Art Services

Art Services for Individuals and Institutions


Whether you’re an individual or an arts institution, we can help you manage your collection and navigate the complexities of the art world.

Whatever your specific goals are for your collection, our range of capabilities, along with our commitment to the arts can help us deliver a broad combination of services while considering the legacy and potential of your collection as part of your overall financial goals.

For individual collectors, we help:

  • Unlock capital via Bank of America by lending against a collection
  • Design estate plan options and philanthropic strategies to address tax and other implications of a collection
  • Prepare for a sale of art or collectibles via consignment services

For institutions, we:

  • Provide institutional investment management for endowments
  • Offer consulting services on issues including governance, development and board best practices
  • Help fund acquisitions by extending credit via Bank of America, and assist with deaccessioning through Consignment Services

Art Lending

Your art collection is a considerable financial asset that can lend flexibility to your overall wealth management strategy. Borrowing against the value of your art collection may help you access liquidity, raise capital, or reallocate and diversify your portfolio.

Bank of America credit specialists work with major auction houses and independent appraisers to provide an objective appraisal. You select the art used as collateral, while keeping your collection on display. You can leverage your art to:

  • Finance business goals
  • Acquire additional artwork
  • Use liquidity to take advantage of other financial opportunities
  • Raise funds for donating and gifting

Art Planning

Art can create estate planning and legacy opportunities—as well as challenges. We help you think of your collection as part of your legacy and help you carefully balance considerations around taxes, wealth transfer and philanthropic goals as you consider the disposition plan for your collection.

We can help with:

  • Determining sales strategies to minimize and defer taxes
  • Gifting to family members
  • Donating to a charitable institution
  • Creating a private museum
  • The sale of art or collectibles through Consignment Services

Each of these options has complex implications, which we can help you evaluate well in advance of making decisions.

Consignment Services

Whether a collector, heir, or institution, you can work with our Consignment Services to manage the sale of individual pieces or an entire collection, arranging consignment agreements with auction houses, making our pre-negotiated terms available to you and bringing transparency and streamlining the whole process helping you save time and money.

We can consign fine art, including paintings, works on paper, photographs and sculpture, and collectibles, including classic cars, watches, jewelry, fine wine, handbags, and furniture.

We can help you:

  • Plan for a thoughtful and competitive sales strategy
  • Negotiate Seller’s Agreement and financial terms
  • Reduce/eliminate seller’s commission and fees
  • Secure robust marketing and PR package

Philanthropic Solutions

Arts organizations and private and artist-endowed foundations are often challenged with managing many aspects of their businesses, from investing philanthropic capital, to determining effective grantmaking strategies and other governance best practices. We offer a full suite of art services for museums, foundations and institutions, ranging from investment management and lending to comprehensive consultative services to support arts institutions in carrying out their missions.

We offer:

  • Endowment management services and complete outsourced investment function capabilities
  • Consulting on governance, development strategies, and board relationships
  • Lending solutions working with Bank of America credit specialists
  • Consignment Services to help with deaccessioning 

Connect with a Merrill Private Wealth Advisor.

Frequently asked questions

Art consignment services are those offered by a consultant or financial services firm, that can help a collector arrange for the sale of art and collectibles through partnerships with various auction houses. Often these services can offer pre-negotiated terms available and streamline the sales process. They can also help collectors:

  • Optimize the sale of their property at auction via a preferred selling channel
  • Save time and money with preferred pricing on seller’s commissions and fees
  • Receive sales strategy and independent advice throughout the auction process
  • Generate liquidity to acquire more art or to raise capital for other opportunities


Yes. When part of a well-structured philanthropic or estate plan, art can be donated to a museum or set of museums. Doing so can help the donor potentially reap tax benefits while supporting an arts institution. But museums are not always able or willing to accept artworks offered to them and if they do, they may not be obligated to keep or display them as you would like. Collectors can also form their own museum, which can offer greater control over how the collection is presented to the public. This approach requires strict adherence to the Private Operating Foundation rules and may also require significant costs of building, maintaining and staffing a museum.


An art loan agreement is a type of structured lending (also known as custom lending) agreement that allows a collector to use their art as collateral for a line of credit, while keeping the collection on display. These kinds of structured loans are often used by collectors to finance business goals; acquire additional artwork; take advantage of other financial opportunities; and/or raise funds for donating and gifting.


Fine art is a powerful capital financial asset that may be appropriate as collateral for a structured line of credit. By borrowing against artwork, collectors may create liquidity to take advantage of a broad range of financial opportunities, unlock capital, and/or purchase additional art or cash flowing assets. Banks and other lenders often have strict guidelines for art lending that include the types of art collateral accepted, minimum collection and loan values and loan terms and covenants.



Nonfinancial assets, such as closely-held businesses, real estate, fine art, oil, gas and mineral properties, and timber, farm and ranch land, are complex in nature and involve risks including total loss of value. Special risk considerations include natural events (for example, earthquakes or fires), complex tax considerations, and lack of liquidity. Nonfinancial assets are not suitable for all investors. Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax, or estate planning strategy.

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