Northside Neighbor

Buckhead resident starts art advisory company

EVERETT CATTS

After managing her own art collection for the past 35 years, Barbara Guillaume has started her own company for the sole purpose of helping handle others’ art.

The Buckhead resident is president of Guillaume Fine Art Advisors, which she founded at the end of 2015. Guillaume spent the previous three years as the Atlanta regional representative for Brunk Auctions, an Asheville, North Carolina-based auction house. She also has a network of connections at galleries and auction houses on both coasts and overseas, where she worked in Paris for 13 years. Guillaume decided to start her own business to help clients she could not always assist while at Brunk.

“When I was working for Brunk people would come to me with items and I would present them to Brunk,” she said. “If Brunk didn’t want them, I would have to turn those people away. I know there’s a market for just about everything, so after a couple of frustrating bouts with having people that I cared about turned away, I just decided to go out on my own.

“Because even if someone came to me with a household full of goods, I’m sure there would be items in there that would appeal to various vendors, whether it be an auction house in New York or an auction house more local, whether it be an art gallery or someone who would come in and just sell everything out of the house. I thought I could be a service for people if I gave them options.” Guillaume’s new business specializes in the fields of paintings, antiques, porcelains, silver and jewelry.

“I am happy to say that I have my first customer, who was referred to me by both an appraiser and a Realtor,” she said, declining to name all three since she had not discussed the article with them yet. “[The Realtor] had this absolutely splendid house on Andover [Drive in Buckhead] that she sold. The people who lived there had a magnificent collection of Chinese porcelain and jade that had been collected by the seller’s mother. They were downsizing as so many people are of my age, and they wanted to sell it.

“So what I did was … shopped the items to two auction houses on the West Coast, one in San Diego and one in San Francisco; to an auction house in New York and, frankly, to Brunk, because we have very good relations. What I did was I presented four blind offers and the customer just chose the best offer. So my role is to make sure you are getting as much money as possible.”

Debra Force, president of Debra Force Fine Art in New York and former senior vice president at Christie’s auction house in New York, said Guillaume brings vast experience to her new venture.

“Barbara’s passion and experience as a collector of European and American fine art and antiques enables her to provide a keen expertise, an intimate knowledge of the inside track and a refreshing perspective to her clients in navigating the labyrinth of the art world in their quest to find exceptional examples of art,” Force said in a news release.

Additional Guillaume Fine Art Advisors services include recommendations for insurance, conservation and repairs, professional appraisers and experts in art-related estate tax and planning issues.

Guillaume is also involved with the Atlanta art scene as a founding member and past president of the American Art Collectors of the High Museum of Art in Midtown, a patron of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia and as a board member of the Marietta/ Cobb Museum of Art, the French Heritage Society’s Atlanta chapter and the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ Georgia Committee.