Why It Is Important To Insure Your Art

In New York City Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for many art enthusiasts to insure their art but there is still a lot of uninsured or under-insured art out there. According to Kathryn Tully in 2012 article for Forbes “the premium value of insured art globally was somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion. If those estimates are right, there’s a lot of uninsured art out there.”

IMG_6654

 

Many people have collections of art, or perhaps just one valuable piece but rarely know exactly what they are worth.  It is surprisingly easy for a painting, sculpture or even a more experimental piece of art to be damaged due to some unforeseen event, which is why it is important to be aware of its value. This summer alone there has been a significant amount of flooding in the tri-state area, and this has resulted in thousands of dollars in damages.

To protect your investment obtaining an appraisal of the retail replacement value means that you will be sure you have the right insurance coverage. The majority of standard home-owners insurance policies have limitations in regards to what can be reimbursed in the event of damage or loss to art and antiques.  So it is a good idea to look closely at your policy if you are not exactly sure what your insurance covers.

If you are a serious collector you will probably need a more specialized policy tailored specifically to your collection. Insurance companies that are particularly qualified for this are: AXA, Chubb, and AIG.  However, it is still important to be aware of your art’s value as the years progress.

The art market is continually fluctuating which is why it is a good idea to update these appraisals every couple of years. The value of your art will probably change with the shifting market. Unlike other luxury goods, such as a Chanel handbag or a BMW, a work of art is unique and difficult to replace.  This is why using an appraiser who is USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) certified and a member of the ASA, RICS, or ISA, is essential.  An appraisal by a qualified appraiser will be fully researched and legally sound. And always make certain, no matter who the appraiser is, that he or she has the right experience to evaluate the specific piece you own.

See this post on our website at http://www.otoole-ewald.com/blog/

July 2014 Museum Tour

Peter Paul Rubens, Adoration of the Magi, 1626-27
Peter Paul Rubens, Adoration of the Magi, 1626-27

Yesterday was  Sunday and I thought an appropriate day on which to visit the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), expecting to see some brooding Renaissance paintings of saints and sinners, the cousins of which I remember seeing there a year or two ago on Broadway and 61st Street. Yes, it’s been that long, but it won’t be in the future.

Actually I went for a presentation by Mary Temple of light images which turned out to be way beyond what was expected. These are strangely beautiful  shadow paintings, images of the outlines of leafy trees cast against sides of buildings and interior walls, often with no light source at all, but deceptively realistic. And that’s what the artist is after -the trompe l’oeil effect. It’s quite lovely, extraordinarily painstaking work.

That is what is great about Manhattan – the unexpected bonus that comes with a casual visit to a not very well known (at least in the local art community) museum that has been around quite a while. The unexpected continued with the exhibition in the main gallery of “Back to Eden,” where the work of some of the art world’s better known practitioners was on display.

It was Eden all over the place, as interpreted by Jim Dine, Barnaby Furnas, Fred Tomaselli, Pipolotti Rist, Alexis Rockman and Adam Fuss, among several other artists who had taken on their personal  interpretation of what was really going on when Eve bit into the apple while the serpent smiled.

No, there are no photos of this exhibition. I was so taken aback by the show that I was three-quarters of the way to the Museum of Art & Design before I realized my mistake and my feet insisted I keep going.

I do have three photos from that show – well really shows, plural – since there are five floors of exhibits to wander through. One floor had selections made by the Director David McFadden from his 16 years as head of the museum. There was a tremendous amount of material to see, but frankly, it’s more than a little confusing to figure out who did what. The accompanying booklet didn’t really help and I didn’t see many people using it anyway.  Perhaps some minor changes will be made to clarify the viewing when the MAD Biennial continues its series of exhibitions examining “cultures of making in urban communities.” Cultures of making?  Does that mean creative work in various media? I think that’s what I saw.

Chelsea Art Walk 2014

Last night OTE’s team took advantage of the late gallery hours in Chelsea. Below are a few shows and works we found most noteworthy.

We all enjoyed seeing Tara Donovan’s enormous installation pieces at Pace Gallery.

Tara Donovan

In this work, the millions of acrylic pieces create a mesmerizing shimmer. The form recalls a fluffy puppy. A reaction to Jeff Koons, perhaps?

 

Dr. Elin Lake-Ewald thought that Pierre Dorion’s trompe-l’œil paintings at Jack Shainman Gallery were riveting – about the best examples she saw on the walk.

Jack Shainman Gallery.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ewald found it not altogether surprising that most of the larger galleries closed on the Chelsea Art Walk last night. The art explorers wandering the streets, from 19th  to 26th, didn’t look quite up for a $30 million Christopher Wool or a $50 million Koons production. It was for the most part  the medium sized and smaller galleries who opened their doors (and occasionally their wine bottles), to the Gen X crowds.

The galleries we checked out for the most part had wall works (and sometimes floor works) in the $10,000 – $25,000 range. A well-thought out way to attract potential investors in art.  If a collector has the ability to pay just about anything for what he wants in his home(s) he can visit those spaces any day any time. Or send his art advisors. He doesn’t have to wait until working hours are over. Great strategy. Good show.

 

Julia Plotkin was intrigued by Nick Gentry’s paintings on mosaics of old floppy disks at C24 Gallery:

C24 Gallery

and by John M. Armleder’s mixed media glitter-covered paintings at Galerie Richard:

Galerie Richard

and also by Jerry Kearns’ wall paintings at Mike Weiss Gallery. Whoever buys one has the artist’s studio team come and repaint it in their space, à la Sol Lewitt.

Mike Weiss GalleryMike Weiss Gallery 2

Most of all, Julia loved the fare at Unix Gallery, which offered a box of chocolates by Peter Anton and a lollipop by Desire Obtain Cherish:

Peter Anton at Unix Gallery

Desire Obtain Cherish at Unix Gallery

 

 

Alanna Butera’s choice for the best curated exhibition goes to Procedural Portraiture at Caroline Nitsch Project Room. She was captivated by the intimate interaction between each artist’s exploration of faces, and the different use of media and line to reveal the inner essence of the subject.

Carolina Nitsch

Walking into Franklin Evans’ paintingassupermodel at Ameringer McErny Yohe, she was immersed into the artist’s mind and his artistic practice. The walls and floors were adorned with tape, digital prints and photographs.

 

Franklin Evans

 

As the sun set, however, the galleries closed their doors and the OTE team headed home.

IMG_3727

 

Appraisers’ Chatroom July 2014

Art fairs: just when everyone was saying there were too many of them, even in the summertime they won’t give us a rest. Received three invitations in one week to attend fairs in different European countries. How do they have the strength? Spoke to a young woman who’d been to a huge fair in Dubai and she says it was better organized than any she’d been to in US or Europe. I’ll take her word for it.

Stuart Davis, Untitled, ca. 1922, cat. no. 1480 © Estate of Stuart Davis, Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Stuart Davis, Untitled, ca. 1922, cat. no. 1480 © Estate of Stuart Davis, Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

OTE is not inviting you to an art fair. We don’t give them, just attend to check the pulse of the market. But for somewhat lighter entertainment we are going to share the link to our new website – no, not today – but soon. This is like a trailer before the show begins. It took a little extra time to receive permission from our artist clients or their estates to use their images. I hope you’ll find it was worth the wait.

Retrospective Appraisals

Each profession has its own complexities that require frequent clarification, not just for clients but for practitioners as well. In the appraisal field, one regulation that requires frequent clarification deals with past values.  This regulation governing retrospective appraisals seems to tempt appraisers into offering their own interpretations, but it should not.

A Retrospective Appraisal comes with an automatic stop sign once the effective date of valuation has been reached.  After that point, there can be no more data collection. How then can it be misinterpreted so often?

———————————————————————

The above is an excerpt from an article by Elin Lake-Ewald, Ph.D, ASA, RICS, June 2014.

To read the complete article please click here:

Retrospective Appraisals, June 2014

Appraisers’ Chatroom June 2014

A great way to keep me from reading an article, anywhere, anytime, is to title it “What is Art?”  I’ve been inundated by that question either online or in printed publications at least a thousand times – okay, maybe 15 times.

I would suggest that a more interesting question would be: “What isn’t Art?”

6-27-12 b

I take this very seriously. What I figure would be a far more fascinating topic would be one that focuses on any animal, mineral, vegetable, inhuman or human thing, whatever, that cannot qualify as art or as a component of an artwork. Alternately: concepts that cannot be undertaken – ever – as the locus classicus of an experimental art project.

On the other hand no one can answer my question unless he can define what art is.  So “What is Art?”


I MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION BUT I MAY BE ABLE TO SURPRISE YOU

LOOK FOR THE EXCITING NEW O’TOOLE-EWALD WEBSITE COMING SOON!

Viewpoint Spring 2014

Learning about Art

A two-day conference (May 4-6) in Toronto, hosted by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), produced a dynamic program that should be duplicated in other cities at other times.

RICS is the largest interdisciplinary appraisal organization in the world, with members in 149 countries around the globe. Its impact is just being felt in the USA, but it’s our guess that its extraordinarily high standards and professionalism will soon be utilized by clients in the museum, foundation, law, insurance and private sectors.

The Summit Americas 2014 program included one panel of particular interest to OTE members because of our firm’s involvement in cases around that subject.  ART FRAUD – A GLOBAL PROBLEM discussed this continually growing issue and its effects on the marketplace. The moderator was Ronald Spencer, Counsel, Carter Ledyard & Milburn, with panelists including Jo Laird, Counsel, Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler; Steven Schindler, Counsel, Schindler Cohen & Hochman, and John Cahill, Cahill Partners. As is usually the case, the need for protection of expert witnesses came up several times and we learned that there is legislation in the works that would provide indemnification for those acting as experts in art cases. That would certainly lead to greater transparency, a much needed factor in understanding how the art world and the art market functions. Here’s to hope! We know from our non-bill passing Congress that proposed laws can drag on forever, even when they are needed immediately.

Looking at Art

The Great Art Festival is on and with it brings physical exhaustion and mental meltdown. Besides Frieze, the ultimate test of art endurance, there are 12 other satellite shows and, of course, the contemporary art exhibitions at five auction houses in the city. Even for the hardiest of long-distance runners this is a bit much and choices must be made. On the opening day of Frieze I found myself fascinated by the strange media utilized by many of the artists. This seems to be the newest ‘new’ twist in a field where even the most familiar artists seem to be striving for what is fresh and unusual in materials without necessarily coming up with any new ideas. Or perhaps that is the new idea. Dashing past the booths I noted a giant flat fabric rug with figurative imagery, at least two different artist’s works of bleached linen wrapped around board, UV ink on Fischer canvas, used sandpaper sheets applied to canvas, acryl glass convulsed into glowing wall sculpture, and concrete spatter over canvas. And that was just in the first hour of the show. What else in the way of innovative media lurked among the other booths?

I’m off to test my strength against the multitude of art shows around the city and wondering why all this is constricted into four days of frantic searching for art purchases. Why not expand the exhibits into one more leisurely week so there is breathing room to see all the shows, not just have to pick and choose according to time availability? These shows could be paced out, with a different small set every 2-3 days, enabling those who are seriously interested in buying to have the opportunity to actually look at the art.

For every sensible suggestion on how to deal with this avalanche of art shows there are probably just as many opposing it for personal reasons. I don’t care. I still think all this art at once is crazy and not very illuminating. Maybe that’s because I really care about what I am looking at rather than at the gallery signage.

July 2013 Chelsea Gallery Tour

Not easy on the feet to make the rounds of Chelsea in July as heat waves radiate from the hard cement streets. You want to linger longer in the air conditioning of the galleries, but that’s no way to make the rounds if you’re aiming for about 20 stops before you succumb to rising temperatures and your endurance flags.

I’ve waited a few days to recount my visit and in the interim have forgotten most of the exhibitions I saw – attributable to either lapsed memory or lapsed interest. What stuck in my head?

Wolf Kahn at Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe for one. At 85 he’s more than had his chance to get it right, and in many ways he does. One of the best pastelists practicing today, Kahn’s lushly vivid scenes literally grab the viewer’s attention and holds it by its decorative color. Not great, but good art by a serious artist.

Kind of interesting, although slightly dated in it depictions of very old, proudly wrinkled survivors of the Cuban Revolution superimposed on the antiqued walls of that city. Shown in Cuba, as well as across America, the paintings combine the images with writings and evokes a sense of intimacy shared with people the viewer will never know. The show is at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Not going to say where, but saw two identically themed exhibitions that were take off by younger artists on famous images of Modern Masters. But in these cases, why?

Leslie Tonkonow always has interesting shows. This one, of 20 color photo images depicting men, women and children in the middle of absolutely nowhere at night in the glare of a pinpointed light source, in this case a powerful flashlight. The effect is slightly weird, strangely riveting, rather scary.

The kind of show that always gets me – amateur photos of “The Flight Attendant Years: 1978-1986,” at Lombard Freid Gallery. It’s exactly as described. A male flight attendant photographs his friends and fellow flyers in various combinations (not pornographic but friendly), and somehow allows the viewer to for the moment step into the past when flying was fun, both for the attendants and for the passengers.

A most satisfying visit was to Paula Cooper Gallery to see an exhibition of that very fine photographer, Eliot Porter’s vintage prints, both black and white and color – dye-tranfers. I’ve always thought of Porter as a naturalist who loved to photograph trees, but this show is much more and much greater. Much to be admired.

At Klemens Gasser and Tanja Grunert (about to move to the Lower East Side) a show called “October 18, 1977” caught my eye. Based on Gerhard Richter’s 15-painting cycle about the imprisonment and finally the end of the Baader-Meinhof West German terrorist gang from the 1970s, the commissioned artists riff on the master’s version. This goes back to what I was writing about young artists utilizing directly the work of their predecessors. It’s always been done, but does it have to be so literal? Where are the original ideas? It’s not possible that in the artworld we’ve used them all up, is it?

Please don’t answer that.

June 2013 Chelsea Gallery Tour

The season may be winding down according to the calendar, but there’s still a lot of life left on the art scene.

It may be because there are so many artists and so little room in which to fit them. That is why group shows were invented. I saw so many on Saturday that I no longer remember where they were as I wandered the crowded streets of Chelsea, packed with tourists (I always figure if they are overweight and in shorts they are tourists) and art students. The buyers were probably in the Hamptons which accounted for the absence of directors in situ.

I take that back about not remembering group shows – there was “5 Rooms” at Robert Miller Gallery that included Yayoi Kusama with a paint decorated upright piano in red with her overall obsessively repeated decorations in black and white.

This is in no way a sequential tour since I just dumped the press releases for the shows in my MZWallace (designer married to David Zwirner) bag and they were scrambled when taken out this morning.

There were a few surprises, at least to me, at the Luhring Augustine exhibition of works by Philip Taaffe who used to be such a straight lines and bold dark color guy just a few years back. Now he is into gestural painting with hand-drawn relief plates, linocut printings, gold leaf and marbeling, with sources from around the globe which he has traveled a lot. Almost as much a jolt as when Stella went from minimalist work into phantasmagorical. There was a lot more fantasy at the Pace show of Tim Hawkinson, but the gallery wasn’t handing out handouts so I can’t give you the names of the pieces.

Leila Heller always has something interesting to see. This time it was something called “The Consumption” by Negar Ahkami, which is basically a bunch of scared figures being consumed by whirling blue tsunami waves of destructive force. She also showed twisted rugs by Faig Ahmed, oddly disturbing weavings of distorted carpets that at first seem standard but after a second look you realize there’s something crazy about them.

What made the tedious cross town journey to Chelsea totally worthwhile was my visit to Galerie Lelong where there was an extraordinary exhibition of the late works (1981-85) of Ana Medieta that included a segment from a documentary film currently in post-production about the artist’s fellowship and residency at the American Academy in Rome. There was also a film depicting earthen silhouettes of the artist’s body in a landscape in which gunpowder is ignited and which are related to her floor sculptures, similar to those she created in the landscapes of Cuba, Iowa and Mexico. This was the 9th solo exhibition of Medieta’s work at Lelong. I wondered that there was such a trove to show since the artist’s death was so untimely.

There was a beautiful exhibition of Linda Stojack’s paintings – the operative word being “beautiful” because the artist’s evocative images latch on to your imagination with their lush palettes, half formed images and striking lines. It’s old fashioned expressionistic painting with a contemporary twist. At the same gallery was the powerful work of Bruno Romeda, an Italian artist who deals with simple forms in a complex way.

Maybe I was tired by then, or maybe it was hard to get out of the way, but the rope sculpture of Specer Finch at James Cohan Gallery almost got me. This site-specific installation called “Fathom” (a measure six feet in length used to measure to depth of water) is composed of a very, very long (120 feet) twisted heavy rope to which are attached paper tags and swatches of color that the press release says may “best be considered a drawing of Walden Pond.”

At Andrea Rosen Gallery there was more conventional unconventional art in the form of Wolfgang Tillmans’ 11th one person show that consists of works selected from a four-year project begun in 2008 and includes a wall of 128 pages from Tillmans’ newest book Fespa digital/Fruit Logistica.

At Bruce Silverstein’s was Rosalind Solomon’s exhibition that drew crowds – “Portraits in the Time of AIDS, 1988, which brought in groups led by lecturers. It was too crowded to wait and figure out how the talks were conducted but it might be worthwhile to return on a quieter day to review this award winning photographer’s third gallery show.

There were multiple other exhibitions to remember from last Saturday, but it’s not possible to skip three – “Landscape Painting in the Civil War Era” at Driscoll Babcock, New York’s oldest art gallery, taken from the gallery’s holdings of Hudson River School paintings. Refreshing to see these old friends like Blakelock, Durand, Inness, Kensett and Fitz Henry Lane (gave his name in full because just writing ‘Lane’ won’t do it).

At Friedman Benda the first solo gallery exhibit in the United States starred the Campana Brothers’ “Concepts,” a really unusual body of cowhides that include a wall-mounted bookshelf, table, and standing shelf; a “Racketz’ collection of chairs and a screen in vent brass with nylon stitched base and hand-stitched motif made from remnant Thonet chair backings, A cabinet made out of tanned and leathered skin of the world’s largest fresh water fish and a sofa and chari created out of a series of life-like stuffed alligators. Naturally the brothers are from Brazil. The editioned alligator sofa is $90,000.

Really tired now so I’ll wind up with a visit to Gagosian Gallery where I took in two outsized Venus sculptures in polished stainless steel, polychromed Hulk statues, a black granite Gorilla, a humongous balloon swan, rabbit and monkey of monumental scale, standing huge and gleaming in a light filled huge cavern at the rear of the gallery. Koons sculptures are always flawlessly executed and shiny. One tiny finger print would throw the whole show out of kilter. There will have to guards galore at the Whitney Museum when it presents a major retrospective of his work in 2014.

Okay, quickly, what else did I see? “Chasing the Light,” Deborah Dancy’s oils on canvas at Sears-Peyton Gallery Jannis Kounellis’ classically composed installations of coal, wool, iron, glass and stone, mixed with personal articles like overcoats, shoes and hats at Cheim & Read; small dreamlike paintings by John Lees at Betty Cunningham Gallery, and finally, Christopher Evans’ clearly delineated landscapes at Fishbach Gallery.

Whew! I had no idea I had gotten around so much in just a few hours, and still had time and shoes enough to get uptown and shop. It just proves that even though those who pass for fashionable in this city absent themselves (or never leave their air-conditioned apartments) on weekends it doesn’t mean the city dies. Museums are still open, galleries still operate, artists still work, dealers still sell. So much art, so little time.

Growth in the Art Market

Something strange is happening all over the art world and I’m trying to figure it out. Maybe I hadn’t been noticing all that much, but I started thinking about it a couple of weeks ago when I attended an American Art auction at Sotheby’s and a small Norman Rockwell nostalgic painting sold for $2.2 million, of course a record and a wake up call to start looking at a few other sales that weren’t Contemporary Art.

What I’ve discovered is a consistently rising market for many kinds of art that normally don’t attract the mass market, causing me to think that money is being invested in work that is not exactly affordable for the ordinary Joe, but could be a bargain for serious collectors if they are comparing it to what is going on at the evening sales at the auction houses.

 

Just this morning I was looking at the results of the Antiquities sale at Sotheby’s:

Marble torso of a young satyr estimated at $50,000-80,000, sold for $329,000

Egyptian bronze figure of Harpocrates-Somtous estimated at $30,000-50,000, sold for $137,000

Hellenistic marble head of a woman estimated at $20,000-30,000, sold for $112,500

Two small Egyptian polychrome figures estimated at $7,000-10,000, sold for $53,125

 

At the Sotheby’s Old Master sale:

Antwerp Mannerist School painting estimated at $100,000-150,000, sold for $257,000

Gillis Mostraert painting estimated at $4,000-6,000, sold for $43,750

Circle of Jan Wellens de Cock painting estimated at $30,000-50,000, sold for $106,250

Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s small painting estimated at $700,000-900,000, sold for $2,285,000

 

These were not aberrational sales, but a reflection of the overall sales, and I am finding this repeated in the sales of other categories of art, i.e., paintings, sculpture, objects of art. I’ll be checking out the other areas now that I’m alerted to the rush towards obtaining physical proof of where someone’s money has gone rather than investing in the more ephemeral ink on paper representing stocks, bonds, gold and whatever.

The other day when someone told me her son was so interested in art I remarked that so was everyone else. It probably  wasn’t until the 1970s and Scull auction sales that the general public was alerted to the fact that paintings could fetch a good deal of money. Then the world seemed to sit up to look a little more closely at the art market. Interest gradually rose, but the wild prices of the late 1980s and the 1990s really caught their attention.  And as I told the lady, everyone today is interested in art. But it is because of a growing appreciation of it or the prices it brings?