Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Website for Art collectors

These days a lot of the art business happens online - it’s the fastest and most efficient way to find information on your own.

I was recently invited to join a new art website that brings all the important art information together in one place. It’s called MutualArt.com and includes a huge archive of articles from top publications, auction results from leading auction houses, as well as information on artists, museums and galleries around the world.

The unique aspect of the site is that it is a personalized service. This means that members set their preferences and receive updates based on these interests. There is an illustrated newsletter that comes out every week and includes news headlines and important events happening in my area.

The site has a great selection of articles about collecting art and includes a vast database of places to research and buy art.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Books About Collecting Art

There are two books I’ve come across that are great resources for new or established art collectors.

The first one is called Collecting Contemporary and is written by collector Adam Lindemann. It includes art market information and interviews with the biggest players in the contemporary art world. It covers everything you need to know about buying contemporary art, while explaining the protocol for buying art on the primary and secondary market. The book is beautifully illustrated with artworks by some of today's top artists.

The bulk of the book is made up of interviews with collectors, curators, critics, auction professionals and art consultants. The insider interviews include in depth conversations with Jeffrey Deitch, Barbara Gladstone, Thea Westreich, Peter Brant, Eli Broad, Francois Pinault, Phillipe de Pury and Glenn Lowry, among others. The book ends with a glossary of very helpful art market terms.

The second book is Great Collectors of Our Time, a major survey of contemporary collecting and collectors. It examines many of the greatest collectors living today in Europe, North America and the Far East, and follows their tastes - whether in the Old Masters or the avant garde - from the 20th century into the 21st.

This original and far-reaching survey features many collectors who have spoken about their collections here for the first time. Magnificently illustrated throughout, with favourite images often selected by the owners themselves, this book will appeal to anyone interested in art and in the extraordinary people who collect it. The author, James Stourton, is Chairman of Sotheby's UK.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Understanding the Art Market

Understanding the art market is really tricky since its one of the last unregulated markets. There doesn't seem to be any rhythm or reason to it. Here is what powerhouse art dealer Larry Gagosian says about it.

”The art market is actually not a market. It is too small to qualify as a market. And even if it could be understand as a market, it is unique in itself. No clear price comparison mechanism exists. For example, the ’art market’ does not adhere to the basic theory of ’supply and demand’. When prices drop in the art market, this is not a sign of increased demand, but rather, a sign that demand is decreasing. So, it must be understood that this means: dropping prices, even lower demand,” Larry Gagosian said during an interview with Adam Lindemann, an author and art collector.

Writer Donald Kuspit believes "that the irrational exuberance of the contemporary art market is about the breeding of money, not the fertility of art, and that commercially precious works of art have become the organ grinder's monkeys of money. They exist to increase the generative value and staying power of money -- the power of money to breed money, to fertilize itself -- not the value and staying power of art."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Collection Management System

Collectors should have basic information and documentation for each artwork in their collection. Documentation should be kept current and stored in a safe place. It is best to keep your collection records in both paper and digital format. There are several collection management software programs available, though if you are just starting a collection or have a small collection you may find it just as efficient to use Excel or a similar database system.

Documenting your collection helps with the following:
• insurance claims
• restoration
• ownership records
• accurate representation in publications
• tracking museum or gallery loans

Using an appropriate database system, enter the following data for each artwork:
• artist
• title
• subject
• date
• material
• measurements
• signature placement
• markings or inscriptions
• a short description or personal story that relates to the object

Documentation of purchase, condition report, invoices, provenance and appraisals are also important to keep. Excellent visual records are essential, and many galleries and collectors use both transparencies and digital media to document their inventory. Documentation should span from entire artworks to detailed close-ups. It is recommended to hire a professional art photographer to document your collection. They can bring the proper lighting and photography equipment to your home. Galleries may also supply visual documentation upon request.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Art Storage

Depending on the scope of your art collection and available storage space, you can store your art at home or offsite at a professional art storage facility. The most important factors when storing art are protection and preservation. Storing art in a clean, safe, fire proof and temperature controlled environment can prevent accumulation of mold, moisture, fading, tarnish, abrasion or other damage.

If you store work at home, designate a secure, clean and closed off area for the artwork. It is best to have strong shelves and a padded surface off the ground on which art can be placed. Heavier work should be placed closer to the ground. Organize your storage by artist, media or size. If you are storing work in a portfolio case or on a shelf, secure work between two pieces of foam-core or cardboard and store
the work flat.

If your art collection is being stored for a long period of time or if you do not have the available space, an off site art storage facility is a great option.

Criteria for choosing an off-site storage facility:
• 24/7 security system, fire resistive structure
• climate control
• dedicated storage vaults with 24 hour turnkey access
• monitored, restricted and documented access to the facility
• private vaults for collectors requiring a higher level of security and
• personal inspection of the facility