5 Questions with Bianca Cutait, Senior Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art at Bonhams - PART 1

Apr 23, 2024

We were thrilled when Bianca enthusiastically agreed to contribute to our latest ArtCollect program. And here’s why. She has such a diverse work experience in the fields of art and culture – having held roles in many different aspects of the industry on three different continents. So, we knew she had a lot to bring to the table.

Before joining Bonhams in 2022, Bianca founded the international art advisory firm Arte Fundamental with a gallery in Miami, exhibiting American and Latin American artists as well as NFTs and digital art. And many of you have read her pieces on the art market that Bianca has written for Robb Report Brazil, Forbes, Vogue, and other major publications.

But we still had so many questions to ask her. So, we did…

Currently, you source artworks and assist clients with their collecting decisions. So, we’d love to know, in your opinion, what makes a great art collection?

A great art collection always consists of pieces the owners love and cannot live without once they are made aware of its’ existence. I have seen collectors sigh when looking at their pieces. Any art collection, or any collection for that matter, must fit the budget of its owner, and it evolves with time and is adapted to the reality of the current moment. It can also be perceived as an investment and, as such, it must start at the financial planning to achieve a goal. Basically, a great art collection is formed out of love with a goal that fits your pocket.

Having worked in different realms of the industry, starting as an artist, then becoming an advisor, a gallerist and now a specialist at auction, where do you most prefer to buy art: galleries, online platforms, art fairs, or auctions?

I believe we can buy art at those four places, plus I will add a fifth option. Galleries are the seal of approval that shows an artist is consistent enough with their work, while also caring for the artist’s career, which I appreciate as a former artist myself and as a former gallerist as well. Online platforms are a great way of comparing different artists with different mediums and at different galleries, which comes back again to the seal of approval and even curatorship. Art fairs, on the other hand, are the best way to interact with the galleries and maybe even the artists and, again, compare. These 3 first options are all primary market ways of buying.

Auctions, however, are the big opportunity gateway to start understanding the market as a whole and make more educated purchases. I personally started selling and buying at auctions and have not stopped since.

Now, the fifth option is buying directly from artists, and while it can be risky (knowing that the artist may not thrive professionally) it can also be fun, and they might end up being a tremendous success with a gallery to back them up, eventually.

How do you stay up-to-date with market trends and item valuations?

I study a lot and keep myself updated with the art portals which provide current sales results. It is so important to know what happens year after year, season after season, and how trends are affected. I personally love going to gallery openings and museums, and I love reading art publications. I watch live auctions almost as much as Netflix!

Now that’s the “real” reality TV! Let’s see if I can challenge your memory here, considering you’ve attended endless shows and auctions over the years. Which was the first that blew your mind?

So many exhibitions and art shows have blown my mind, as well as live auctions that were historical, such as the Leonardo da Vinci, which sold at Christie’s for $450,000,000. When I was around 12 years old, I went to a photographic exhibition in Brazil by Sebastião Salgado and I got emotional, then learning that when you get that reaction you have something called Stendhal Syndrome, which makes you cry at the sight of something beautiful. It has happened to me a few times since. I ugly cried when I saw a show by Group Zero at the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul in 2016. They are my personal favorite artists collective of all times.

Now, the first time I was on the phone tables at auction making a sale was very impactful for me too, and my first ever piece sold was a work by Brazilian artist Adriana Varejão (as a Brazilian myself, it was a total coincidence).

Love that! OK, you're contributing to the recently released ArtCollect online program! Can you provide a quick synopsis of what participants can expect to learn in your module?

In this module, participants can learn how auctions work from the most basic perspective to the highest level of bidding, while navigating real stories and the excitement of building a collection as an investment or as a business. The regulations that suit and surround the auction world make it the most interesting part of the industry in my opinion, and people can expect emotion at every step of the process.

Find out more about Bianca here and keep an eye out for Part 2 of this interview!


Bianca Cutait

Bianca Cutait is a Senior Specialist for Bonhams Post-War & Contemporary Art department in Miami. She sources artworks and assists clients in Miami and Latin America.

Before joining Bonhams in 2022, Bianca founded the international art advisory firm Arte Fundamental with a gallery in Miami, exhibiting American and Latin American artists as well as NFTs and digital art. She previously...

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