Professional intermediaries play an important role in facilitating the sale of works of art. Dealers and auctioneers have dominated the art market since the 17th century and over time have been joined by other professional intermediaries, such as galleries and art advisors.
Today most art transactions involve at least one or more of these intermediaries. Direct sales between a seller and a buyer are less common. For high-value transactions, several intermediaries are often involved in the sale chain between the ultimate seller and the ultimate buyer.
Where the existence, role and/or remuneration of intermediaries in a transaction is not disclosed to the underlying client or “principal” (be they a seller or a buyer), problems can arise.
What are the aims of this toolkit?
The purpose of these Guidelines is therefore to:
- Highlight the important roles played by Intermediaries in facilitating sales of works of art;
- Identify risks and issues which Intermediaries can encounter; and
- Provide a practical tool kit of measures Intermediaries can take to avoid or mitigate such risksand issues.
Who should follow these guidelines?
An “Intermediary” is a person who acts as a link between people to bring about an agreement1.
These Guidelines are principally aimed at professional art market intermediaries who transact or facilitate the sale of works of art. These include dealers, galleries, auction houses and art advisors.
Other professionals involved in art transactions (including experts, lawyers, and other advisors) as well as collectors considering appointing an Intermediary to sell or acquire an artwork on their behalf, may also find these Guidelines helpful.