NAA member says auction professionals must “sell the story” in art market

The world of art can be a fascinating field for Auctioneers to explore, but compared with other categories, it’s a whole different breed, says Stacey Giulianti, of Tribal Art Hunter, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“You don’t need art,” he says. “Art has to sell itself.”

Giulianti, who also is an attorney, specializes in Latin American paintings and tribal artifacts and sells items like African masks and pre-Columbian effigy figures. He also serves as an expert for other Auctioneers.

To be successful selling art, you have to have the right art and you have to sell the story behind the piece, he says.

Giulianti acquires his works from galleries, individuals, estates and from other auctions.

Art Auctioneers typically sell to people who collect or are looking for particular types of items, he says, like Inuit ivory work, for example.

“There are very specific collectors around the world, and you have to tap into those people,” he says.

Demand for art auctions is on the rise as people become more sensitive and aware of cultural products, says Richard Hart, CAI, BAS, GPPA, of Baterbys Art Auction Gallery in Orlando, Fla., which sells 20th-century master works and contemporary art, among other things.

Since “good” art can’t be mass produced, there’s a limited quantity of it and therefore, an auction is the best way to sell it at actual market value, he says.

Current trends include modern prints, Old masters, 20th-century masters and contemporary works, he says.

Baterbys obtains art from sources such as other auction houses, artists, galleries and personal estates and sells it to collectors, households, decorators and other galleries for prices ranging from $100 to $150,000.

The art market has changed over the past few years, says Jeffrey Fuller of Fuller’s Fine Art Auctions in Philadelphia.

“Money was cheap” through 2007, he says. “People bought everything, and the markets were pretty strong.”

That scenario has changed.

But while the economic downturn has taken a hit on some sectors of the art world, the high end of the market remains strong, he says.

“If you’ve got a great work of art, there are many people out there who want it and who will buy it,” he says.

Fuller has dealt with 19th- through 21st-century American and European paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and photos at what he calls his “boutique auction house.”

Read the complete story from Auctioneer magazine and be sure to check out NAA members’ top tips for art auction success.

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Filed under Auction Industry, Auction marketing, Auctioneer magazine, NAA Members

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