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Business Development Director, Asia
Lilly Dai is Business Development Director for Gurr Johns in Asia. She is responsible for promoting Gurr Johns across China and South East Asia, ensuring that both private art collectors and institutional clients have the greatest and most seamless possible access to the company’s full suite of art advisory services, including brokerage, valuations, collection management, and art finance.
A native Mandarin speaker, she divides her time between London, Greater China and South East Asia. Prior to joining Gurr Johns in 2021, Lilly spent the majority of her professional career in the art world most recently working for an advisory business in London. She has a BSc and MSc in Urban Design from University College London and a semester diploma in the History of Decorative Arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Consultant, Valuation Services
Stephen has been with Gurr Johns since 2001 when he joined as our Northern Representative and General Valuer. He became Director of Valuations in 2007 and a Board Director in 2011. He had previously worked as an independent valuer for over 15 years, before which he was with Sotheby’s in Chester where he was Director of the Furniture Department and Manager of the Valuation Department for the North of England. He started his career as a General Valuer at Lawrences of Crewkerne, and has over 40 years’ experience in the business.
Spencer has over 30 years of experience in the art world and has acted as an advisor for a diverse range of international clients including both private collectors and institutions. He lifelong passion for culture was first inspired by his father who was an American artist. Having grown up surrounded by art, he went on to study Art History at the University of East Anglia before spending time as a post-graduate at an auction house and gaining valuable market experience at three established art dealerships. He first joined Gurr Johns in 1992 and spent almost a decade at the company before leaving to establish his own successful art advisory business. Spencer rejoined Gurr Johns in 2019, bringing invaluable experience and expertise to the firm having spent over three decades as a leading art advisor.
Chief Executive Officer
Ben Clark is Group CEO of Gurr Johns, long-term art advisor and trusted partner to private art collectors and family offices.
Ben joined Gurr Johns in early 2020 after more than two decades of experience in the art industry spanning Europe, America and Asia, in building both new, and managing established art collections across multiple disciplines and regions.
He previously served as a market leader in the fields of art management, sales and art advisory during a tenure of twenty years at Christie’s. Before joining Gurr Johns, Ben served as Deputy Chairman of Christie’s Asia, based in Hong Kong, charged with expanding the firm’s overall business development across the region. Prior to that he spent 17 years in various client and senior leadership roles at Christie’s, including as Managing Director and Global Head of Client Strategy, and member of the group operating committee. Ben began his career at The Art Institute of Chicago before joining Christie’s in 2000.
Balancing curatorial understanding, commercial know-how and putting client’s interest first, highlights of Ben’s career involve a series of exhibitions he has produced and co-curated celebrating the collector, including the loan exhibition ‘Generation Y Collectors’ at the Museum of Mankind, London in 2010, and the first public exhibition of Van Gogh pictures in Hong Kong in 2019.
Vice President, Business Development
Based in Chicago, Lizzie represents Gurr Johns throughout the Midwest. She works closely with attorneys, private banks, wealth managers, insurance professionals, and private clients on the valuation of fine and decorative art, jewelry, watches, wine and other tangible personal property including general contents of an estate. She oversees appraisals for the purposes of estate planning and estate tax, charitable giving, family division, estate and insurance litigation, insurance coverage and claims, art leasing and using art as loan collateral. Lizzie also facilitates private sales on behalf of art collectors and fiduciaries.
Prior to joining Gurr Johns, Lizzie worked with architects on the facades of cultural institutions and landmark buildings including the Steppenwolf Theater and Willis Tower. Previously, she co-founded a digital media company to empower museums to expand their digital footprint while working with world-class institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, the High Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to offset the expense of printed member communications through advertising partnerships. She has further experience in art advisory, gallery management, and curatorial roles.
Lizzie holds a BFA in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of the Arts Club of Chicago and the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jewellery Specialist and Valuer
Sonia joined Gurr Johns in 2018. She has more than a decade of experience in the jewellery industry having started her career as a jewellery designer before moving on to work in retail and latterly focusing on valuations of fine and rare jewels. During this time, she has developed an extensive network of dealers, collectors, specialists and master craftsmen. She is a member of the Institute of Registered Valuers, a fellow of the Gemmological Association and is fully qualified as a gemmologist, diamond and pearl grader, having achieved distinction in her FGA and graduate diamond course with the Gem-A and GIA respectively.
Senior Jewellery Specialist and Valuer
Siobhan has 20 years’ experience in the auction world, and is a qualified diamond, pearl and coloured stone grader and, since 2003, a Fellow of the Gemmological Association. Before joining Gurr Johns in 2004, Siobhan was a valuer at Bonhams New Bond Street, London and previously, Assistant Manager at Ambrose Auctioneers, Essex. She was the UK’s top-scoring student on her Southampton Fine Art & Chattels course, and quickly went on to achieve membership of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Her valuation skills have featured on television, and are sought after by an extensive global network of clients.
Art Advisor, Contemporary Art
Shea is a contemporary art specialist at Gurr Johns. She advises private and trade clients on acquisitions, sales, valuations and collection management. Shea also brings specific expertise on navigating the growing online marketplace for art. Formerly a Senior Specialist in Post War & Contemporary art and Head of London Contemporary sales at Paddle8, she has experience with both the auction and gallery sectors. She completed her BA in Art History at New York University and her MA in Design Studies at Parsons School of Design.
Executive Vice President, Business Development
Based in Los Angeles, Lauren leads business development on the West Coast. She facilitates the appraisal of fine art, decorative art, jewelry, watches and other tangible personal property for the purpose of estate planning, estate tax, divorce, estate litigation, charitable giving, insurance and using art as collateral. Lauren also works with fiduciaries and private clients to strategically offer single works or an entire collection in the market.
Prior to joining Gurr Johns, Lauren had over 15 years’ experience in the international auction business working in London, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. After completing her MA in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute in London, Lauren went on to work with Christie’s, Bonhams and most recently at Sotheby’s as Head of Valuations in New York.
Director, Trusts & Estates
As the Director of Trusts and Estates, Darsi assists fiduciaries and private clients with the valuation and disposition of art and tangible personal property for estate planning, estate tax, divorce, estate litigation, charitable giving and using art as collateral. Darsi advises on IRS and USPAP rules, and best practices for valuations in complex art–related transactions and litigation.
Prior to joining Gurr Johns, Darsi worked in elder law, where she focused on the unique estate planning needs of artists, and developed a manual on estate planning for elder artists in New York. Before pursuing a law degree, she worked in art and film as a producer and production designer for films premiering at international film festivals and for art gallery installation.
Darsi obtained her BA from Bard College, and JD from the City University of New York School of Law, and is admitted to practice in New York. She is a member of the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Arts Council, the Planned Giving Advisory Council for the New York Historical Society, and the Estate and Gift Taxation Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Managing Director, Art Finance
Alessandro joined in 2020 to lead Gurr Johns’ Art Finance service, bringing a wealth of art financing and investment experience. He has advised on over $3bn worth of international transactions including cross-border corporate acquisitions, portfolio & fund management, as well as deploying and structuring complex debt and equity investments. Alessandro joined from The Fine Art Group where he was Vice President and CFO. Previously he was a portfolio manager and credit specialist at XXIII Capital, and prior to that worked at Citigroup and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Alessandro has a Bachelor of Commerce: Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) from The University of Cape Town, and an MSc in Politics & Economics from University College London (UCL).
Director, Art Advisory
Based in New York, Jessica brings over a decade of experience in Post-War & Contemporary Art sales and market expertise. As a Director with Gurr Johns Art Advisory, Jessica works to establish new clients and build upon existing client’s collections with focus on advising key acquisitions.
Prior to joining Gurr Johns, Jessica spent six years at Sotheby’s in the Contemporary Art Department and served as a Director in Private Sales. In addition to private sales, she secured consignments for the annual Contemporary sales, Impressionist & Modern, Prints and Photography auctions at Sotheby’s New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong locations. As a Specialist in Contemporary Art, Jessica worked closely with the with Valuations team gathering robust experience in appraisals for insurance, auction, fair market and estate purposes and is compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Prior to Sotheby’s, Jessica worked at David Zwirner Gallery for three years during Zwirner’s global expansion.
Jessica attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she received a joint Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Communications.
Senior Director, Art Advisory
Based in Los Angeles, Dane has been a professional in the arts for nearly two decades with a focus on Contemporary Art. As a Senior Director with Gurr Johns Art Advisory, Dane helps clients find the most effective ways to acquire and divest both singular works of art and entire collections. Pivoting from his curatorial background and his market knowledge, Dane works with collectors to build significant collections from globally recognized art practices. Working closely with collectors and their unique vision, he focuses on quality, value, condition and developing curatorial threads with the goal of adding and enhancing the collection as a whole. He travels and bids in the major Evening and Day sales in New York and London and attends many of the world’s most important fairs in the US, Europe and Latin America.
Dane’s advisory practice draws from his diverse experience in the art world. He was previously a Director and Auctioneer with Bonhams in Los Angeles, consigning works for sales in Los Angeles, New York, London and Hong Kong. As a curator, he produced exhibitions for the Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Oakland Museum of California among others. He was Gallery Director for Moss, the contemporary design gallery founded by Murray Moss in New York, and later the Director of the Earl McGrath Gallery in Los Angeles. He has a Masters Degree in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Deputy Chairman, Chief Advisor and Appraiser (Contemporary Art)
Christopher Gaillard, Deputy Chairman and Fine Art Appraiser and Adviser, is Gurr Johns’ chief adviser and appraiser, specializing in contemporary art. Christopher provides appraisals for estate tax, charitable donation, and insurance purposes and advises private clients on acquiring and deaccessioning works of art. Before working at Gurr Johns, Christopher spent nine years as the Vice President and Director of Contemporary Prints at Sotheby’s, where he actively solicited consignments for semi-annual print auctions totaling $7-10 million each season. From 1993 – 1999, Christopher served as Vice President of the Print Department at Christie’s, where he secured consignments of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints for semi-annual auctions and appraised prints for insurance, fair market and estate tax purposes. He has been a member of the International Print Center of New York since 2002 and was a member of the Board Momenta Art from 2001 – 2010. Christopher received his Bachelor of Art in Art History from Colby College in 1990 and his appraisals are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
Director of Operations
Tony joined Gurr Johns in 2012, after 6 years with storied corporate activist and art dealer, Asher Edelman. There he managed a private art gallery, a secondary market brokerage arm and budding art loan investment firm, Art Assure Ltd. During his tenure he supervised numerous gallery openings, a gallery expansion into a 5 story brownstone and managed Edelman Arts’ presence at various domestic and international art fairs. At Gurr Johns, Tony oversees day to day operations, as well as assists the President in the multifaceted aspects of business development and management of the company.
Charlie Horne, President of Gurr Johns, has a diverse senior management background specializing in fast developing companies, primarily in specialized business services. In 2010 Charlie was recruited into Philips de Pury by the company’s Chairman, CFO and President to create a corporate infrastructure and stable environment for the company’s headquarters in New York and London. He guided the auction house through one of the largest downturns in the art market and helped to prepare and participate in the sale of the company to the Russian luxury holding company, Mercury Group. From 2003 – 2008 Charlie spent five years growing a small business service company into a major regional player in the furnished apartment business space. This was highlighted by growth into three new markets and acquisition of major clients such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. From 1999 – 2002 Charlie worked at Regus Business Centre, the largest global provider of furnished offices, where he quickly rose to Area Director of Greater China, a key region in their global growth. Earlier in his career, he was the New York Specialty Sales Manager at Starbucks, where he played a key role in their global partnership with Barnes & Noble and Delta Airlines. Charlie received his Bachelor of Art from St. Mary’s College in 1989.
Harry has over 40 years’ experience in all areas of the art world, having acquired Gurr Johns in the mid 1980’s after a career at Christie’s and as an independent advisor. A specialist in Impressionist and Modern Art, Harry advises collectors on the sale and purchase of works of art and has coordinated a number of major valuations, including the Sara Lee Millennium Gift, and the valuation for The United Nations of the losses sustained as a consequence of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He is a leading expert witness in art market litigation, and is certified in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
Senior Vice President, Business Development
Jessica Wessel is a Senior Vice President of business development at Gurr Johns, Inc., where she assists private collectors and institutions with the valuation and disposition of art and other assets. In this role, Jessica works closely with insurance brokers and carriers, as well as private banks and family offices, to provide clients with comprehensive appraisal and collection management services.
Prior to joining Gurr Johns in 2014, Jessica practiced corporate law at Herrick, Feinstein LLP, where she also advised clients on a range of transactional art law matters, including advice with respect to art funds and art loans. Jessica received her JD from Villanova University School of Law and her BBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She is admitted to the practice of law in New York.
Nivedita completed her Masters in Modern and Contemporary Art at Christie’s Education, London. She has previously worked at Christie’s London, Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata and Frieze London.
Surath joined Gurr Johns in 2016 bringing with him over 15 years of experience working with art, luxury and lifestyle brands in India. Prior to joining Gurr Johns, Surath had worked with Religare Art for 6 years as Head of Business Development in India. He was instrumental in setting up the Art Advisory business for his previous organisation and has been advising art collectors in building up their portfolio of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art. Besides art, Surath has spent considerable time of his career developing businesses for some of the leading European Luxury brands in India.
Prior to joining the Gurr Johns team, Sarah worked for both galleries and auction houses in the tristate area. Most recently she managed all incoming valuation inquiries for an online art auction platform. There she gained experience cataloguing and researching works of art for auction while also co-managing their client services team. Sarah obtained her MA in History of Art and the Art Market from Christie’s Education, New York, and her BA in Art History from Drew University.
Nicole first came to Gurr Johns in 2012 as a Research Associate, assisting with the valuation of Fair Market and Retail Replacement appraisals. Nicole re-joined the Gurr Johns team in March 2017 as a Junior Appraiser after working as a cataloguer in the 20th Century & Contemporary department at Phillips, New York and as a Research Assistant for the Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonne at The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York. In 2019 she was promoted to full Appraiser. Nicole comes with 10 years of experience working in the arts, with a particular fondness for historic homes and unique and off-beat collections. As an Appraiser, she evaluates general contents with a focus in fine arts. Nicole earned her Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Scranton and her Master’s Degree in Modern and Contemporary Art from Christie’s Education. Nicole Smith’s appraisals are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
Vice President, Appraiser of Furniture and Decorative Arts, 19th – 20th Century Design, General Contents
Patrick joined Gurr Johns in 2011 from the 20th Century Design Department of Sotheby’s, having previously specialized in European Furniture at Christie’s. He has a BA in Art History from the University of Florida, and an MA in Decorative Art and Design History from the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. While studying for his MA he attended a summer study program offered in conjunction with the Royal College of Art, The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Wallace Collection and Waddesdon Manor. Patrick has over 20 years’ experience as an appraiser and has a particular interest in the problematic areas of Tiffany glass, bronze and ivory sculptures, and art deco furniture. Patrick Sheehan’s appraisals are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
Before joining Gurr Johns in 2017, Kristina was a Decorative Arts Generalist in the Estates, Appraisals, and Valuations Department at Christie’s. Prior to her tenure at Christie’s, Kristina was a Cataloguer and Appraiser at Roland Auctions in New York. After graduating from the Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Master’s Program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, Kristina operated her own Art Appraisal and Consulting business in Nashville, Tennessee where she was a consultant to several regional auction houses in the Southeast. Kristina’s appraisals are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
Tim joined Gurr Johns in 2010 and specializes in the Fine and Decorative Arts. He has 25 years’ experience gained with Sotheby’s New York, where he previously worked in General Furniture and Decorative Arts auctions, in Single-Owner Sales, and as an Appraiser in the Trusts, Estates and Appraisals Department. He has a BA from Williams College and is a graduate of the Sotheby’s Institute American Arts Course in New York. Timothy Hamilton’s appraisals are compliant with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
Senior Picture Specialist and Valuer
David has over three decades of experience in the fine art trade. A past member of the Society of London Art Dealers, he has sold important works of art to a number of British and European Museums, as well as corporate collections and private individuals.
Senior General Valuer
Russell originally joined Gurr Johns in 1990, working with us for a decade before moving back to Bonhams Auctioneers, London, where he first began his career in 1984, first in the Ceramics and Works of Arts Department and then as a General Valuer in the Valuations Department. He returned to Gurr Johns in 2008, having been Director and Head Valuer at Seymours, London and previously Head Valuer at Lark Asset Consultants in Essex. Russell has been a Fellow of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (FNAVA) since 2005, before which he became an Associate (ANAVA) in 1995. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS) since 1996, and was an Associate (ARIS) from 1986. He has almost 30 years’ experience in the valuations business.
Mark joined Gurr Johns in 1990 having previously worked as a General Valuer at Sotheby’s London for almost a decade. Prior to that, Mark was with the Antiques Department at Bonhams, London, after working as a trainee at Christie’s, London. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS) since 1996, and before it merged with RICS, an Associate of the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers (ASVA) from 1985. He has over 30 years’ experience and specialist knowledge of jewellery, silver, furniture and porcelain.
Director, Contemporary Art
Tony joined Gurr Johns in 2013 bringing over 20 years of expertise in the contemporary art world. He started his career at Christie’s where he rose through the ranks to become Director and Head of the Post-War and Contemporary Art departments. He subsequently held senior roles in both the auction and gallery sectors, including Director of Contemporary Art at both Phillips de Pury and Bonham’s, Director of Haunch of Venison gallery and Managing Director of Ben Brown Fine Arts.
Charlie Maxwell joined Gurr Johns in August 2020 as Director Valuations, and is responsible for leading Gurr Johns European valuations department with a focus on service delivery and client relations. The Gurr Johns valuation team employs the collective expertise of 160 Specialists from around the world.
Most recently, Charlie lead the UHNW and Fine Art underwriting team at AXA ART, before which he worked for a high-profile international family office. After university, Charlie honed his organisational and management skills as an officer in the British Army for eight years.
Client Relations Manager, Valuations Department
Claire-Louise joined Gurr Johns at the start of 2010. Her ongoing focus is client liaison and business development within the Valuations Department, and in 2014 she was also responsible for Gurr John’s centenary rebrand. An experienced communications specialist, Claire-Louise began her career in business and financial public relations in New York. She has also worked in editorial and publishing. She has a background in arts administration and events, most notably with the Covent Garden Festival of Opera and Music Theatre, an interest now expressed in her role as a Trustee of FitzFest classical music and cultural festival in Fitzrovia. She is an Honours graduate of Aberdeen University and has a Masters degree from the University of London.
Simon joined Gurr Johns in early 2014 having previously worked for 13 years at Rosebery’s Auctioneers & Valuers, where he was a Director from 2007. He began his career as an auctioneer and valuer for one of Scotland’s leading provincial auction houses, Thomson Roddick & Laurie, and has worked as an antiques expert for an online antiques website, and as a consultant in various roles including for George Bailey of Sotheby’s at The Auction Room. In 1994 he completed both the Fine Art & Chattels course at Southampton and The National Association of Goldsmiths’ Professional Jewellers’ Diploma, and in 1996 joined the ISVA now incorporated into the RICS. Simon has a broad range of knowledge, and over 20 years’ experience in the fine art world.
With over 30 years’ experience as a valuer, William joined Gurr Johns in 2000. He was previously a Senior Valuer and Associate Director at Phillips International Fine Art Auctioneers both in the Midlands and the South West, after training with Andrew Grant valuers and auctioneers in Worcester. He has also worked in a family firm of antique dealers where he gained a valuable insight into the retail trade.
Director, Middle East
Diane is Gurr Johns’ Director for the Middle East. She works with both private and institutional clients in the region advising on acquisitions and sales, valuations and collection management. Among recent projects, Diane devised and implemented an Arts Management course in partnership with the Ecole Superieure des Affaires (ESA Business School) in Beirut and London, and co-organised an international exhibition in conjunction with Ai WeiWei in Baalbek, Lebanon – a UNESCO protected site.
Diane joined the company in 2012. She is an ambassador of the World Land Trust and a board member of the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL). She has an MSc in Insurance and Risk Management, is a Chartered Insurer (CI), and has an Art Business diploma.
Senior Art Advisor
Mark Adams joined Gurr Johns in February 2020 and has been a trusted partner for museums and private art collectors for over thirty years.
Mark’s expertise lies in European Impressionism and 20th Century art, and particularly in American art. He holds an MA in History of Art from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and joined Sotheby’s in 1989 as a specialist in 20th century British Art, where he built a reputation as an innovator, founding the Irish sale. In 2000 Mark joined Agnew’s as director of contemporary art, since when he has worked as an independent advisor for the almost two decades, serving institutions, family offices and private collectors in Europe and the US.
Private Clients and Business Development
Georgina is a consultant at Gurr Johns focussed on private clients and business development. She joined Sotheby’s in 1994 after a 15 year career in the City and worked at the auction house for over 20 years. As Senior Director, Head of Sotheby’s European Private Client Group and a member of the European Chairman’s Office, Georgina was responsible for many of the firm’s most important relationships, assisting collectors with their interactions across the business and the wider art world. Georgina is perfectly positioned to guide collectors on many aspects of managing and building their collections. As an accredited mediator Georgina also acts to facilitate alternative dispute resolution. During her time at Sotheby’s, she had a 2 year interlude to help create ARK, the dynamic charity set up by the Hedge Fund industry.