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- Collection management is an ongoing process. Start by documenting and tracking relevant information.
- Maintain a file for each work. Records can be paper, electronic, or a mixture.
- Attend the exhibitions of the artists you collect. Clip their reviews.
- Turn to a certified appraiser when you need specific information about value.
- Decide whether you need Fair Market Value or Insurance Replacement Value. If you send a work for conservation, obtain the conservator’s report for your file.
Documenting each work
you've assembled a collection. How do you look after it?First of all this is an ongoing process extending form roper installation and the right inns coverage to planning for subsequent stewardship. A conservator, appraiser, and attorney may all play a role.
Documenting each work
A good first step is documenting and tracking relevant information. Maintain a separated file for each work. Include the purchase invoice with date and seller. Ask the gallery or auction house for available photographs as well as exhibition and conservation histories. Take color photographs of the back and front of a painting and several angles of a three dimensional object.
Record information on the back of the photograph as it will be hidden once the painting is framed. Train your eye to detect all nuances about the baseline condition of each object is there an anomalous patch of paint? Do striations appear in the patina of a bronze sculpture? Date all observations. Finish by completing the checklist on the next page.
Your records can be paper, electronic, or a mixture. With a simple spreadsheet Microsoft Access database or off the shelf collection management software. You can create reports with ease. Plan to store a copy of your data in a separate location. Although you may prune works from your collection, keep the records. They are a valuable part of your collection history.
For a more precise figure turn to a certified appraiser. Specify whether you require fair market value (the basis – with adjustments—for taxes, gifts, and donations) or replacement value (for insurance). Fair Market
Value is equivalent to the price likely to be received at auction. Replacement value is usually higher, and can be thought of as an objects’ retail price. It is wise to have a collection re-appraised every five years or so. As the foregoing suggests, good collection management is the rational side of collecting. Yet its rewards are also satisfying, and it yields a fine result: a collection secured for the ages.
- Dates of Artist/Maker
- Title of Work
- Description of Subject Matter or Type of Work
- Date of Work
Inscriptions and Markings: Examine the back as well as the front of every two-dimensional work. Record earlier labels, inventory numbers, artist signatures and all other writing.
Location of object: Especially important if you have more than one residence.
Display: Who framed or mounted it? How is it secured?
Provenance: What is the collection history of the object? To whom did it previously belong? Pay special attention to antiquities and to any work created before 1946 thought to been in Europe after 1932.
Bibliography: Is your work cited in the catalogue raisonne’ (: a systematic annotated catalog; especially: a critical bibliography) of the artist? This will definitely affect valuation, as authentication, frequently depends on a work’s inclusion in the accepted a catalogue raisonne’. Are there other citations?
Exhibition History: If possible file a copy of the catalogue of any show in which a work has appeared. Otherwise make a copy of the complete reference including dates and location.
Purchase Price and Date
Loan History: Record exhibition dates, venues and the value placed on the work at the time of the loan. Make notes about its condition report form each location.