Hayat Jmammou is the founder of Geneva-based Hayat Fine Art Advisory and the International Women Art Collectors Club.
Fine Art Shippers spoke with her about how an advisor can help build or develop an art collection, and what her club does to promote art collecting among women.
Hayat Fine Art Advisory: Nurturing Collections That Last
You run a successful fine art advisory company based in Geneva. How did you start out in the art world, and what was your motivation?
Hayat Jmammou: In my twenties, I spent a decade working in the medical devices industry, holding sales and marketing positions at major companies like Johnson & Johnson and BD. However, my true passion has always been art. From a young age, I was drawn to museums and began collecting art pieces, such as porcelain cats, and stamps. As I grew older and had disposable income, I started to acquire black-and-white photographs and paintings. At 30, facing a personal crossroads and after going through a divorce, I decided to pursue my passion for art. I opened an art gallery in Switzerland, focusing on emerging artists. Having led a mobile life with international professional positions in Belgium, Spain, and France, I eventually settled in Switzerland, a country I love, where I wanted to open my art gallery.
While I loved working with artists and immersing myself in the art world, the stationary nature of running a gallery didn’t suit me. I hired someone to manage the gallery, but it wasn’t the same without my direct involvement. Eventually, some of my collectors asked me to manage their collections, which led to art advisory.
What type of services do you offer as an art adviser, and who is your clientele?
I essentially work with two types of art collectors. The first type includes those who are new to art collecting, such as young investors or individuals passionate about art and looking to start their own collections. With these clients, I begin by understanding their interests and asking questions to determine the type of art, period, medium, etc., they prefer. Based on our discussions and my observations, I guide them in starting or building their collection, which also involves visiting artists, galleries, and art fairs. I also direct them to other experts when their interest lies in a specialized area that I’m less familiar with, such as African art or ceramic, for example.
The second type of client already has an established collection. Most of my job is based on anticipating the collectors’ needs. For them, my role involves management aspects, such as moving artworks from one location to another and coordinating with professionals for shipping or storage. Additionally, I assist in managing their collections, which can include organizing exhibitions, thus enhancing the value of certain pieces, finding an art piece they are looking for, or helping them to sell one.
Another project of yours is the International Women Art Collectors Club. How did it come about, and what is its goal?
As Hayat Fine Art Advisory grew and I got more clients through word of mouth, I noticed that all the clients and collectors I interacted with were male. This observation struck me as odd and prompted me to question why there weren’t any female collectors among my clientele, as I had many interactions with women art patrons and collectors during art fairs. So I decided to create the International Women Art Collectors Club. The idea was to establish a space where women could feel comfortable and receive appropriate advice.
Could you elaborate on how the women’s art collectors club operates?
We organize two main gatherings each year. One is always in the spring in Monaco, and the other is in the autumn at a location we decide on one or two months in advance. For instance, in 2024, we’re planning to meet in Marrakesh. These events include conferences where we present reports on the state of art collecting and a gala.
Experts attend these conferences to speak on various topics, for example, the intersection of finance and art, addiction and art, law and art, or valuation of an art collection. I also plan to include discussions about space and art, as some collectors have shown interest in sending their art pieces into space, as we have already seen such cases. In addition to these main events, we organize smaller, more personalized gatherings throughout the year, tailored to individual interests and specific types of art collecting. We also provide access to art experts, ensuring that our members can consult various specialists based on their needs.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of working in the art world?
That’s a great question. I think the most rewarding aspect is the feeling that people appreciate my work and seek my advice. For instance, just a few days ago, I learned that a book project to which I had contributed is nearing completion and will be released in January 2024. This is a great honor for me, as it is led by a prominent figure in the art world.
Interview by Inna Logunova
Photo courtesy of Hayat Fine Art Advisory and
International Women Art Collectors Club