Top 10 Questions Owners Should Ask When Acquiring or Owning Art
Due diligence is an important part of the collecting process that will help guarantee the quality and status of a work of art. Asking questions about authenticity, provenance, and condition and doing basic research will help you avoid many of the common mistakes and pitfalls present in the art world as well as protect the value of your treasures for many years to come. Here are the top 10 questions you should ask before you pull out your wallet.
1. Is the work authentic? The gallery should show some kind of hard proof of authenticity.
2. Does it appear in the artist’s catalogue raisonné (if one exists)? Request a photocopy.
3. What is the provenance? Find out who owned if before and go as far back as possible.
4. Is the work looted or stolen? Check with the Art Loss Register.
5. What is the condition history? Has the work been lined or otherwise restored? Ask for a report.
6. Should the work be cleaned? Find out the artist’s intent and always consult with a conservationist.
7. Should I have it independently appraised? Only if you need it for art insurance, donations, wills and estates.
8. Should I insure it? If so, for how much? There are inexpensive art insurance policies to cover the fair market value. You will need to hire a USPAP certified appraiser (incidentally, we offer USPAP appraisals)
9. Do I have a photograph of the work, and know the dimensions and other identifying details, in case the work is stolen? You should keep a jpeg and save all invoices/documentation with all the details possible.
10. If the work is stolen or damaged, do I know what to do? Report it immediately to your insurance company and request an estimate from your local conservationist for repair.