As noted in should you invest in the art of emerging or established artists?, the definition of each kind of artist can mean slightly different things to different collectors.
As your knowledge of art investing matures, you will develop your own intuition and definition of what constitutes each. In the meantime, there are a few rules that we can follow to help define an emerging and established artist:
- An emerging artist may be represented by small galleries or no gallery at all.
- An established artist may be represented by large multinational galleries (think Hauser and Wirth, Pace Gallery, David Zwirner, White Cube, and Gagosian) or national galleries with a high level of prestige.
- An established artist may have held an exhibition in major international or locally renown institutions.
- An emerging artist is unlikely to have exhibited in major institutions. However, they may have exhibited in some small to medium-sized establishments that specialize in experimental exhibitions (think MoMa PS1 and other top regional art spaces).
- An emerging artist has likely been exhibiting for less than 10 years.
- An established artist has likely been exhibiting for 10 years or more.
- An emerging artist may not be working full time as an artist and will have a secondary source of income.
- An established artist will likely make their living from the sale of their artwork and would not need a secondary source of income. Yet, many established artists take up teaching positions, so take this point with a grain of salt.
A quick-and-dirty technique for understanding an artist’s status
A quick and dirty technique to determine whether an artist is considered emerging or established is to simply google their name. This is an embarrassingly simple recommendation, but it can pay dividends.
Suppose a Wikipedia profile is returned in the results (or other high-value resources such as ArtNews, Artsy, Whitney Museum, Tate Gallery, etc). In that case, the artist in question is likely to be considered established. If a little further digging is required, or if you need to type in “artist” after their name in the google search, it is less likely they have made a significant name for themselves among art collectors. In that case, it may be more appropriate to label the artist as ’emerging.’
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