Fact Checked

How Do I Choose the Best Fine Art Dealer?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson

To choose the best fine art dealer, a good first step might be to use resources provided by an association that brings together reputable dealers. It also can be important to determine which kinds of art you are interested in collecting. Art dealers commonly specialize in selling works from a particular region or time period. For example, if you would like to collect 19th century British art, your best bet would be to locate a fine art dealer who is knowledgeable of related art movements. If you have friends or acquaintances who also collect art, you may want to consult them since they might know of qualified professionals in your area.

A fine art dealer is a professional who appraises and sells works of art. Some dealers specialize in contemporary art. These professionals might visit new galleries and meet with working artists whose work they believe have value. Other dealers might specialize in older works. Professionals in this field tend to have both a strong knowledge of art history and a keen business sense.

Woman painting
Woman painting

When looking for a fine art dealer, you should be sure that you are considering only professionals who have a good reputation. While most dealers are legitimate and aim to provide collectors with works in which they might be interested and which are valuable, there are some dealers who might engage in unethical practices. Some organizations, such as the Fine Art Dealers Association (FADA) in the United States, allow only qualified dealers to become members. These kinds of associations provide lists of member dealers, along with galleries and collectors to whom they've sold, and art movements in which they specialize.

Many people become interested in art collecting because they have friends or coworkers who collect. If this is the case, you might want to ask your acquaintances for advice regarding which fine art dealer might be best for you. Remember that a fine art dealer often specializes in a certain kind of art, so you may need to do some research prior to finding the right one.

Another good idea for choosing the best fine art dealer is to frequent galleries, auctions, and events where there are art professionals. Art collecting can be very personal, and some of the best decisions might be made through developing relationships with others who are interested in the field. The more you learn about the workings of the art world, the more likely you are to find an art dealer who shares your tastes.

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Discussion Comments


I have a Peter Lik collection I'm looking to sell. Any interest?


I am looking to collect some fine art photography but I have no idea where to look to find dealers who specialize in this area. Is there some kind of professional association that I can go through? Are there any kind of online resources that might help me narrow my search?


It is not always easy to get a recommendation for a fine art dealer, but working with someone who comes recommend can be a huge help when finding the art you want.

There are a lot of fine art brokers out there and some are better than others. In fact, some of them are plain old crooks. If you can separate the wheat from the chaff before you start spending money you are likely to be more satisfied.


Most fine art dealers specialize in something. It is either one artist, or a medium like sculpture, or a time period like the Renaissance, or a theme like landscapes. You should decide what kind of art you are looking for and contact a dealer who specializes in that kind of art.

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