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
• ownership records
• accurate representation in publications
• tracking museum or gallery loans
Using an appropriate database system, enter the following data for each artwork:
• 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.