Does Gagosian’s New Advisory Firm Create a Conflict of Interest?

Gallerists and art advisors suspect there could be ulterior motives to the industry leader’s latest power play, but Gagosian would beg to differ.

When one of America’s most powerful art dealers makes plans for the future, people pay attention. But some critics suspect that Gagosian’s plan to enter the art advisory field will lead to a major conflict of interest between the industry powerhouse and its clients.

Why Gagosian’s announcement has rattled the art world is a matter of mandate and scale. Barbara Guggenheim of Guggenheim Asher Associates doubts that galleries operating their own art advisory firms will have a client’s best interests in mind. “Among other reasons that dealers have a conflict of interest is in doing the due diligence,” she wrote to Hyperallergic over email. “Advisors start with the premise that a painting is wrong until proven right. That condition reports have to be independently done, not by a seller who may want to soft-pedal any problems. And advisors tell their clients the right price to pay and negotiate on their behalf.”

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