just depends on you, personally, and how much time you have available yourself to educate yourself or whether you feel that more formal education do the job better for you. Thank you for the question.

Does the content of this course apply to any jurisdiction or only to the US?

Annelien Bruins: That's a really good question. I have put together this course with the US in mind as that is where we are based, so it does not apply to other jurisdiction such as London or Europe. As this is a 101 course, pretty much introducing you to the basics of art advisory, we decided that it wouldn't be helpful to be too specific in terms of every different jurisdiction that you may come across. For sure, do your research and if you need to, make sure to consult a lawyer who is well-versed in the art world.

What was your scariest moment from your early years in this field?

Annelien Bruins: I was terrified of touching anything. I was just so scared to touch anything that had a really high value and luckily, with experience, you get used to looking after and handling very, very expensive, fragile objects, but I say that that was my- it's not really a horror story, but you have to get used to working, or at least I did, you have to get used to working with very valuable objects and cataloging them and seeing them come out of a crate, which is always really fun.

I feel really very lucky about the art career that I've been able to have over the last 20 years. It's been really, really fun. I've learned a tremendous amount and being able to give some of that knowledge back to other art advisors is a great thing to be able to do. I'm grateful that I have that opportunity.

I have been advising for three years and would be interested in courses for more established advisors as a next step. Any plans for such a program?

Annelien Bruins: Actually, we do have plans for that program because as we started developing this program and as we sent out a survey to you guys and you all let us know what you wanted to learn about and what the challenging aspects of your careers are, we got a lot of comments about private sales transactions, about how to set up the business that we've incorporated in this course, but we realized that we just didn't have enough time to cover everything in a lot of details. What we'd like to do is set up a program that's a little bit more advanced for art advisors that either have done the first course or have been in the profession for a number of years, so stay tuned because I think we'll be putting something like that together. Thanks, Ursula.

Thank you so much for this program. It's so necessary to set a benchmark in this field.

Annelien Bruins: Thank you so much, JV. I feel like-- First of all, I'm very pleased that you enjoyed the program and that you found it helpful. Second of all, I'm really glad that you feel the same way that we do, which is, yes, it's super helpful for advisors to have some kind of benchmark on how you should work or how ideally you would work to protect your clients interests but also to really look after yourself because it's not always easy operating on your own in a market where there is no strict guidelines on how to operate.

I think the key for us in putting together this program was really, and I feel this personally very strongly, is that there's absolutely no reason not to be transparent with your clients. There's absolutely no reason why there has to be opaque commission structures or why your clients shouldn't understand what they're paying for and also, it's a sign of the times that, I think, is a very positive thing.

Consumers are much more able to get information online, in any industry, in healthcare, in travel, in real estate. It may not always be exactly right or there may be more to it than the information suggests or that the information gives away, but the bottom line is they're better informed, they're better able to ask questions and they are questioning the relationship or the relationships that were very common in the art world for a very long time. That's a good thing because there's many, many fantastic art advisors out there. I have a large number of really talented and professional and honest colleagues and it's important that those ways of working are communicated to the next generation of advisors. Thank you.

Do you have your own questions for Annelien? All registrants of Art Advisory 101 have an opportunity to attend a selection of live and interactive online sessions with Annelien and fellow participants.