Demystifying The Art World


Defining the beholder whose eye is in question.

Art spans many purposes depending on who is being asked. Art memorializes a segment of cultural history, it validates intellectual curiosity, and it can provide decoration for a collector's home. This intent and drive behind the creation of work and the purchase of work results in an economic engine for the global elite and the basis of the art world.

It can be difficult to understand the art world, with its myriad of stakeholders, institutions, and supply and demand. In this session with John Wolf, Peggy Hollander and William Richmond-Watson, we'll peel back layers of the art world from a marketplace perspective as well as from an institutional and historical context. By the end, you will have a better sense of your place in this diverse landscape.

The Marketplace Perspective

When most people think of the art world, they envision stuffy auction houses and million-dollar paintings. And while that is certainly one part of the art world, it is far from the only part. In reality, the art world is a complex web of relationships between artists, galleries, collectors, advisors, curators, and more. Each party plays a vital role in ensuring that art is able to move smoothly through the ecosystem.

How do Artists Work with Gallerists?

On one end of the spectrum are artists who create works that they then sell to galleries. The relationship between artist and gallery is one built on trust; galleries provide much-needed exposure and promotion for artists, while artists provide quality works that will help drive sales and reputation for the gallery. Once an artist's work is sold to a collector through a gallery, it generally speaking doesn't re-enter the market for decades, if not longer. That's why it's so important for artists to carefully consider which galleries they want to work with - it's a decision that can have a major impact on their career potential down the line.

How do Art Advisors Work with Art Collectors?

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum are art advisors who work with clients - typically corporations or high net worth individuals - to source and purchase art for their collections. Advisors are experts in navigating the often confusing and always changing world of contemporary art; they know which artists and galleries are reputable, which ones are up-and-coming, and which trends are about to take off. While many people believe that you need deep pockets to get involved in collecting art, that simply isn't true - anyone can enlist the help of an advisor to start building a collection that fits both their budget and taste.

What's the Importance of Art Institutions?

In addition to marketplace players like artists, galleries, collectors, and advisors, there are also numerous institutions that play a vital role in shaping the art world as we know it today. Museums serve as factories of sorts for preserving works and organizing them into exhibitions that tell stories about specific periods or styles in history; these exhibitions then travel around the globe, giving people everywhere access to some of the most iconic pieces of artwork ever created. Universities play a similar role by training future generations of artists, historians, curators - who will go on to shape both institutions and marketplaces alike. And nonprofits help promote arts education and awareness by holding festivals, performances, and other events throughout the year.

Watch John Wolf, Peggy Hollander and William Richmond-Watson

This session features a discussion between Peggy Hollander, the founder and managing partner of The Succession Group, John Wolf, founder of John Wolf Fine Art, and William Richmond-Watson, the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Watson & Company. Together, they will engage in a dialogue that will assist the audience in understanding their place in the diverse landscape of the art world.

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Peggy Hollander

Peggy M. Hollander is the founder and managing partner of The Succession Group. Under her leadership, The Succession Group has gained widespread recognition for its capabilities in creating innovative, customized, insurance-related wealth-transfer and multi-generational business succession plans for an exclusive roster of high-net-worth individuals, families, and affluent business owners.For...

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John Wolf

John Wolf is a global art advisor at the helm of his firm, which assists private collectors, institutions and corporations in creating outstanding collections of contemporary art. Through private brokerage and his myriad relationships with artists, galleries and collectors around the world he gains access for his clients to buy the best quality works of art. His firm’s goal in the...

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William Richmond-Watson

William Richmond-Watson Founder, Chief Creative Officer of Watson & Company William opened Watson & Company in 2008, a namesake luxury branding and advertising agency. With a unified team of talented, strong-willed and culturally attuned visionaries, it quickly became known as one of the top agencies on the East Coast for its expertise in high-end real estate. William believes the...

Meet the Expert