“Lots of people travel in monied circles and they don’t actually know anything except what was in the magazines last week,” says Basilico.
Art Adviser Stefano Basilico is describing the number of “art advisers” flooding the market now that galleries and auction houses are shedding jobs to Georgina Adam in The Art Newspaper’s daily Art Basel edition. But he could well be talking about some of the clientele. There was shortage of art advisers stalking the fairs during the art boom. Those personal shoppers may be gone but it would appear that a new group of down-sized advisers is taking their place:
“With the auction houses and galleries letting staff go, we are seeing many more people setting up,” says Gérard Goodrow of Galerie Kewenig[….]
And they are trying to take a slice of the action:
“You have to be very careful,” says Goodrow. “They come to your stand, reserve pieces, take jpegs and then shop them around, adding 20%. Then another agent takes them on and adds another 20%. Pretty soon your work of art is being offered around at double the price.” He cites the case of an abstract Gerhard Richter at Art Cologne, tagged at €2.2m. By the time it had passed through various advisers it ended up at €4.5m before finally selling for €2.5m. Another questionable practice is “double dipping”, when the adviser is taking a cut from both his client and the vendor.
Inside the World of the Art Adviser (The Art Newspaper)