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Art Dealer

What They Do

Insider Info

Want to buy a painting? Then you might want to talk to an art dealer. Art dealers buy and sell paintings, sculptures and other works of art. They scout out the best artistic works and display them in their galleries.

There are many different types of art out there. Many art dealers specialize in a period, style or type of art or sculpture.

Art dealers buy and sell paintings. That means being able to negotiate with artists. Art dealers meet with an artist at their galleries. Sometimes they travel to the artist's workshop, or go to art auctions to find particular pieces.

"You have to be able to deal with artistic temperaments," says Wendy Wong, an art dealer.

Art dealing is about finding and getting the best price for a work. That means that art dealers are often shrewd businesspeople.

In addition, art dealers spend much of their time networking. They spend hours on the phone and in meetings with artists and clients, trying to find a painting that matches their taste.

From ancient Greek vases to contemporary art, the world is filled with all types of art. Art dealers need to be experts, so they generally specialize in a certain period and style of art.

Art dealers often work in and operate their own art galleries. Some sell their works from private offices. Some work for large art galleries and auction houses. Many are located in larger city centers such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto.

An art dealer can operate her gallery on a regular schedule, such as 9 to 5 on weekdays. Most are open at least one day on the weekend. Plus, art dealers attend evening art showings, auctions and gala events for artists.

"You can work long hours to get your business started," says art dealer Janette Langmann.

Dealing in art isn't a physically challenging job. However, many art dealers travel a great deal. They may have to drive to meet with a local artist or hop on a plane to meet with potential clients or attend art sales.

At a Glance

Scout out the best artistic works

  • Art dealers often work in and operate their own art galleries
  • There are lots of opportunities, but it is a competitive field
  • An advanced degree in art management is good