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The World Art News
BY MARK ANDERSON
Art dealing can be a glamorous and lucrative business, but it can also be incredibly dangerous. In recent years, there have been numerous cases of art dealers falling victim to theft, fraud, and even violence. According to reports by the FBI, Interpol, and the Art Loss Register, there were over 24,700 reported cases of art theft between 2008 and 2022, with the value of stolen art during this period surpassing more than $11 billion. These statistics serve as a stark reminder of the risks that art dealers face in their line of work.
Art dealers are not only at risk from criminal activity but also face other dangers such as lawsuits, damages to artwork during transportation, and disagreements with clients. In some cases, art dealers have even faced physical harm or threats of violence from disgruntled clients. Despite these risks, the art market continues to grow, with global art sales reaching $67.8 billion in 2022, according to the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. This growth has been fueled by increasing demand from wealthy collectors and the rise of online sales platforms. However, it is important for art dealers to be aware of the dangers that come with their profession and take steps to protect themselves and their clients.
Conducting a comprehensive background check on potential buyers and sellers is highly recommended as it ensures that their reputation and credibility are beyond reproach. Nonetheless, the process of checking references, evaluating credit scores, and verifying personal information can often be challenging. Therefore, it is imperative to perform a basic online search, which can provide valuable insights within a matter of minutes. A thorough Google search of an individual’s full name, email address, and business-related details can reveal significant information about them. Additionally, it is important to note that a majority of people have social media accounts that can offer substantial background information. It is crucial to examine and assess these accounts, while also relying on intuition to identify any potential red flags. In conclusion, it is essential to exercise caution in all such endeavors.
As an art dealer you must take security measures to prevent theft or damage to your rarities. This could include installing alarms, surveillance cameras, and secure locks on doors and windows. If you are dealing with truly valuable artworks, you may want to seriously consider hiring a security guard to monitor the premises and even accompany you outside. Additional, less costly measures could include having a dog, even a small one with a loud bark in some cases can deter a criminal. If you are traveling with valuables, be sure that no one knows that you are, and make your route unpredictable.
It is of utmost importance to remain vigilant when alone, whether at home, work, on the street, or in a vehicle. Art dealers are particularly vulnerable to kidnapping or other forms of violence, when traveling alone on secluded roads, especially at night. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain situational awareness and be cognizant of one’s surroundings. The availability of emergency buttons in stores and vehicles that provide immediate contact with the police or rescue services is a useful tool in emergencies, and it is recommended that art dealers take advantage of this technology. Additionally, in countries where firearms are permitted for self-defense, art dealers may consider obtaining relevant training and complying with local regulations to become responsible firearms owners.
To protect against loss or damage, art dealers should ensure that their artworks are fully insured. This should include coverage for theft, damage during transport, and other risks like natural disasters. When transporting your artworks, ensure that they arrive at their destination safely by hiring a professional art handler or use a reputable shipping company with experience in transporting valuable art, antiques, and collectibles. When not on display or in transport, to prevent theft or damage, store your valuables in secure location, such as a vault or safe. Additionally, there are now many professional art storage companies that will hold your most treasured rarities in a secure, climate controlled, facility.
All serious art dealers, that value their peace of mind, should seek legal advice to ensure that their transactions are above board and that they are not exposed to unnecessary legal risks. This may involve consulting with a lawyer to review contracts, verify ownership of artwork, and ensure that all transactions comply with relevant laws and regulations of your country.
By taking these steps, art dealers can help to protect themselves and their clients from the risks associated with their profession. While these measures may require an investment of time and money, they are essential to the security of valuable artworks. Art dealing can be a rewarding profession, but it is also one that requires diligence to ensure the safety of those involved in its trade, so Be Smart, Stay Safe, and Love Art!
The World Art News (WAN) is not liable for the content of this publication. All statements and views expressed herein are only an opinion. Act at your own risk. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission. © The World Art News