How to Become an Art Appraiser | Full Guide

With the global art market currently valued at $50 billion, the role of an art appraisal in the art community continues to grow.

To become an art appraiser, you must have a very strong passion for art as your line of work will require spending long hours studying various works of art from ceramics, paintings, and sculpted aesthetics.

There are various opportunities open for art appraisals. A common misconception about art appraisals is the belief that they are artists.

An art appraisal doesn’t necessarily have to be an artist or even an art teacher. A strong passion for art and knowledge on how to perfectly evaluate them are mostly requirements of an art appraisal.

The growth in the art market comes with its share of trouble as we have witnessed a steady increase in the number of fake artworks circulating the market. Lack of knowledge on how the art market functions will lead to difficulty in correctly navigating the market.

Certified art appraisers are being increasingly hired by Organizations, Museums, and private artists to help in appraising artworks.

Are you interested in knowing how to become an art appraiser? This article will serve as a guide to the world of art appraising.

Who is an Art Appraiser?

An art appraiser is someone who specializes in determining a fair market value for various artworks. Artworks appraised include paintings, sculptures, textiles, and various other works of art.

Art appraisals are like art detectives. For an art appraiser to be able to adequately perform his roles and responsibilities in the business, they use a wide range of resources in determining the value of that work of art.

Determining the fair market value of an artwork is not the only role that an art appraiser handles in the art world, as they are also a key factor in determining the authenticity of various artworks.

There are various opportunities for art appraisals. We can find art appraisers working in art auction houses, art galleries, museums, and educational institutions, and they can also work for private collectors. You should note that art appraisals can specialize in specific artwork.

Some art appraisals decide to specialize solely on appraising art from a particular period, type, or from a particular location.

Art appraisals who specialize in a particular line are seen as experts in that field, as they are completely knowledgeable on key details about artwork from such a selected area.

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Duties and Responsibilities of an Art Appraiser

To become an art appraiser, you must first have a strong passion for art. Art appraiser performs a wide range of duty in the art community and the highlights of these duties are:

  • Appropriately determine the fair market value of an artwork.
  • Determine the exact cost of a particular art piece.
  • Working closely with artists, art dealers, museums, and other art organizations to determine the authenticity of an artwork.
  • Exhibiting a strong understanding of how the art market functions.
  • Ability to spot out a fake artwork immediately.

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Benefits of Becoming an Art Appraiser

What do you tend to gain from choosing this line of work? Becoming an art appraiser gives you certain benefits which include:

  • It’s a non-routine career option.
  • You get to help in checking the circulation of fake artworks in the community.
  • Enables you to work with truly exquisite and impressive works of art from different eras.
  • The career path puts you in a position where you get to deal with top public figures, especially during auctions.
  • Community service by ensuring all art transactions is authentic.

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How to Become an Art Appraiser?

Like we have always said, to truly become an art appraisal you must have a passion for art.

If you have the passion and you’re just trying to figure out how to go about attaining your dream of being an art appraiser.

This section will clearly highlight the steps to follow in order to ensure a smooth process.

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1. Get a College Degree

First and foremost in the basic steps to becoming an art appraiser is the college degree. There is indeed no particular college degree that is requested as a qualification for art appraisers but a degree in fine arts and history go a long way in achieving your dreams.

A college degree in fine art is perfect because you’re thought the various techniques, theories, and specialized studies for various art mediums.

The basic information passed in degree classes helps you as you might be required to apply those techniques and theories to real-life situations.

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2. Be an Apprentice

Learning under someone who is already well-versed in the business is one of the easiest routes to succeeding as an art appraiser.

Being an art appraiser dos not just involve proving the authenticity of artwork as there is also a business side to this line of work.

If you’re interested in becoming an art appraiser wide reviews and opinions from already successful art appraisers suggest apprenticeship under a reliable and versed art appraiser as being one of the best routes.

Working in galleries or auction houses during your apprenticeship helps you gain intense knowledge from your superiors.

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3. Specialize in a Particular Area

The term “jack of all trades, master of none” is one of the drawbacks not just to art appraisals but to various business sectors. Specializing in a particular type of artwork helps you craft out authenticity for yourself.

In order to truly become an expert and carve out a niche of the art community for yourself, you must specialize and focus on at least one area of art.

The issue of specialization in art is so important because the field of decorative and fine art is very broad and piling up information about the different branches can lead to confusion.

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4. Take Exams

Becoming an art appraiser requires rigorous time spent training and taking exams. To qualify for an art appraiser organization certification, you must have at least 100 hours of continuing education program certificate.

Taking the various art appraisal exams goes to show that you are actually putting in effort and the necessary hard work.

After becoming an art appraiser, there are still certain exams you will have to take every two years in order to maintain your certificate.

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5. Obtain Certification

Getting a certificate is one of the key steps to becoming an art appraiser. You should note that getting a certificate is not a compulsory requirement for becoming an art appraiser.

Obtaining certification in your path to becoming an art appraiser helps you because you gain training on property valuation and related topics which can help you in succeeding as an art appraiser.

Core courses in the process of obtaining certification include personal property research and research analysis. These various courses help in succeeding in all aspects of art.

6. Join an Appraisal Organization

Working with like-minded people motivates you to work harder. Joining an appraisal organization helps you to gain credentials and network with people in the same field.

Joining an art appraisal organization is the easiest way for an aspiring art appraisal to get to network and meet with people who have been in the line of work for some time.

In joining an art appraisal organization you might even get to find a mentor capable of helping you through the early ropes of starting out as an art appraiser.

7. Attend Meetings

Another way to network is by attending various art appraisal meetings in your area. Attending meetings and art appraisal talks will help you figure out how the top players in art got to that particular place. You also get filled with motivation after every of these art appraisal meet-ups.

As a beginner art appraiser, you might find it difficult trying to select which area to specialize in, attending conferences and meetings on art appraisals aids you in making a decision as you gain extra knowledge on the fields from people directly involved in it.

8. Network!

The power of networking is so great, especially in the art appraising sector and the art industry in general.

Networking is a very important tool that must be used in becoming an art appraiser. Networking entails maintaining a healthy online presence in order to sell you as an art appraiser. Creating a network of the right people in the field of art is very important.

Mistakes can be prevented by connecting with others in the same field as you; you gain information about the best route to take toward succeeding in the industry

9. Apply for Work in any Art Appraisal Firm

Art appraisers are mostly hired at auction houses and appraisal firms. It’s up to you to decide if you’ll like to work as an independent contractor or with a firm. Apply for work in various firms and auction houses.

In order to increase your client list, you’ll have to work hard and develop a credible and authentic practice with your clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

An art appraiser is tasked with determining the value and authenticity of an artwork.

There is no specific degree required for art appraisals but degrees in fine art, history, or any related field are top picks.

Yes, a certificate with the American Society of Appraisers is required.

 Cost estimators and real estate appraisers are similar alternatives to art appraisals.

The estimated average salary for art appraisers is are $60,268


Art appraisers have in-depth knowledge of the principles involved in determining the authenticity, and fair market value of artworks.

Appraisers have extensive knowledge of art history and how the art marketplace functions.

This article has clearly outlined how to become an art appraiser in order to aid you in the process.




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