Do Art Dealers care more about money than being a part of the art world?

As a part of my gold arts award I have chosen to research the question 'Do art dealers care more about money than being apart of the art world?'. 

Gold Arts Award- Do Art Dealers care more about money than being apart of the art world?

Since the Italian Renaissance era, Art Dealers have acted as intermediaries between artists and  art galleries everywhere. Originally, their role was to help artists build relationships with galleries, in order to sell their extraordinary pieces. However, in our modern society Art Dealers pose a risk to existing and future artists, due to our growing greed for amassing wealth and the competitive urge to succeed. As a result of this, this question is at the forefront of every selling artists mind - do Art Dealers care more about money?

Prior to my research, I understood that being an emerging Artist today is harder than ever before. One of the reasons is the pressure that Art Dealers put on them to fill a quota each week. On, Loren.D. Adams Jr is buyer of art, who has dealt with Art Dealers for the last fifty three years. From his experience, he outlines that Art Dealers want at least '6-10 art pieces in a week’ or they wouldn’t even consider business with an Artist. This is because the Artist becomes more promotable, and therefore sells more art pieces, resulting in more profit. Of course the Artist and Art Dealer both benefit financially from this, but the Art Dealer only gets a percentage of what the Artist gets. Therefore, some Dealers are known to mass produce copies of an Artists work in factories and according to Adams Jr sell them as ‘certified genuine, one of a kind, originals’. This way the Art Dealer makes more profit. In my opinion this reduces the value, and therefore the influence the piece has in the world. Furthermore, by Dealers having a high demand, not only is the artists mental health going to suffer,  but they could miss out on a chance to represent a revolutionary artist. This could be someone whose art inspires people and changes the way we view a certain issue. Whether that be race, gender or the environment. 

Arguably, the mass production of an image does increase the amount of people who view it, perhaps adding to any sensation and influence the piece may have. For Example, literature is also considered a type of art. It is mass produced by publishers to generate a profit, but does this take away the impact that the play, novel or poem has on us? Looking at the prominent novel ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone' written by JK Rowling, the answer could clearly be no. As even forty years after the original was released, copies are still being bought and enjoyed by adults and children alike. However, when taking sculptures, arrangements and paintings into account, surely social media can promote these pieces? Without the need for Art Dealers to be involved. Considerably social media could put an end to physical galleries and the need for Art Dealers in our modern society, as we cannot be expected to live by the same rules that Artists did in the Renaissance era. In opposition to this, social media platforms are huge. Therefore, although many Artists can use it to promote their work, perhaps this makes it harder for them to get recognition due to the diversity of the Artists online.  

Furthermore, it is important to understand why Art Dealers become Art Dealers. On, an article explores the benefits and drawbacks of this career. Ultimately, people become Art Dealers because they have a passion for art, and it’s this personality trait that makes them successful. This career is very competitive, as you are trying to get as much recognition for your Artist as possible, therefore you need that drive and motivation to succeed. If you believe in your Artist then money should not be a reason to support them. This is made blatantly clear on The main reason for this is without that passion, the job will become dull, as the art is not interesting. This concludes that the majority of Art Dealers have a genuine passion and love for all kinds of Artists, and therefore they can be proven a benefit to the art industry. This hypothesis is supported by the experiences of Artist Iona Rowland who agrees that ‘there are different profiles of Art Dealers’. Interestingly, Rowland comments that ‘ a balance must be stuck between the two’ types of art dealer :the ones ‘who are focused solely on commerce and monetising art’ and those who ‘are driven by a love for art and visual culture’. She also brings to mind the work of Steve Lazarides and states that he ‘has gotten the balance just right’ by ‘providing a platform for street artists whose work he admires, whilst coming up with new and innovative ways to commercialise this style of work’. 

In conclusion, I believe that it depends on the type of person the Art Dealer is. One could hold a genuine passion and love for exploring different Artists, whilst another may use an Artist’s talent, and exploit them for money. To be successful and able to find fulfilment as an Art Dealer, I do strongly believe that it is important to find a balance between passion and wealth, in order to do what’s best for the Artist you represent.  Therefore, it is understandable why social media is a preferable way of promoting new art pieces to the world, as it is simpler and easier to use, as well as being self controlled. However, it is still hard to get recognition especially for aspiring Artists who want to make a name for themselves. This is the problem that both forms of  Art Dealing invoke, and I for one believe that is not going to change anytime soon, due to competition and the rapidly growing art industry. 


rebekah hendricks

rebekah hendricks

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  • Hitchin Girls' School

    On 21 July 2022, 20:08 Hitchin Girls' School commented:

    You make some interesting points about mass production and ownership here Rebekah. What are your thoughts on the recent NFT trend? Do you think this could offset the greed of Arts Dealersby giving artists more ownership over how they sell their work? Or is it another avenue through which they can make money through countless variations of the same image?

  • rebekah hendricks

    On 21 July 2022, 21:40 rebekah hendricks commented:

    I believe that non fungible tokens are a great way for both growing artists and established artists to maintain the ownership of their work, whilst offering the NFT to buyers and investors. In this way, the necessity for art dealers diminishes because the artist can appeal straight to the buyer. Additionally, blockchain technology maintains the artist's control on fees and their own I.P. Whilst artists average a 5- 10% royalty, NFT's are brilliant for artists to limit the copying and reselling of their artwork illegitimately, preventing countless variations of the same image. This is done by the Digital file (eg.jpeg) being reduced to tokens, preventing fraud.
    However, NFT'S still come with their issues. Any technological platform is vulnerable to scams and fallacious pieces of artwork. To deal with this I can only advise users to be careful when buying or investing money into anything online.
    Finally, although NFT's benefit artists in many ways, I personally am concerned for the future of physical galleries due to the fast pace of the digital era. Thereby leaving the questions, will galleries be left in the dust? And how can we integrate the digital era into our galleries?

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