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Real power in today's art world is held by advisers—shadowy figures who tell the rich what to buy and play auction houses and galleries off against each other

By Ben Lewis   February 2007

One effect of the explosion of demand in the art market has been the rise of a figure distinct from gallerists, dealers, auction houses, curators and museum directors. This is the art adviser, whose role is to mediate between the other players.

Art advisers are not new. Charles I used them when he acquired his collection in the 17th century. But in today’s era of rapid growth, UHNWIs (ultra-high net worth individuals) are forming a new class of monarchs and dukes, all keen to establish their own “courts,” for which an art collection is the sine qua non. Wealth does…

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