Art Dealer Jobs

Have you ever found yourself wandering around an art museum or gallery staring at art? Maybe you found your head tilted sideways with a look of wonder on your face? Did you know why that art was hanging on the walls of famous museums or on stands at the local gallery? If you’ve ever wondered these things, you may want to consider a job as an art dealer.

Art dealers are able to look at art and know if it’s hot or not. A professional art dealer can tell you what makes art stand out and why a piece of art is of high quality – and they get paid for their ability to do this.

It’s a job that requires a trained eye.

Most art dealers have a bachelor’s degree in Art History, but many have a master’s degree. Art dealers develop their own niche. This is what helps an art dealer become an expert. They may study glass blowing, photography, tribal art, painting, drawing, or any other fantastic form. They may even be more specific and have a focused knowledge of wood carving in the Pacific Northwest. This niche knowledge allows them to be successful.

As an art expert, they then take on the role of buying art from artists and reselling it to highbrow, sophisticated clientele around the world. By staying on top of the form and anticipating trends, art dealers can develop relationships with both artists and consumers. In a way they are like an agent for an artist – setting up exhibits, putting art in galleries, finding buyers. It is an immense power to be able to make or break a struggling artist.

The art market tends to ebb and flow with the worldwide economy. If people don’t have disposable income, they certainly won’t buy extraneous art. Being able and ready to ride out hard times is important. It is also important to look at the business side of art – long hours, negotiations, starving artists, and uber wealthy buyers ultimately comes down to the fact of…resale price to consumer minus purchase price from the artist equals can I afford to eat this week?

The key to being an art dealer is a passion for art. In order to find a job, most people put in their time learning from other art dealers in local galleries, working as an assistant in an art auction house, or working in a prominent art museum. An art dealer may start their career by finding long lost art in neighborhood yard sale, but may peak when they are valuing art at international auction houses.
Most art dealer jobs involve traveling to meet new artists and buyers. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself working in a big city art auction house in places like London or New York. By doing a quick Google search, you’ll find numerous art dealer associations. Also, find jobs in museums in a different section of JobMonkey. There are plenty of places with hot art scenes…Denver, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Portland, Fort Worth, and Milwaukee to name a few.

Some art dealers may enjoy mixing their art career with hobbies like skiing, surfing, or living the island life. There are plenty of sweet art galleries in vacation hotspots like Aspen, San Juan Islands, or North Shore, Oahu. These may have a more laid back vibe where an art dealer can support local artists appealing to the open pocket books of tourists searching for memories.

Art dealers have a cool gig. On average they can pull in about $60,000 a year, usually commissions on their sales. The job can definitely have its ups and downs, but art will always be there.

Quick Facts About Dealing Art

Job Title: Art Dealer
Office: Galleries, Auctions
Description: Buy and sell art
Certifications/Education: Bachelor or Master Degree in Art History
Necessary Skills: Knowledge of art
Potential Employers: Art Galleries, Auction Houses
Pay: $60,000

Helpful Links:
Art Dealers Association of America
Antique Tribal Art Dealers Association
Fine Art Dealers Association
Association of International Photography Art Dealers
Private Art Dealers Association
Art Association Listing

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