Art is one of the most personal investments you can make. Over decades, we can accumulate a large number of pieces, which is great when we have room to display them, but what do you do with your art collection when it’s time to rightsize? And what do you do with your art when your family doesn’t want it?
Art is a statement of what we appreciate or find beautiful. It can also be an investment, depending on the market. Unfortunately, too often we have seen our clients’ dismay at learning that the landscape painting on their wall is worth less than what they thought. Finding a hidden gem (like an unknown Rembrandt) rarely happens.
So, what do you do with all your art? We recommend following these steps:
Get it appraised by a reputable source. As the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold.” Labels and outward appearances are not always accurate. We recently had this happen to one of our clients, when the brass label on the frame did not match the painting. Labels are not a definitive method to identify a piece. Using an appraiser is the best way to go. At CMFTO, we have a deep bench of reputable appraisers and would be happy to connect you with the appropriate expert.
Identify and know the market. Art follows trends, just like fashion. What’s popular today may not sell tomorrow. And vice versa. Something that had a high auction value 10 years ago may not today. In other words, not all art appreciates in value.
Store your art properly. Damaged art doesn’t sell. Storing your art well (until it finds its new home) is imperative. When downsizing, it’s important to find a good temporary home for an extensive collection until it can be properly appraised and/or sold. Smaller collections or only a few pieces can potentially be housed with family or friends during this process.
Finally, double-check with family and friends to see if they’d like to have any of your pieces. Once the art has been appraised, you know the market, and you’ve made arrangements for what can sell, it’s worth checking again with family and friends to see if they want anything. Time and time again, we’ve seen family members change their mind throughout the process. It’s often not about the monetary value, but the value a piece holds in someone’s heart.
Once you’ve selected your favorite pieces of art to keep and cherish, you now know what to do with the rest of your collection. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be more than happy to help you every step of the way!