From the gorgeous paintings to the rubbing of elbows with some of the most renowned art collectors in the world, there is just something enticing about working in the art industry. Whether you’ve known it’s what you want to do since you were small or you’re considering a career change, becoming an art auctioneer offers plenty of unique opportunities. Whether you prefer to work in traditional galleries or for a unique company such as Park West Gallery, you’ll need to take the steps to become an auctioneer first.
Go To College
Before you can become an auctioneer, you need to learn as much as you can about the art world. Most galleries require their auctioneers to have a degree in art, and preferably in art history. The more high-level your education is, the more likely you are to get a job in the gallery of your choosing. Keep in mind that many auctioneers are also appraisers and have special certification, so you may want to take your education even further. While it is possible to become successful with only a high school diploma, it is not as likely.
After receiving your traditional college education, you’ll also need to attend an auction school. This specialized education program teaches you how to properly call bids as well as how to improve your public speaking presentation and techniques. At auction school, you’ll also learn how to work for various types of auctions, such as consignments, estates, or government sales. Finally, you’ll learn more about the ethical, legal, and tax guidelines surrounding the industry and take on new skills in marketing and business.
Go to an Art Auction
After graduating from college and auctioneer school, it’s time to start attending auctions on your own. By visiting these free events on your own, you can learn what to expect and how the industry operates in a real-time situation. During the preview, you can examine (and, on occasion, handle) the artwork that will be auctioned off. You can ask questions and discuss the pieces. At the auctions themselves, you can observe how an auctioneer works through lots in numerical order and how fast the process might go.
Obtain an Apprenticeship
Apprenticing in an auction house is essential for learning skills “behind the scenes.” Learning the business side from an established appraiser and auctioneer. Contact local galleries or art auction houses to ask them about apprenticeship opportunities and how you can apply for them. You’ll not only learn more about the work as you apprentice but will begin building professional relationships that could lead you to a job as a full-time art auctioneer in the future.
Consider Going Into a Specialty
The most successful art auctioneers are those who decide to specialize in and become an expert in a certain type of art, whether that is fine art, contemporary pieces, or anything else. Regardless of your preferred specialty, your area of interest can help to ensure you are considered an expert in your field and valued as a respected member of any auction.
Maintain Your Reputation
Whether you work for Park West Gallery art or any other auction company, it is important to maintain your reputation. Ethics are extremely important in a world based solely on the creative minds of other people, which means your reputation is always on the line. This is especially true because much of the art auction industry is unregulated. Any auction house you choose to work with should reflect well on your reputation as well, which means it should be knowledge-based and have a strong list of accountants and attorneys.
The world of art is rewarding and exciting. Even if you aren’t an artist or can’t afford to purchase million-dollar paintings, you can still be a part of the world. Consider becoming an art auctioneer as your next career move.