When you make a purchase, how does the conversation go? How do you negotiate prices?
People have a misconception that 10 percent is standard discount. Every discount is negotiated on a case-by-case basis. A good advisor knows when to push, and when not to. Sometimes advisors have better access when it comes to discounts, meaning that a collector on their own might receive 10 percent, but with an advisor they might receive 15 percent (or more). Sometimes if a collector is new but has the potential to become a serious repeat client, a gallerist might initially offer a slightly larger discount in order to strategically kick-start and build that relationship. Having said that, if it is a young artist or a young gallery and a relatively inexpensive work we are discussing, let’s say under $20,000, I don’t believe in asking for a discount, because you’re taking money out of a young artist’s and/or young gallerist’s pocket—money that is needed to pay for a gallery and/or studio livelihood at the beginning of a career.
"A premier art advisor with more than 25 years in the industry, Todd Levin has worked with some of the world's foremost art collectors as the director of Levin Art Group, both buying and selling blue-chip and cutting-edge work on their behalf. Known for his curatorial eye and tough-minded expertise, Levin has helped build in-depth collections that are successful financially—delivering an "annual rate of return of over 30% for the past decade," he says on his website—and in terms of scholarship. (A glimpse of his approach can currently be seen at Sprüth Magers gallery in London, where he has organized "The Vivisector," a show contextualizing Cindy Sherman's disturbing mannequin and doll works with other work from 20th century art history.) To hear how an art advisor takes on a fair like Art Basel Miami Beach, we spoke to Levin about his strategy for navigating the event."