Response to Uriel Dana's "What Is The Difference Between An Art Dealer, An Art Broker And An Art Agent."
Any way we look at it, a dime = 2 nickels.
Today, (if online definitions are to be believed) gallery owners are as much brokers as brokers are gallery owners. Few are in the category of those who deal in Monets or any other category of “valuable investment” works. And even fewer of us in the “awt world” will get to meet such high flying brokers/agents/gallery owners in our life time - despite the luring pledges of online connections, representation and exhibition spaces offered by the millions on their website pages.
My take on any of these categories of distributors of products deemed to be artworks is: “cave creator” (latin for : creator beware). ESPECIALLY if these art dealers and brokers purportedly function on “taste”. Because if they do, rather than on a “recognized” accredited expertise and professionalism, then what we get is a seller of pretty (or not) pictures which match "their" interests rather than respect for those of the buyer - or that buyer’s investment portfolio.
Cynically, as a collector, I would never bet my investment dollar on anyone who isn’t richer than I am and who does not have a track record based on knowledge and expertise in the creation of and with links to what constitutes artwork from which the impact of “art” will (may) actually emerge. And in that notion I am SERIOUSLY serious.
As for the last category : “Agent”, I am less categorical. This title at least implies authenticity from the start. An agent "represents" (by choice and/or contract) the work of a specific person and is out there to create or to answer to a link between an interested buyer and the represented creator. Either a specific piece of work is the attraction or a commission of a piece is being requested.
Over the past 50 years and more, agents have been my preferred reps. They are hired by me and accept (or not) the agent fees I pay. In essence I remain an independent agent (no pun intended) hiring a person to do my bidding - not create according to a specific (so-called) market demand. The best agents not only care about the style or genre of work they are promoting and selling, they care about the person creating that work. And the best of the best have a serious background (and credentials) in the field of the visual arts and/or in visual arts administration.
And so. . . As neither I, nor 99.99999999999% of any of us, are in the Monet or van Gogh category of creators in which so-called brokers and investors would be interested, it behooves us, in this online world of self-promotion and “SELLING”, to take the time to do “due diligence” in the area of those who promote themselves as promoters.
In the game of the arts, we stand to lose more money than our illusions and dreams warrant we will make.