The art industry comprises an incredibly diverse tapestry of experts in all sorts of professions. There are artists who conceive the work, fabricators who help them execute it, dealers who sell it, advisers who guide collectors, lawyers who draw up contracts, shippers who cart artworks around the world, insurers who secure the work, conservators who repair the works when damaged, and many others.
Once a collector amasses holdings of a certain volume, say, more than they can display in their big-city town house or mansion and their second, idyllically located pied-à-terre—and often before they even reach that point—they require an expansive array of services. If they lend their precious pieces to museums, lawyers come into play to execute loan agreements. If they want to bid on a costly piece coming up at auction and find themselves in a cash crunch, they may rely on banks to front them money based on their art assets alone.
The ARTnews Top Art World Professionals list (alphabetical and not ranked) focuses on the United States, since it remains the largest single national market. The country accounted for about 45 percent of the global art market by value last year, according to The Art Market 2023: A report by Art Basel & UBS, authored by art economist Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics.
To compile this list, ARTnews consulted an array of specialists in the field, including more than a dozen art advisers—many of them members of the Association of Professional Art Advisors—as they often deal with a distinctive assortment of professionals in building and managing clients’ collections. We also spoke with representatives of nearly as many of the country’s top art galleries, focusing on those that participate in Art Basel, which has one of the world’s most competitive selection processes, as well as a handful of other well-placed art world veterans.
“Working with the right professionals allows for consistent quality service, which makes owning art fun rather than a hassle,” New York adviser Wendy Cromwell said. “This means that my clients can focus on the excitement of art collecting and the joy it brings into their lives, not logistics.”
Advisers and Advisory Firms
Advisers offer clients—be they individual collectors (veterans or new and in need of education), corporations, estates, or nonprofits—a plethora of services in building and managing art collections, including estate planning, appraisal, and ongoing oversight. Advisers often come from backgrounds in auction houses and galleries, so they know the inner workings of the market and have extensive Rolodexes that may allow for access to highly desirable works. If collectors want to remain anonymous at public sales, advisers can bid at auction on their behalf. When clients want a change of display in their surroundings, advisers facilitate the rotation of the collection. If a museum requests a work for loan, an adviser typically oversees the process. And when it comes time to sell, from a single work to an entire collection, they can facilitate the sale. Advisers may be individuals employed by a larger firm or who operate solo; some even work in art galleries. Increasingly, they offer their services to artists as well.
Art Intelligence Global
AIG was created in 2021 by three powerhouse Sotheby’s veterans: Amy Cappellazzo (formerly chair of the house’s fine art division and, before that, Christie’s chair of postwar and contemporary), Yuki Terase (prior head of contemporary art, Asia), and Mike Goss (ex-CFO). Based in New York and Hong Kong, the firm focuses chiefly on the fast-growing Asian market.
Erica Barrish, New York
New York adviser Erica Barrish brings experience as a former director of sales at Marianne Boesky Gallery, and head of sales and contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s before that. Barrish guides both new and experienced clients on collections ranging from 19th-century to contemporary, helping them purchase works by major figures such as Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Yayoi Kusama, and Andy Warhol. She prides herself on spotting talent in younger artists, as she did several years ago with Titus Kaphar, whose New Haven, Connecticut, nonprofit, NXTHVN, she advises. She has also worked with both the Ford and Mellon Foundations on collections management projects.
New York adviser Wendy Cromwell founded her bespoke advisory firm some 20 years ago to help individual clients build their collections, after serving as vice president of contemporary art at Sotheby’s for nearly a decade. Many of her clients have been with her from the beginning, and the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and Art Basel’s public programs turn to her for expert commentary on the art market, fairs, the ethics of art advising, and what artists to watch.
Guggenheim, Asher Associates
Fixtures in advisory since the early 1980s, Abigail Asher and Barbara Guggenheim have built collections for bold-face names like Stephen Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and corporate clients like Coca-Cola. With offices in New York and Los Angeles, they are known for a personal touch with clients of more modest means or who are newer to collecting.
Megan Fox Kelly
Having advised since 1989, New York’s Megan Fox Kelly began her career as a curator, and describes her work as curating collections ranging from vintage photography to postwar and contemporary art. She has served numerous institutions and estates, including the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She’s a frequent go-to expert on the art market for papers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Levin Art Group
With 35 years of experience, Todd Levin of New York is responsible for the purchase of more than 1,500 artworks with a cumulative value exceeding $1 billion. He has expanded his service from private collectors to public institutions and museums over the last decade, helping place works by major artists from Ansel Adams to Frank Lloyd Wright. He lectures widely and has curated exhibitions internationally. Publications from the Art Newspaper to the New York Times quote him regularly.
Esthella Provas & Associates
Esthella Provas, headquartered in Beverly Hills, earns major props for helping fruit juice heir Eugenio López Alonso (an ARTnews Top 200 Collector) develop the collection of Mexico City’s Museo Jumex, one of Latin America’s top private museums.
Allan Schwartzman has three decades in the business in New York, and is known for major projects like developing Brazil’s Instituto Inhotim. Schwartzman& specializes in building and maintaining collections, estate planning, philanthropic giving, creating new museum models, and developing community projects that center art, with the help of no fewer than 19 curators and advisers.
San Francisco’s Mary Zlot has been advising since 1983; Sabrina Buell joined her in 2012, after a 10-year stint at Matthew Marks Gallery. Buell, a Stanford alumna, brought an awareness of art to the Silicon Valley tech community. Focusing on postwar and contemporary art, Zlot has managed the collections of investment gurus like Charles Schwab, while Buell has worked with Google founder Larry Page and Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger.
More top advisers
- Artsource Consulting, New York
- Victoria Burns, New York and Los Angeles
- Andrea Feldman Falcione, Los Angeles
- Elizabeth Fiore, New York
- Gagosian Art Advisory, New York
- Benjamin Godsill, New York
- Gould Art Advisory, Florida
- LK Art Consultants (Lydia Kutko and Alex Stoller), New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago
- Mireille Mosler, New York
- Melanie Ouyang Lum, Los Angeles and Shanghai
- Ruth | Catone | Goulding, New York
- Chrissie Shearman, New York
- Courtney Strimple Colman, New York
- Laura Smith Sweeney, San Francisco
- Elizabeth Szancer, New York
- Cristin Tierney, New York
- Tanja Weingärtner, New York
- Sharón Zoldan, Los Angeles and Luxembourg
Some prefer to get the art services they need, whether shipping, storage, or handling, from individual companies that are the best at what they individually do, while others prefer to have a single point of contact for all the above. That’s where all-in-one logistics companies come in. The field is rapidly changing, with greater corporatization and bigger global companies seeing the art industry as a profit center.
Some top dealers praise Acumen for their shipping, some for their storage: Acumen does both, as well as crating, rigging, and servicing art fairs. Founded by art handlers Seth Hernandez and Jamie Forehand in 2008, the company is rapidly growing, recently adding international shipping and customs broker licensing. Home offices are in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami, and they employ some 60 people. “We will figure out how to get a large painting through your window, move your 200-part installation to Philadelphia, or fold your 30-foot-long painting,” said Levi Phelps, a partner in the company.
Jonathan Schwartz cofounded A4 in 1989 in New York, and it has since expanded to Miami, Los Angeles, and Charlotte, North Carolina. The firm is government-licensed to load packages directly on international
flights, meaning customs officers won’t open collectors’ meticulously packed crates. Tremendously well-liked in the field, Schwartz remains the face of the company. Just don’t ask him to do art fairs: he’s begged off.
Atthowe Fine Art Services
Founded in 1928 as a barge company handling freight, this Oakland, California–based firm offers a full range of services. When China lent Zhang Huan’s 15-ton, 26-foot-tall sculpture Three Heads Six Arms (2008) for display at the San Francisco Civic Center, Atthowe was the one to take it from four crates, disassembled and with no instructions, and put it back together.
Crozier’s four decades of experience and 1.8 million square feet of space across 30 locations in 11 global markets provide nearly limitless fine art storage and services, beyond art handling, installation, packing, crating, and shipping. “They offer the gold standard in terms of the services they provide, which is a huge range,” New York adviser Chrissie Shearman said. Crozier also has a freeport facility in Delaware.
Dietl International Services
Fritz Dietl started his art transport company in 1991 out of a rented room at Kennedy Airport; it now boasts 11 locations nationwide. Dietl offers a full suite of art transport services around the clock to clients like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty, Gagosian, Zwirner, and Hauser & Wirth. After a 2008 acquisition, the company is now part of Global Critical Logistics.
Mana Fine Arts
Founded in 2003 as an art-handling firm with the backing of real estate developer Moishe Mana, the company expanded in 2010 to a 2 million-square-foot facility in Jersey City, New Jersey, to offer storage as well as crating, framing, collection management, restoration, and conservation; it also has a 300,000-square-foot location in Chicago. The company split in 2011 into Mana Fine Arts, offering all the above plus viewing rooms and logistics, and Mana Contemporary, which mounts exhibitions, and operates out of Jersey City, Chicago, and Miami.
UOVO’s 11 locations span Brooklyn to Palm Beach, and Delaware to San Francisco after having snapped up other long-standing companies to serve its clients. They are most widely recommended by the experts we surveyed when it comes to storage, but they do plenty of shipping, TSA-certified crating, and installing of everything from paintings to objects that require rigging. They can even lend up to half the fair market value of works up to $25 million (in a partnership with East West Bank; see Banking).
A 2021 report from Deloitte indicated that nearly $1.5 trillion of the wealth of ultra-high-net-worth individuals is connected to art and collectibles, and banks are essential in helping them develop these collections. Traditional borrowing can be cumbersome, but some institutions will lend to collectors solely on the value of their art holdings, without further documentation, allowing them liquidity on traditionally illiquid assets. Collectors who want additional cash to bid on a work coming up at auction might advance pieces that are in storage as collateral to reinforce their firepower. Even some of the world’s top collectors are known to leverage their holdings. Deloitte projected the art-secured lending market to be worth some $31.3 billion in 2022, growing 11 percent year-on-year.
Athena Art Finance
A relatively new entrant to the art-financing sphere, founded in 2015 by Olivier Sarkozy (half-brother of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy), Athena Art Finance works with clients ranging from individuals to trusts and estates, from foundations and institutions to galleries. Loans generally begin at $2 million against works by artists with established auction records, from ultra-contemporary art to Old Masters. Investment platform YieldStreet purchased the company in 2019.
Bank of America
Besides having its own expansive art collection from which it lends complete exhibitions to museums and nonprofits, Bank of America offers loans against art collections valued above $10 million and individual artworks above $100,000. The bank also helps consign works to auction, sponsors major exhibitions, helps manage institutional endowments, and provides grants to museums for art conservation globally.
None other than dealer Jeffrey Deitch helped launch Citibank’s art department in 1979, including advisory and lending services. Among his early collector clients was Greek industrialist Dakis Joannou, and within a few years, his clients were major buyers at fairs and auctions. Today, Citi has a deep bench of experienced advisers, and makes loans from $5 million into the hundreds of millions against art with a minimum value of $200,000 per work.
East West Bank
East West has long supported LA museums financially, as a leading partner of the Broad and sponsor of capital projects and major exhibitions at institutions such as the Getty and LACMA. The bank also collects contemporary Chinese art, some of which will be gifted to LA museums. But in the last several years it has dramatically ramped up its art services. In partnership with UOVO (see All-in-One Logistics), East West offers loans of up to 50 percent of the fair market value against art valued from $1 million to $25 million. It remains a small bank, but it has played an outsize role in the burgeoning LA art world.
JP Morgan Chase
Chase Manhattan Bank president David Rockefeller launched JP Morgan Chase’s “Art at Work” collecting program in 1959, setting a precedent for financial institutions. The bank continues to collect, focusing on emerging contemporary art (some of those “emerging artists” have gone on to become canonical, like Romare Bearden, Ana Mendieta, and Nam June Paik). While the bank has worked with clients for more than a century to finance their passion—collections that focus on art, watches, aircraft—they decline to disclose specific facts and figures about their art-lending practices.
Conservators may repair works when they’re damaged, but a conservator’s job is ultimately to understand an artwork: how it was made, the materials that constitute it, and how to preserve it. Operating by a strict code of ethics, they are trained not only in art history but in studio art and materials science. The specialties for preserving precious objects range from metal decorative arts to ceramic pots to glass sculptures, from wood carvings and paintings on canvas to videos and digital works. They often work in close partnership with curators and other experts, and even draw on techniques from fields like medical imaging, biochemistry, and geophysics.
Amann + Estabrook
Specializing in treating modern and contemporary painting and sculpture, this New York office, headed by Sandra Amann and Elizabeth Estabrook, draws rave reviews from dealers and advisers. The conservators are well-known for their work on Abstract Expressionist, Color Field, Minimalist, and Pop art, along with art from the first half of the 20th century.
Founded by Rustin Levenson in New York in 1982, ArtCare works with galleries on the order of Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Lehmann Maupin, and Pace, as well as institutions like MoMA and the Met to restore works from the 14th to the 21st centuries. At their studios in Miami–Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and New York, they’ve treated works by artists from Josef Albers to Purvis Young, and Raphael to Albert Bierstadt.
The Better Image
“We’re rare as hen’s teeth,” Peter Mustardo told Photograph magazine in 2016, describing specialists in photo conservation. He founded The Better Image with Nora Kennedy, a Metropolitan Museum of Art conservator, in New Jersey in 1991; they now have facilities in New York and California as well. Museums, foundations, libraries, and archives rely on Better Image’s services, along with corporate clients like Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and the Magnum Photo Agency.
The Conservation Center
Founded in 1983, this leading Chicago conservation laboratory employs some 40 experts in a 35,000-square-foot facility, where they work on paintings, photos, sculpture, antique furniture, textiles, and other artifacts. Their disaster team swooped into action at New York galleries after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and at museums in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Expo Chicago art fair partners with the Center to service exhibitors
Clients of New York–based Corey d’Augustine include the Guggenheim Museum and the Ad Reinhardt Foundation. He specializes in American and European postwar art, and he lectures on art history and conservation at NYU and Pratt Institute.
Modern Art Conservation
Located in New York’s West Chelsea neighborhood, Modern Art Conservation serves top private and corporate collections as well as museums, galleries, auction houses, and insurance companies, treating primarily 19th-century, Impressionist, modern, postwar, and contemporary paintings and mixed-media works. Suzanne Siano, a conservator at MoMA for 13 years, founded the company in 2007.
New York Art Conservation
This New York outfit was formed in 2022 by a core team of four conservators—Christine Fröhner, Delia Müller-Wüsten, Giuliana Moretto, and Sara Cardiñanos Fernandez—former employees at Christian Scheidemann’s Contemporary Conservation after Scheidemann left the field to focus on writing and research. Their client list is a who’s who of the international art world: Glenstone in Maryland, MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg Foundations, Gladstone Gallery,
David Zwirner, Pace Gallery, Sotheby’s, Phillips, and Christie’s.
With 10 conservators working on everything from paintings and works on paper to public art, Preservation Arts, in Oakland, California, serves local institutions like SFMOMA and BAMPFA, along with galleries such as Jessica Silverman, Gagosian, and Pace. The paintings team alone has treated works by artists ranging from Anthony van Dyck to Joan Mitchell.
Whitten & Proctor
Based in Houston, Jill Whitten and Robert Proctor have held appointments at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Getty Museum (Whitten) and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich and the Saint Louis Art Museum (Proctor). Clients include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, and Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
More top conservators
- Paper Conservation Studio, New York
- Gloria Velandia Ludmer, New York
- Wilson Conservation, New York
Artists have long called on others to help them in their work, from Renaissance masters whose studios full of accomplished painters churned out altarpieces and devotional paintings to the giants of today, like Jeff Koons, Simone Leigh, and Hank Willis Thomas. Artists rely on them to execute ideas in any number of mediums, on scales from modest to titanic, whether taken from a napkin sketch or a computer file. For collectors, they may help realize a major commission or provide assistance in restoring a work.
Established in Connecticut in 1966, Lippincott’s was the first, and for more than a decade, the only fabricator to work exclusively with artists. Working solely on large-scale projects, they helped produce Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk (1963–69) and Claes Oldenburg’s towering clothespin sculptures from the 1970s, as well as works by Alexander Calder, Nancy Graves, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Marisol, Louise Nevelson, Tony Smith, and many others.
Lite Brite Neon
Since 1999, Lite Brite has helped artists develop their visions in neon. Glenn Ligon credits a tour with the company’s founder, Matt Dilling, for his turn toward the medium. The company has also worked with Andrea Bowers, Theaster Gates, and Tavares Strachan. Lite Brite has a showroom in Brooklyn and an Upstate workspace in Kingston where they restore historic works by some of the first artists to work in neon.
A custom fabricator of architectural metal, Milgo/Bufkin in New York has worked with Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselmann, but the shop’s most recognizable product may be the dozens of Robert Indiana “Love” sculptures it’s fabricated.
Modern Art Foundry
This New York shop, founded some 90 years ago, specializes in lost wax casting, and works mostly in bronze and aluminum. It has been instrumental in the creation of works by artists as diverse as Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, Robert Gober, Diana Al-Hadid, Camille Henrot, and Simone Leigh.
Walla Walla Foundry
Established in 1980 and now one of the world’s largest fine art foundries, Walla Walla has fulfilled projects for artists such as Jim Dine, Urs Fischer, Nancy Graves, Yayoi Kusama, Maya Lin, Wangechi Mutu, Kiki Smith, and Hank Willis Thomas, some weighing tens of thousands of pounds. While the foundry is best known for working in metal, they’ve also fabricated pieces in wood, resin, glass, plaster, stone, and more unusual stuff like bat guano. Their output has been on display from MoMA to the Venice Biennale, and it’s all based on word of mouth; the company has never advertised.
More top fabricators
- Let There Be Neon, New York
- Powerhouse Arts, New York
- Standard Sculpture, Hudson, New York
It might be easy to overlook a frame when it’s subtle, but the right frame can have tremendous impact on an artwork’s presentation. In fact, framers can be remarkable artists in their own right. What’s more, frames are not only a crucial part of a work’s aesthetic effect, their glass panes and liners are key in protecting artworks from the environment. There are even conservators devoted exclusively to preserving historic frames.
Art lovers have seen the handiwork of this Dallas framer, in business since 1990, in such august venues as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Meadows Museum. (The name refers to 24 frames per second, the speed of cinema.)
In operation since 1969, Bark Frameworks occupies a 27,000-square-foot facility in Long Island City that was, until 1999, the principal warehouse for Christie’s. The employee-owned company caters to artists, galleries, collectors, and major institutions, producing frames for artworks from Impressionist to contemporary, as well as textiles and Asian antiquities. Bark’s handiwork has appeared in venues from Seoul (Kukje Gallery) to London (White Cube) to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. They’ve even designed custom frames for the Morgan Library & Museum.
Prior to Christie’s auctioning Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi in 2017, when it sold for $450.3 million, the painting was in need of a new frame. That job fell to none other than Lowy, a New York shop founded in 1907 that counts among its clients the Met, the Whitney, the Prado, and Crystal Bridges. Other noteworthy reframings include two for MoMA: Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night (1889) and Paul Cézanne’s Bather (ca. 1885). They also offer conservation services, and have treated examples by Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, and Mark Rothko.
Minagawa Art Lines
Opened in 1976 by the late Yasuo Minagawa, this New York company has made frames for the likes of Jennifer Bartlett, Dan Colen, William Wegman, and the estates of Roy Lichtenstein and Alice Neel. Minagawa was instrumental in helping develop the distinctive monochrome lacquered wood frames of Pictures Generation photographer Sarah Charlesworth.
Professional Fine Art Services (PFAS Inc.)
Specializing in framing, mounting, lamination, installation, acrylic fabrication, and gilding, this LA-area workshop is trusted by blue-chip galleries Blum & Poe, David Kordansky, Regen Projects, Gagosian, and
Hauser & Wirth, as well as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Operating out of Boston, PSG has been producing custom archival frames for more than 50 years for galleries, museums, artists, and corporations in the Northeast. They serve distinguished gallery clients Pace Editions, Krakow Witkin, Sperone Westwater, Hirschl & Adler Modern, Cheim & Read, 47 Canal, and artists Cindy Sherman, Robert Kushner, and William Wegman.
Robinson and Reeves
When collector William Koch auctioned off Picasso’s two-sided La Gommeuse (1901) at Sotheby’s in 2015, it was in a frame designed at this Miami-area shop, which has been in business for 39 years on word of mouth alone. The company has framed works for the Wolfsonian–Florida International University, a museum, library, and research center, as well as for the Pérez Art Museum Miami and private clients like Martin Z. Margulies and Craig Robins.
Galleries like Gagosian and Jessica Silverman, as well as institutions like the BAMPFA, SFMOMA, and the Whitney Museum rely on this San Francisco frame shop. A number of Northern California artists, including Kori Girard, Ben Kinmont, and Stephanie Syjuco, have also worked with Small Works.
More top framers
- APF-Munn Master Frame Makers, New York
- Baobab Frames & Art Services, New York
- Drummond Framing, New York
- Sterling Art Services, Oakland, California
- Vineyard Frame Designs, Dallas
Collectors who want to keep their treasures away from regulators’ invasive eyes often turn to freeports. A fictional one made a guest appearance in the 2020 Christopher Nolan film Tenet, in which a staffer says, “Our clients choose us because we have no priority above their property,” including human life. Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier introduced the art world to the freeport concept, at the core of which are tax advantages, maximum security, and discretion. Once stored in a freeport, an artwork can trade hands untaxed, provided it stays there. A growing number of freeports have cropped up in Delaware, that state being one of only a handful with no state or local sales tax; this could save the buyer of a $10 million painting nearly a million in sales tax compared to a high-tax state like New York.
ARCIS, New York
When people say Harlem has gentrified, they’re not generally talking about this art storage fortress on West 146th Street (arcis is Latin for “fortress”); when you step into the 110,000-square-foot warehouse, a designated Foreign Trade Zone, you’re technically no longer on US soil. Why Harlem? Partly because it’s outside the post–Hurricane Sandy flood and surge zones.
When, some 20 years ago, an art collector client called up Bayshore, then a moving and storage company, to ask about specialized storage, its freeport was born. The first such venture in Delaware, this fifth-generation family company prides itself on building two-story structures within an outer warehouse for maximum climate control. US Customs certifies it a Foreign Trade Zone, allowing for delayed or reduced duty on foreign merchandise, along with other savings.
Opened in 2015 by Fritz Dietl of the eponymous logistics company (now part of Global Critical Logistics), the Delaware Freeport offers not only 36,000 square feet of museum-quality storage with state-of-the-art security and climate-controlled loading docks but also viewing rooms, customs and import management, and crating, packing, and handling. Close to New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., the freeport will gladly shuttle your art between cities in its air ride trucks.
Insurance Carriers and Brokerages
When disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy hit places like Gulf Coast museums and New York galleries, it was a moment of truth for the companies that insure those institutions and businesses. But art insurance is an everyday matter for those with valuable collections they must protect against mishaps large and small, including weather-related disasters resulting from climate change, theft, loss, and even—as casino magnate Steve Wynn learned in 2006—when you poke a hole in a Picasso canvas with your elbow. In addition to insurance providers, many rely on brokers, who help those seeking insurance to find the best coverage.
AXA XL’s underwriting team includes a number of art historians, which the firm describes as a “major market differential.” It is also a leader in best practices for risk consulting and risk management as a way to avoid loss or damage. AXA XL serves the entire art world ecosystem: collectors, artists, auctioneers, galleries, museums, and more.
Huntington T. Block
Focusing on fine art and musical instruments, insurance broker HTB was founded in 1962 and employs some 72,000 people in 120 countries. One of the world’s largest brokers, it was the first to provide “all risk” fine art policies, designed in concert with the American Alliance of Museums. More than 500 art galleries and dealers carry their policies, as do symphony orchestras, Fortune 500 corporations, private collectors, artists, and conservators.
From antique furniture to contemporary art, single works to whole collections, Chubb is one of the world’s largest insurers of art and antiques. New purchases are covered, even if they are still at the gallery when something goes wrong. Chubb experts have museum, gallery, and auction house experience that enables them to review loan and consignment agreements and train collectors’ staff in the care of artworks.
Headquartered in London with US offices in New York, Illinois, and Kentucky, Lloyd’s provides insurance the world over. Lloyd’s is not a single insurance company; it is a marketplace where underwriting members generally guarantee insurance and reinsurance risks. First contact with Lloyd’s must be through a suitable broker or insurance intermediary. In business since 1668, the firm provides coverage for everything from airplanes to fine art to yachts.
Founded in 1997 and now the nation’s ninth largest privately held insurance broker, this consulting firm serves numerous artist-endowed foundations and major collectors, as well as auction houses, galleries, museums, collectors, dealers, and advisers. The art team draws raves from advisers for its offerings of loss-prevention strategies.
More top insurance brokers
- Driesassur, New York (and global)
- Gallagher, New York (and global)
As an ever-growing volume of capital circulates in the art industry with the market’s rise, everyone concerned needs greater protection, from artists to dealers to auction houses. Legal and tax regulations grow more complicated, sophisticated financial instruments increase in complexity, and the atmosphere becomes more litigious. Lawyers can fix messes when they happen, but the best ones minimize the risk of their ever developing. Many large law firms have their own art law divisions, reflecting the importance of these highly skilled professionals. Art lawyers also specialize, some in restitution, others in estate planning, representing museums or nonprofit organizations, or intellectual property licensing and branding.
Jo Backer Laird at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler
Before joining her current white-shoe firm, Jo Backer Laird served as Christie’s general counsel for 10 years. She’s taught courses on law and the visual arts at Columbia Law School and is regularly recognized in publications like Best Lawyers and Chambers High Net Worth Guide. She’s also frequently quoted in publications like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
David R. Baum
Formerly a partner at Denton’s, David Baum launched his boutique New York practice in 2018. In addition to serving as secretary and outside general counsel for the Cy Twombly Foundation, he has won settlements in high-profile cases like one in 2012 against Gagosian gallery for the unlawful sale of the 1964 Roy Lichtenstein painting Girl in Mirror. He also negotiated the record-tripling $69.6 million sale of a Cy Twombly “blackboard” painting at Christie’s New York in 2014.
Doing business as ARTxLAW, John R. Cahill is a New York litigator and transactional lawyer of more than 30 years’ experience, generally in private practice; he also served as general counsel for Phillips and chief commercial officer at Sotheby’s. He’s won multimillion-dollar judgments for clients like Sotheby’s, and represented John Howard and Martin and Sharleen Cohen in their lawsuits as part of the Knoedler forgery scandal. But if you ask him, it’s the artist protections he lobbied for in the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law that are among his finest work.
Gregory A. Clarick
Gregory A. Clarick (of New York firm Clarick, Gueron, Reisbaum) may be best known for representing Eleanore and Domenico De Sole in suing the Knoedler gallery over a Mark Rothko forgery; the case was settled out of court. But he has also represented artists Takashi Murakami, James Turrell, and Roxy Paine when each sued their former dealers for breach of contract, and Christopher Williams in a case in which a fabricator sought ownership of Williams’s work.
Danziger, Danziger & Muro
Beloved in the art world, law partners Thomas C. Danziger, Charles T. Danziger, and Bradley J. Muro advise buyers and sellers, handling millions of dollars in transactions every year. Among their larger projects have been establishing the Isamu Noguchi Foundation in Kagawa, Japan, and a sister museum in Nagoya, Japan, to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts that operated from 1999 to 2018.
Recognized by Chambers as a leading litigator in art and cultural property law, New York attorney Judd Grossman represents wealthy individuals, galleries, advisers, and institutions. Among his most high-profile cases are those representing collectors in lawsuits against disgraced dealer Inigo Philbrick, as well as representing Pierre Lagrange against Knoedler & Co. after the gallery allegedly sold him a Jackson Pollock forgery for $17 million. His commentary on art and law appears regularly in publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Wendy J. Lindstrom (of Mazzola Lindstrom)
New York attorney Wendy Lindstrom represents museums, galleries, collectors, advisers, artists, and dealers. Among her more high-profile cases is that representing collectors Candace Carmel Barasch and Richard Grossman against adviser Lisa Schiff for breach of contract and fraud, among other charges. She achieved a settlement in a case involving collector Michael Xufu Huang, who alleged that Federico Castro Debernardi violated the terms of a sale agreement over a $700,000 Cecily Brown painting. She also successfully represented the artist Diana Al-Hadid against Marianne Boesky in a suit over the ownership of some high-ticket artworks.
Luke Nikas (of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan)
Among New York attorney Luke Nikas’s noteworthy achievements are reaching a settlement in 2020 in a long-running lawsuit between the Morgan Art Foundation—holder of intellectual property rights to certain of artist Robert Indiana’s images—and the artist’s nonprofit Star of Hope Foundation. Though the Supreme Court this year controversially overturned the verdict, he won a copyright infringement fight for the Andy Warhol Foundation against photographer Lynn Goldsmith. He also achieved undisclosed settlements with numerous clients of dealer Ann Freedman in the “trial of the century,” the Knoedler forgery scandal. Reflecting his international stature, he cofounded a new legal body, the Court of Arbitration for Art, launched in the Hague in 2018.
Led by Lawrence M. Kaye and Howard N. Spiegler (formerly the Art Law Group of Herrick, Feinstein), this New York firm focuses on art restitution, cultural property disputes, litigation and dispute resolution, and commercial art practice. Their list of triumphs is long, including wresting back Kazimir Malevich works from MoMA and Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum for the artist’s heirs; securing $19 million in compensation for the heirs of a Jewish art dealer for Egon Schiele’s Portrait of Wally (1912); and representing the Neue Galerie, New York, in acquiring Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1903–07) for $135 million, the highest price to date for a painting by the artist.
John Silberman founded the firm in 1996, and was joined the next year by Donn Zaretsky. The firm’s epic client list includes artists like Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Jenny Saville, Cindy Sherman, and Lisa Yuskavage, as well as the estates of Louise Bourgeois, Ellsworth Kelly, and Barnett Newman, in addition to the Willem de Kooning Foundation and the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.
Before opening her Los Angeles office, Christine Steiner held positions including general counsel for the J. Paul Getty Trust and assistant general counsel for the Smithsonian Institution. Regularly recognized by Best Lawyers, she represents artists, artists’ estates, galleries, collectors, museums, and other cultural organizations. As an expert in the highly litigious area of copyright law, she has published widely on issues of fair use.
Diana Wierbicki at Withers Worldwide
Head of Withers’ global art practice in New York, Wierbicki deals with domestic and international art law from antiquities to contemporary, handling buying and selling, consigning, and charitable giving, and tax planning for collectors, dealers, galleries, auction houses, and museums. When art businesses need help, they call on Wierbicki, just as the New York Times and the BBC do for analysis.
More top art lawyers
- Frank K. Lord, New York
- Daniel McClean, Cypress LLP, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London
- Thaddeus J. Stauber at Nixon Peabody, Los Angeles
- Stout, Thomas & Johnson, New York
No gallery could survive without photographers and videographers. The sales of artworks are often made by means of photos, especially for in-demand artists and at busy art fairs, where whole booths may be sold before the first VIP’s foot hits the exhibition floor. (To say nothing of sales during Covid shutdowns.) Especially for galleries in areas with lower foot traffic, photography is absolutely essential. And for those who won’t get to visit a museum or exhibition, a video offers the next best thing.
Thomas R. DuBrock
If you want to know who handles photography for Houston institutions, take a look at the photo credits on the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s blog post on Jesús Rafael Soto’s “Houston Penetrable” project or the credits for Do Ho Suh’s installation Fallen Star, or his many citations for the Menil Collection. Museums and galleries throughout Texas, and even Tennessee, trust Houston photographer Thomas R. DuBrock with these crucial assignments.
Tom Powel Imaging
Founded in 1986 and now a veritable institution, TPI offers a range of image capture services that doesn’t stop. Based in New York and shooting globally, the company has nearly endless client lists in every category: artists, galleries, auction houses, museums, private collectors, foundations, and corporations, among them Julie Mehretu and Julian Schnabel; Gagosian and Pace galleries; Christie’s and Sotheby’s; LA MOCA, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Whitney; Steve Cohen and Ronald Perelman; the Donald Judd Foundation; and the UBS Collection and Goldman Sachs.
From their offices in Brooklyn and Chicago, filmmaker Jonathan Sanden and writer/editor Rachel Wolff work with organizations (the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Dia Art Foundation, the Public Art Fund, and the Association of Art Museum Directors), galleries (Marian Goodman and David Zwirner), and individual artists (Ai Weiwei) to tell their stories through short films.
When collectors, auction houses like Sotheby’s, or museums like the Art Institute of Chicago or the Milwaukee Art Museum need their Picasso paintings, Old Master canvases, Japanese art collections, stained glass, or colossal public art installations photographed, they call on Chicago photographer Michael Tropea.
Joshua White started his business in Los Angeles in 1999, after a decade as Frank Gehry’s in-house photographer, and now caters to top galleries like Anton Kern, Blum & Poe, and Gagosian; fairs like the Armory Show; museums that include the Baltimore Museum of Art and MoMA; nonprofits like the Public Art Fund; and artists like Tom Sachs and Robert Therrien.
From self-packed FedEx boxes to museum-quality crates and air freight, there are many ways to get art from point A to point B. Shipping companies help customers manage matters like taxes, security, customs and duties, and import and export regulations as artworks move internationally among the burgeoning number of museums and events. While sea freight is cheaper and more environmentally friendly, extended shipping times often preclude this means for expedited schedules. It’s an increasingly costly prospect: dealers reported in McAndrew’s Art Market 2023 that “shipping costs in particular had rocketed in 2022, with some commenting that their expenditure in this area alone had increased by 20% to 40% in the space of one year.”
Cooke’s Crating and Fine Art Transportation
This Los Angeles company, offering specialized moving and storage since 1975, is the go-to for top museums that need to move artworks, and its international services cover 35 countries. Cooke’s offers customs expediting, import/export documentation, airport supervision, containerized ocean shipments, domestic and international couriers, armed guard escorts, a San Francisco–LA shuttle, and more than 100,000 square feet of highly secure storage.
Maquette Fine Art Services
Rapidly growing, New York–based Maquette has a fleet of specialized trucks for transport within New England and the tri-state area. Maquette has storage facilities in New York, Boston, and Connecticut, and draws high marks from dealers and art advisers; they also offer installation, rigging, packing, lighting, and art handling at their facilities and in the field.
The art industry relies on Masterpiece International, established in 1989 and now with 16 US locations (and two abroad), to get their artworks from gallery to art fair, from storage to museum walls, including air and sea freight, packing, and crating. They use Turtle crates (used by museums since 1994) that represent a step forward in environmentally friendly shipping. “My preference is to always use Masterpiece International,” New York adviser Elizabeth Szancer said, “because they are the best of the best.” Adviser Megan Fox Kelly recalled a very complicated cross-country shipment in which “they had me on a monitor 24/7, so I could look on if I woke up in the night, nervous about it.”
Based in Delray Beach, Florida, and Maspeth, New York, Welpak brings more than two decades’ experience to its offerings of crating, packing, storage, installation, transport, and overseas shipping. They also offer a New York to Florida shuttle service, and draw high marks from experienced advisers.
More top shippers
- ANR Transport Fine Art Services, Houston
They say museums typically have only 5% of their holdings on view, and for the largest collectors, it’s likely a similar ratio. The rest has to go somewhere, and that’s where secure climate-controlled storage comes in. As the prices of art and real estate have soared in recent years, larger companies have come into the space, recognizing the possibilities.
This Dallas company, founded in 2000, offers packing, crating, transportation, installation, and secure storage, and has earned the stamp of approval of insurers and brokers such as AXA XL, Huntington T. Block, and Lloyd’s of London, as well as museum organizations such as the American Alliance of Museums and the Western Museums Association.
Icon Fine Arts Services
This Chicago outfit, launched in 1980 by Bruce MacGilpin, is the Midwest go-to for auction houses, museums, galleries, and private collectors. (They’ve also hauled Picassos from New York to Chicago and hung multimillion-dollar paintings in penthouse apartments.) The facility boasts a 92,000-square-foot storage and service center with state-of-the-art climate control and fire prevention and detection, interior loading docks, a viewing gallery, and photography space. Reflecting ongoing consolidation, MacGilpin recently sold the company to Fritz Dietl’s Delaware Freeport.
Minnesota Street Project Art Services
Located in San Francisco, this firm offers shipping and a climate-controlled 197,000 cubic feet of museum-caliber, seismically safe storage; collection care, installation, custom crating, and viewing rooms are also available, as well as the Bay Area’s only fine art and film cold storage environments. Art services is a part of the unique Minnesota Street Project offering economically sustainable spaces for contemporary art galleries, artists, and related nonprofits. Testimonials come from San Francisco’s Artsource Consulting, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, and artist Trevor Paglen.
More top storage providers