How to become an Art Expert ?

How to become an Art Expert

The title of Art Expert is difficult to apprehend as it is based on knowledge fleshed out by experience of objects and works, but also of their value. If the art expert can have different jobs, there are nevertheless trainings that allow to aim at this career-passion with multiple potential orientations.

What does an art expert do?

The Art expert intervenes during many moments of the life of a work in order to situate it in a style and a time, but also to attest of its authenticity, and to estimate a market value at the moment. The expert can be a generalist or specialize. Generally he/she proposes in addition to his general knowledge, a domain, an era or a particular artist of which he/she is particularly passionate. His/her specialization is known by the circles and lead the applicants to address to him/her.

The Art expert intervenes : 

  • At the level of the various structures of the Art market: auction houses, galleries and art dealers, fairs, financial investment companies, collectors, expertise firms.
  • With the art world: publishing of catalogs and specialized books, editorial teams of specialized magazines and media, commissions and teams of museums and exhibitions.

What are the types of missions of the art expert? 

The Art expert can put his knowledge at the service of different clients, structures or institutions. 

His/her expertise allows him/her to propose different services: 

  • Analysis of works and objects
  • Estimation of works and objects
  • Authentication on behalf of a private individual, a dealer, an auction house or even by participating in a vetting committee (it designates the very strict rules to which exhibitors of an art fair are subject in terms of authenticity, quality, state of preservation and even presentation of works of art).
  • Advanced study for the constitution of a file (for a museum or a work of art)
  • Writing of articles 

He/she can also use his skills in the context of a commercial function in the art sector: 

  • Sale in a gallery
  • Purchasing on behalf of a collector client
  • Advice in investment

The art expert can also work in the world of artistic events by becoming an exhibition or event curator.

How to find and choose an Art Expert school?

Expertise comes from experience

The field of art expertise does not follow precise rules as far as training is concerned. There are indeed different courses, some more recognized and more prestigious than others, to be chosen according to your professional aspirations. 

Different courses of study depending on your specialties

The functions and lifestyle you choose to follow will of course have an impact on your decisions regarding your studies: if you are interested in the art market sector, you should go for Arts and Business training, if you are aiming for cultural and artistic institutions, you should prefer a Master's degree in the field.

A  Master degree to reach the prestigious houses

In terms of the level of diploma expected, once again it all depends on your desires because it is quite possible to start by working in a gallery and building your network in order to evolve, just as it is possible to apply to the big auction houses for which this time an efficient CV will be required. In terms of qualifications, it is more than advisable to obtain a Master's degree in order to qualify as an expert.

Mastery of at least one foreign language is mandatory

Attention: one prerequisite is however unavoidable in the field of art and whatever the chosen professional path, it is the mastery of at least one foreign language.

The different schools and training courses 

Training in art expertise as well as their complementary specializations are available in different types of establishments: 

  • In art and cultural mediation schools: Combining art history and project management, private schools offer Bachelors and Masters degrees in expertise and marketing. The Louvre School is a public school and therefore free of charge.

  • At the university: The Art History curriculum can be enhanced by ancient languages, or specialties such as Egyptology, Ethnography and many other areas that are the solid foundations of expertise. Art history combined with law will allow graduates to access positions in auction houses, with auctioneers.

  • The University Diploma in Art Appraisal: in continuing education, this specialization is open to executives who already have a Master's degree (law, political science, science, or equivalent) or by validation of acquired experience. 

  • Specializations in business schools: certain schools that have the particularity of having partners in the sector, offer specialization Masters in the field of Art. Expertise in the arts and knowledge of business and investment enable graduates to gain access to major companies in the art market.

Remuneration and evolution

The art expert can have very different lifestyles and all types of remuneration are possible, from salaried positions as assistants or salesmen, to remuneration on commission. Moreover, to hold an expertise in art also makes it possible to know to invest in works which can bring back money.