Advised on sale at auction

Who we are

At Cadell, we have a simple mission to help lawyers, trustees and their clients to navigate the market when they buy and sell art

We know from experience that one of the most difficult challenges is to get unbiased, trustworthy advice.

Hardly a surprise in an unregulated marketplace, where huge returns are possible.

Cadell is independent and was conceived to deliver professional grade advice. We are proud to have been awarded STEP’s 2020 Private Client Award for Boutique Firm of the Year.

Our team of world class experts is redefining art advisory. Delivering a new level of specialist and transparent advice with no conflicts of interest, focussed entirely on improving outcomes for our clients.

"Only after working with Cadell will you appreciate the value of genuinely independent advice."
Rudy Capildeo
Partner, Charles Russell Speechley’s, London.
Advised on sale at auction

Truly independent

In the art world, everyone presents themselves as offering independent advice.

Yet introductory commissions and broking private sales are the industry norm, and the individuals engaged in these practices will always have a financial interest in the outcome of the advice they are giving.

Cadell never brokers private sales, nor does it accept introductory commissions from auction houses.

We are simply paid a pre-agreed fee by our clients.

"The conflict of interest issue simply hadn’t occurred to us. We had no idea it would leave us worse off.."
UK Client
Au jardin, la famille de l'artiste
Advised on sale at auction

Advice when selling

The aim of auction houses, dealers and brokers is to gain and maintain a monopoly on each and every sale.

As ‘trusted advisers’, their advice will invariably be: ‘trust us, sell everything, sell now and whatever you do, don’t call anyone else’, as this will result in them achieving higher margins.

However, many factors will impact on the outcome of a sale, and they all have to be carefully and objectively considered.

For example: timing and location; the use of private treaty sales; guarantees; and above all the choice of auction house (sector performance can vary significantly) all have a significant impact.

Cadell focuses solely on the interests of the client, and has developed a structured and transparent process, designed to expand the number of options and reveal the best one.

This allows us to provide our clients with new and enhanced ways of managing the risks that are inherent in the art market, whilst maximising their returns.

"Their forensic approach quickly revealed the importance of being well advised. Their sale strategy has been a great success to date and has clearly delivered a strong financial outcome for the Trust."
Philip Radford
Director, Saffery Champness, Guernsey.
Elizabeth Van Rijn
Advised on private treaty sale

Collection Strategy

At Cadell, we believe that it is extremely important to spend time with families to fully understand their situation, and to engage with all parties to build consensus as to the best way forward.

Whilst there may be pressure from sales channels to make decisions quickly, we usually advise our clients to take their time, as it’s critical to understand the family’s priorities around the key issues: estate planning; liquidity requirements; which works to keep, sell or lend.

Once there is alignment and confidence in the best options, projects tend to progress much more smoothly.

Cadell has developed a strong capability at providing art wealth planning which is highly valued by private client advisers and trustees.

"It’s clear that Cadell’s advice is independent, but it’s also strategic. We now have a long-term plan, and that’s essential in a market as complex and opaque as this one."
Caroline Bennet-Akkaya
Director, PraxisIFM Trust, Geneva.
Advised on sale at auction

Advice when buying

As the fashion for collecting grows, so has the practice of offering secondary works at masterpiece-level prices.

Unlike the housing market, where surveys, searches, contracts and lawyers are always involved, due diligence when buying art is rarely undertaken.

At Cadell we offer a fast and effective series of checks, so that a trustee, lawyer or direct client can quickly and discreetly obtain clarity relating to the provenance and value of the art they are about to purchase.

This work is undertaken by one of our experienced experts and is turned around within 48 hours.

"Cadell provide invaluable services to professional trustees. The art world is riddled with conflicts of interest. If the trust’s appointed art dealer tells you that something is worthless or the best offer is $x, being able to verify that independently with Cadell is hugely useful."
Andrew Penney
Head of Wealth Planning, Sequent, London.
A bouquet of flowers
Advised on private treaty sale
Purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Cadell’s team offers unmatched expertise across all disciplines and sectors.

For each art market sector there’s a world-class specialist, most of whom are former Dept Heads at Christie’s or Sotheby’s.

Cadell covers 27 different markets including: Impressionist & Modern, Post-War and Contemporary, Old Masters, German Expressionism, Modern British, Latin American art and Jewellery.

The project management and research team is headed by a former senior administrator from Sotheby’s, with over 20 years’ experience.

Commercial, negotiation and marketing expertise is delivered by former Global Management Executive Board members of Christie’s.

"It was only when I engaged the Cadell team that I felt comfortable working on the sale of my precious collection. What I appreciated most was their professionalism, knowledge, honesty and transparency. The outcome was a success in every way."
Laurie Peters Lauthier
Collector USA

Case studies: When selling

A case where a well-known collector in Washington just wanted independent advice.

All parties were already suing each other, and the art needed to be sold in a way that avoided further litigation.

Looking for impartial advice when separating out museum-worthy works in a collection.

Revealing the cost of conflating friendship with advice, when selling art.

The collection needed to be sold quickly and the paperwork was in disarray

A straightforward sale where a structured and transparent process revealed a better solution

Case studies: When buying

Pre-purchase due diligence that saved the client $30m

Pre-purchase due diligence that turned a red-flag into an asset.

When a Leonardo da Vinci sounded too good to be true.

Where simple due diligence enhanced a professional’s relationship with his client.