About

The firm advises families, private collectors, estate lawyers, trust companies, private wealth management firms, business advisors, accountants, museums, foundations and other non-profit institutions on all aspects of the art market.

We act solely in the best interests of our clients, with complete transparency, and are skilled in resolving complex issues related to the valuation, authentication and sale of artwork.

RONALD VARNEY Principal

Ronald Varney has over twenty-five years of experience in the international art market, working first at Sotheby's for twelve years before beginning his own specialist art advisory firm in 2002. He is especially skilled in serving the complex art-related needs of families and private collectors. 

Ronald Varney started his career in the art world in 1989 at Sotheby's New York, where he served initially as the Director of Marketing Development and was later a Senior Vice President in the Trusts and Estates Department. He wrote for numerous Sotheby's publications and also founded Sotheby's Books.

His objective in starting an independent art advisory firm was to be an advocate for private clients in navigating the challenges of an increasingly complex global art market.

Mr. Varney has written widely on the arts for such publications as Esquire, the Smithsonian, House & Garden and The Harvard Business Review. He is a cum laude graduate of Amherst College, where he was an Independent Scholar in English. His personal collecting interests include rare books, drawings, photographs, English furniture and Japanese art.

JANE BORTHWICK Managing Director

Jane Borthwick is an expert in the strategic management of diverse, specialized collections. She is especially skilled in the creation and execution of marketing and sale plans for the estates of prominent artists.

Jane Borthwick

Jane Borthwick joined the firm to combine her lifelong interest in art with her business background in luxury goods management. She grew up in Vienna and comes from a family of collectors. 

A graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, Ms. Borthwick served as a trustee of Radcliffe College and was a founder of the Harvard Business School Women's Organization. Currently she serves as President of the Board of Directors of ArtTable, the national organization of leading women in the visual arts professions. 

Ms. Borthwick writes on aspects of art collecting and connoisseurship, and she is especially drawn to the works of Austrian, German and American artists. An avid traveler, she actively seeks out destinations associated with artists and great collections. 

LAURA DE FRISE Managing Director

Laura de Frise began her career as a private banker followed by over thirty years of experience in the auction world. She enjoys developing strong and successful relationships with advisors and collectors while overseeing all aspects of the appraisal and sale process.

Jane Borthwick

Laura de Frise, formerly a Vice President of Christie’s in Chicago, joined the firm to work with collectors and advisors in Chicago and the Midwest. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the art world having been a principal link between Christie’s salesrooms around the world, local private collections and leading institutions for over thirty years.

As an active participant and supporter of many charitable endeavors, Ms. de Frise serves on the board of The Old Masters Society at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rush University Medical Center Woman’s Board and the University of Chicago Women’s Board.

Ms. de Frise is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She enjoys reading about all aspects of art and collects contemporary prints and photographs.

Art Advisory & Acquisition

Working with experienced as well as emerging collectors, we provide guidance on acquisition opportunities while researching and vetting specific works to guarantee authenticity and value.

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Jewelry

Valuation & Sale

The sale of artwork, whether at auction or privately, is a complicated process. Our firm brings discipline and guidance to this process on behalf of the client to ensure the most successful result.

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collection management

Collection Management

Our representation of a client’s interests extends to the important area of collection management, encompassing a range of often neglected activities that may ultimately protect and enhance a collection’s value.

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