Becoming An Art Dealer
Becoming An Art Dealer
Michelle D'Souza (Art dealer) gives expert video advice on: What does an art dealer do?; How do you become an art dealer?; What advice would you give to an aspiring art dealer? and more...
What does an art dealer do?
We work primarily with living artists and represent their work, organize exhibitions for them, and basically manage their career. The same way a publishing agent would be for a writer.
Is being an art dealer a full time job?
It can be as full time or as part time as you wish. But if you're working with artists, living artists like we do, it is pretty much full time.
Is there any specific training to become an art dealer?
The best training you could do is just work in a gallery or with an art dealer for experience. That's the best experience one could possibly get. That's what I did, and I think that's what most people do before the set off on their own.
Do you need a masters degree?
You don't, but it probably puts you in better stead if you do have one. Everyone who works at this gallery, pretty much 90 percent, has a master's degree. A bachelor's degree in art history is ample, but it does help if you have a master's degree.
What roles can you combine with being an art gallery dealer?
A lot of people curate as well. They're curators, seeing how they curate exhibitions, either on a freelance basis or for mueseums, so you could do the two, or you could also be a collector.
Do you have to have an interest in art to become an art dealer?
I think it is an area where passion helps. Yes, I do think it's much better if you actually love art. It's not necessarily always the most lucrative career to embark on, so it does help if you love it. For me, I certainly decided to go into the art world, because I love art. More particularly, I love working with artists. So, that's why I work in a primary gallery, as opposed to working with an art dealer who just buys and sells art.
Do you have to have been an artist to be an art dealer?
Not at all. Not at all. The actual owner of the Lisson Gallery, Nicholas Logsdail was an artist. And often it helps but you don't have to be an artist, no.
What advice would you give to an aspiring art dealer?
Go and study art history. If possible, get a master's degree in curating and/or museum studies, and then go work in a gallery. Get experience in a gallery, or work with an art dealer for at least three to five years. I would say five years minimum before you set up on your own, if that's what you wished.