Leslie Rankow Fine Arts

INTERNATIONAL ART ADVISORY SERVICE

Tag: museums

The future of the art market with Dana Prussian, Art Lending Service, Bank of American Private Bank

Dana Prussian
Art Lending Services
Bank of America Private Bank

THE ART BASEL AND UBS GLOBAL MARKET REPORT, AUTHORED BY THE RENOWNED CULTURAL ECONOMIST, DR. CLARE McANDREW, WHO FOUNDED THE RESEARCH CONSULTING FIRM FOCUSED EXCLUSIVELY ON THE ART ECONOMY IN 2005, REPRESENTS THE PINNACLE OF ART MARKET RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS. THE 2019 REPORT PROVIDED 5 KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE ART MARKET PINPOINTING A 6% INCREASE IN GLOBAL ART SALES WORLDWIDE, ACTIVE BUYING BY MILLENNIALS  AND A GROWING PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE SALES AS LEADING INFLUENCES IN THE CURRENT ART MARKET.

HERE ARE THEIR FIGURES:

Art Basel

1. The US retained its position as market leader

In 2018, the US sustained its position as the world’s largest art market, accounting for 44% of sales by value – or a total of $29.9 billion, the highest recorded level to-date. The UK regained its position as the second-largest market at 21%. China was the third largest market at 19%, with sales reaching $12.9 billion – a decline of 3% year-on-year.

2. Millennials emerged as active market participants

“A very positive finding of the research this year was the dynamism in collecting by global millennials.While respondents in the US were predominantly aged 50 and above, in Singapore, 46% of collectors surveyed were millennials, while in Hong Kong the figure was 39%. Collectively, millennials accounted for just under half (45%) of high-end spenders, underlining the importance of this demographic.

3. The online market witnessed continued growth

The online market reached an estimated new high of $6 billion in 2018, representing 9% of global sales – up 11% year-on-year.

4. Auction figures rose 3% year-on-year

While economic and political issues drove risk-averse buyers and sellers towards private sales in the dealer market, sales of fine and decorative art and antiques at public auction still rose in value, reaching $29.1 billion. High-value works had the greatest impact on this sum, accounting for 61% of total sales by value.

5. Art Fairs continued to shape the global market

Art fairs continued to play a central role in the global art market, with aggregate sales estimated to have reached $16.5 billion in 2018 – up 6% year-on-year. The share of the total value of global dealer sales made at art fairs was 46%.

https://www.ubs.com/global/en/our-firm/art/2019/art-basel.html

 

Lee Krasner
Free Space Blue, 1975

AT BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK, ART LENDING SERVICES, DANA PRUSSIAN, VP, HAS AN INSIDER’S VANTAGE POINT IN TRACKING THE EBB AND FLOW OF THE ART MARKET FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE INDIVIDUAL COLLECTOR, DEALERS, AND ART AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS.

https://www.privatebank.bankofamerica.com/solutions/individuals-families/art-services.html

DANA, A WARM WELCOME BACK.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE CURRENT ART MARKET?

Even though total art sales has slowed since 2012, we’re still seeing a strong art market. Low interest rates and stratified wealth creation worldwide continue to drive capital toward art. The art market is ultimately driven by sentiment, so the greatest risk is a major geopolitical event that impedes global capital flow.

John Chamberlain
Chinati Foundation
Marfa, Texas

HOW DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE ARCH OF THE ART MARKET OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS? DO YOU SEE A RETURN TO THE GALLERY SYSTEM OF THE PAST AND A RESURGENCE OF SMALLER GALLERIES OR FURTHER EXPANSION OF THE “UBER” GALLERIES?

We should keep our eye on how technology changes the landscape (online sales have yet to deliver meaningful scale or margin expansion), art fair fatigue, and new revenue opportunities for the major auction houses. I think the future of the gallery system will be based, in large part, on how a current push-pull resolves itself over the next decade.

The mega galleries, particularly the big 4 featured in Michael Shnayerson’s Boom (Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Zwirner, and Pace), are at a critical juncture. They are currently expanding their global footprints-and Chelsea footprints- in a big way. At the same time, the mega dealers who have built these empires are not getting any younger. We will have to see what their succession plans look like. With Pace, the Glimchers will look to next-of-kin, Marc. With Gagosian, Larry could be looking to Andrew Fabricant. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. 

Evan Robarts
Untitled Tenant, 2015
Bruce Wolkowitz Gallery

DO YOU COLLECT YOURSELF?

Working on it! One of the many things I love about my fiancé, Joel, is that he was interested in art well before I met him in 2015. He owned a mix of prints and lithographs by Miro, Sam Francis, and Dali, all of which we brought with us when we moved into an apartment together. Since then, we have acquired a few pieces together, most recently a massive Evan Robarts Mop Painting from Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. It’s a wonderfully textural black and white on linoleum from his Super Reliable series.   

Helen Frankenthaler
Mnuchin Gallery: The Art of Marriage

WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS THAT YOU WISH YOU OWNED?

A Chamberlain crushed steel sculpture is at the top of my list. Before he passed away, I had the chance to see Chamberlain at work in his Shelter Island studio, which is an experience that I will never forget. Of course, we are in the age of identity, so I would love to start a female collection: Grosse, Krasner, Frankenthaler…I would weep with happiness! Also Shantell Martin. I met her this summer at the Parrish Midsummer Party. She’s simply the coolest. 

Shantell Martin
New York City Ballet commission

DANA, THANK YOU SO MUCH! THE LRFA BLOG IS SO APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR INSIGHTS.

BANK OF AMERICA PRIVATE BANK, ART LENDING SERVICES, IS NOT ONLY ATTENTIVE TO THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF ACQUIRING, COLLATERALIZING AND DEACCESSIONING ART BUT ALSO TO THE IMPORTANT PLACE THAT CULTURAL AND CONSERVATION PROJECTS ARE IN THE CURRENT ART WORLD.

 

Katharina Grosse
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin

 

 

Ellery Kurtz and the Spanierman Gallery, a heyday in American art

 

John Henry Twachtman
American, 1853-1902
Kepler Cascades, circa 1895.

SINCE ITS FOUNDING BY IRA SPANIERMAN IN THE 1960S, SPANIERMAN GALLERY’S EXHIBITIONS, RESEARCH AND CATALOGUES HAVE MADE AN IMMEASURABLE CONTRIBUTION TO AMERICAN ART HISTORY AND CONNOISEURSHIP. MR. SPANIERMAN’S SCHOLARSHIP AND DEEP UNDERSTANDING HAVE PLAYED AN ESSENTIAL ROLE IN BUILDING THE BODY OF KNOWLEDGE THAT NOW EXISTS ON AMERICAN ART AND ARTISTS FROM THE COLONIAL ERA THROUGH THE MID-20TH CENTURY. SPANIERMAN GALLERY HAS ALSO PLACED MANY WORKS OF ICONIC VALUE IN PROMINENT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Philip Leslie Hale
Collection of Spanierman Gallery at Doyle

IN 2012, THE GALLERY INVENTORY WENT ON THE BLOCK AT DOYLE AUCTION HOUSE. SPANIERMAN GALLERY’S EXTENSIVE COLLECTION OF TRADITIONAL AMERICAN ART CREATED AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY FOR COLLECTORS AND CURATORS TO ACQUIRE WORKS CAREFULLY CHOSEN BY ONE OF THE ART WORLD’S LEADING FIGURES IN AMERICAN ART. MR. SPANIERMAN’S EYE FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY, THE UNIQUE, THE INTERESTING AND THE BEAUTIFUL WAS WELL DEMONSTRATED.

https://doyle.com/auctions/12pt02-european-american-modern-contemporary-art/spanierman-gallery-llc-collection

William Merritt Chase
At the Seaside
Metropolitan Museum of Art

IN 2014, SPANIERMAN GALLERY CLOSED. ANTIQUES AND THE ARTS INTERVIEWED IRA AT THE TIME.

NEW YORK CITY — Spanierman Gallery, a leading specialist in American art, is closing its doors in December. The gallery’s owner and namesake, Ira Spanierman, said that, at age 86 and after more than 60 years in business, he is ready for some time off.

“I didn’t want to sell my business to anyone because I don’t want to entrust my name. I want to go out the way I came in,” Spanierman told Antiques and The Arts Weekly.

Founded in 1928, Spanierman initiated catalogue raisonné projects for the artists John Henry Twachtman, Theodore Robinson and Willard Metcalf, and sponsored work on Winslow Homer. It has organized or underwritten exhibitions of Homer, Twachtman, Fitz Henry Lane and Emile A. Gruppe, among others, and has sold to nearly every major museum in the United States plus many abroad.

Raphael
Lorenzo de Medici

Ira Spanierman said that his most exciting discovery may have been a portrait of Lorenzo de Medici by Raphael that he bought for $325 in 1968. Auctioned by Christie’s in 2007, it brought $37.3 million.

Spanierman said he was instrumental in selling Alice Walton her first historical American painting, a landscape by William Merritt Chase.

https://www.antiquesandthearts.com/web-10-3-14-spanierman-closing/

Boston Harbor, Sunset
Oil on canvas
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Gift of Jo Ann and Julian Ganz, Jr.

ELLERY, WE MET WHEN YOU WERE A DIRECTOR AT SPANIERMAN. IRA WAS LEGENDARY IN HIS COMMITMENT AND PASSION FOR AMERICAN ART AND EDUCATING BOTH AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN COLLECTORS IN THIS FIELD.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR COLLECTIONS YOU WORKED ON?

I joined Spanierman Gallery in 1986 as their Registrar.  The American Art world was on fire with paintings coming out of the woodwork and new collectors, as well as older collectors acquiring paintings on a regular basis.  One of the collections I helped build was for a very quiet but astute gentleman who acquired wonderful Impressionist and Modernist paintings by artists such as Winslow Homer, Theodore Robinson, Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper and many others.  Every 8 to 12 months a new work was added to his walls.  Another quiet but diligent collector was buying luminist paintings of the Hudson River School.  Both of these collections are of the highest caliber.

Victor Dubreuil
Grover Cleveland
White House Historical Collection

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MUSEUM PLACEMENTS THAT YOU HAVE MADE?

One of the more satisfying experiences for me was placing a small recently rediscovered trompe l’oeil painting by Victor Dubreuil of a postcard President Grover Cleveland tacked to a wood background.  The White House Historical Association acquired the painting for the residence. Although it was far from being what I would have called an expensive work of art, I felt like a million dollars. I was extremely proud of that sale. Placing an American painting of an American President into the most famous residence in America made me feel….well, very American.

HOW DOES SELLING TO A PRIVATE COLLECTOR DIFFER FROM SELLING TO A MUSEUM OR PUBLIC INSTITUTION?

Museums require more patience as their acquisition process is more involved and has more hurdles to jump.  Initial curator visits turn into requests for paintings to be sent to the institution for multiple board meetings.  The process often takes many months.  Still, placing works with a museum is quite rewarding.  Knowing that those paintings will now be seen by hundreds of thousands of people thanks to my efforts does make the waiting worthwhile.

Private collectors do require patience as well, but in a dissimilar fashion.  Collectors generally do not have as much knowledge as museum curators although there are always exceptions.  While there are many private collectors who are knowledgeable about the artist, there are other factors that still require explanation such as condition, or historical significance.  Collectors react to paintings more intuitively while museums are far more focused on historical significance and how a work “fits” into the collection academically.

Willard Metcalf
Summer Morning, Giverny

CAN YOU TRACK THE INTEREST IN AMERICAN ART FROM WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED TO WORK IN THE FIELD TO THE PRESENT TIME?

Looking back to 1970, scholarship in American Art has exploded.  In 1970, while you could have a rather large library dedicated to American Art, the amount of publications since then has been incredible.  Museums and galleries both published monographs, catalogue raisonnés, coffee table books, and countless exhibition catalogues on private collections, individual artists, movements or themes.  The level of scholarship increased with each year. Dozens of galleries devoted their bin space strictly to American Art.  New museums opened that were dedicated to American Art and older museums added works to their collections annually. It became competitive. Auction prices rose dramatically with the exception of years of economic distress.

Frederic Childe Hassam
The Afternoon in the Rain

HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THE PEAKS AND VALLEYS OF THE AMERICAN ART MARKET?

It was those years when markets slowed down as prices dropped but the troughs were always accentuated by the peaks and prices moving up as economic prosperity returned after each recession.

The current downward trend has many reasons.  The economic recession of 2008 took the wind out of the sails after many good years of strong headwinds.  It has not quite returned.  Why? Older buyers have filled their walls. Important collectors have donated their collections to museums or promised them upon their demise.  Not enough top end material is being discovered anymore. 

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, ELLERY WILL ANALYZE THE PROFILE OF THE CURRENT COLLECTORS AND HOW THEIR ATTITUDE AFFECTS THE CURRENT MARKET FOR 19th AND 20th CENTURY AMERICAN ART.

WE HAVE WITH US A GREAT EXPERT IN THIS FIELD WHO HAS PLACED MANY MASTERPIECES OF AMERICAN ART IN BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS. ELLERY IS AN ASTUTE OBSERVER OF THE EBB AND FLOW OF ITS MARKET. ELLERY AND THE LRFA BLOG WELCOME YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ON THE SUBJECT.

FIRE AWAY!

 

The art of relationships: art fairs, appraisal services, museum curators at Debra Force Fine Art

Debra Force
Art League Presents
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

DEVELOPING A DIALOGUE WITH MUSEUM CURATORS AND MUSEUM BOARDS AND PLACING WORKS IN INSTITUTIONAL VENUES IS ONE OF THE GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF ONLY A HANDFUL OF GALLERIES.  IT REPRESENTS AN INVESTMENT OF TIME AND SCHOLARSHIP AS WELL AS ONE OF NURTURING RELATIONSHIPS. SEVERAL CONTEMPORARY GALLERIES HAVE DIRECTORS WHO FOCUS SOLELY ON CULTIVATING MUSEUM RELATIONSHIPS FOR THEIR ARTISTS, TRAVELING ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO NEGOTIATE EXHIBITIONS AND MEETING WITH BOARDS OF MUSEUMS AND CURATORS TO PRESENT WORKS BY ARTISTS THEY REPRESENT. IT IS AN ART FORM IN AND OF ITSELF.

AS THE CHICAGO APPRAISERS ASSOCIATION NOTES:

The trick to selling to museums whether it be a large institution like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or your local historical society is scholarly research, provenance and a lot of patience. Nothing moves fast with museums. They do not have to necessarily operate on at a yearly profit, so they move at their own maddening slow pace.

IT IS A MARK OF THE QUALITY OF THE WORK AND THE EXPERTISE OF THE DEALER THAT DEBRA FORCE HAS SUCH GREAT SUCCESS IN PLACING ART WORKS IN VERY PRESTIGIOUS MUSEUMS.

TODAY, THE LRFA BLOG CONTINUES ITS DIALOG WITH DEBRA TO LEARN ABOUT THIS ASPECT OF THE ART BUSINESS.

http://www.debraforce.com

DEBRA, THE GALLERY HAS AN EXTREMELY ACTIVE AND IMPRESSIVE TRACK RECORD OF STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH NUMEROUS MUSEUMS. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I started out more in the museum field and have an academic background, so have always felt a special affinity for institutions.  Throughout my career, I have made a point of visiting the curator or director of the art museum wherever I am traveling and have welcomed them to the gallery.  At times, we’ve organized small events for museum collecting groups and patrons, including special Saturday visits to discuss American art, using our inventory as visuals.  I have also spoken at various institutions and to their collecting groups, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the High Museum, etc. 

I have always attempted to match works of art with the right institution and find it rewarding to do so.  Museums to which we have sold works in recent times include:  Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vero Beach Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Montclair Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among many others.

Norman Bluhm
X, 1964
Oil on canvas

WHAT WOULD YOU DEFINE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SALE TO A COLLECTOR AND A SALE TO A MUSEUM?

Both are rewarding, especially if helping a client build a collection; there is a sense of pride in coming up with a theme or plan and finding works to illustrate the goal.  From the museum standpoint, it is so exciting to place a work in an institution where it will be studied and admired for posterity.  It is less interesting to work with clients who are mostly buying art for decorative purposes, but it can be challenging just the same.

Martin Johnson Heade
Cluster of Roses In a Glass
Circa 1887-1895

THE GALLERY IS A REGULAR EXHIBITOR AND PARTICIPANT IN SOME VERY PRESTIGIOUS ART FAIRS. WHICH ONES DO YOU FIND THE MOST PRODUCTIVE AND WHY, IN TERMS OF ATTENDANCE, SALES AND INTRODUCING NEW COLLECTORS TO THE GALLERY

We do a variety of art fairs to reach different audiences.  The best one for traditional American art is the one called The American Art Fair (TAAF) which takes place every Nov. at the same time as the major American Paintings auctions.  We have sold major works there, including ones by Martin Johnson Heade, Thomas LeClear, Thomas Hart Benton, and Oscar Bluemner.  It is the only fair that extols traditional American art; no works by living artists are allowed.

Milton Avery
Pink Island, White Waves, 1959
Oil on canvasboard

Of late, because of the emphasis on art from the second half of the 20th Century and 21st Century, we have exhibited at the Seattle Art Fair in August and Art Miami in December.  In both cases, we have focused upon Post-War era works as well as Modernism.  These fairs give us a chance to meet new clients and to exhibit works that we do not feature in the gallery on a regular basis.  We might also show works by living artists such as Wolf Kahn, Wayne Thiebaud, or Jamie Wyeth.

John Marin
Hudson River Galley, 1911
watercolor on paper

The Art Fair, sponsored by the ADAA in New York in March, is a favorite of ours.  It also allows us to promote our 20th-century material, generally with a thematic approach such as a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show of 1913, social commentary, or urban/rural landscape.  We have consistently sold well at this fair, selling works by Marsden Hartley, Walt Kuhn, Charles Sheeler, Max Weber, Charles Burchfield, John Marin, and Alice Neel, among others.

We have also tried fairs in Palm Beach and Chicago as well as others in New York, always experimenting with new venues to determine where we best fit.

THE GALLERY ALSO PROVIDES LICENSED APPRAISAL SERVICES. WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL AND WHAT DO YOU PROVIDE?

I have been doing appraisals for over 30 years, beginning when I was at Christie’s.  We presently provide formal insurance valuations for both private collectors and museums and assist the latter with insurance figures for exhibition loans.  Over the years, we have appraised entire museum collections.  We do not presently do gift tax or estate appraisals, but we do offer consultation and recommendations for clients in need of either.

O. Louis Guglielmi
Elements of the Street, 1947
Oil on canvas

THE GALLERY TAKES WORKS ON CONSIGNMENT ON OCCASION. WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA WHEN CONSIDERING A WORK OF ART FOR RESALE?

We try to find the best quality works that we can from any period of American art, beginning in the 18th Century up to about 1980. 

For example, we have portraits by Benjamin West and Thomas Sully, landscapes by Jasper Cropsey and Thomas Moran, still lifes by Heade and William Harnett, genre scenes by Eastman Johnson and Winslow Homer, Ashcan works by Robert Henri, William Glackens, and Everett Shinn, Modernist pieces by Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, and Arthur Dove, Regionalist scenes by Thomas Hart Benton, and Surrealist and Magic Realist pieces by George Tooker and O. Louis Guglielmi, among others. 

Winslow Homer
Green Apples, 1866
Oil on canvas

We attempt to find the best of any given artist and work with pieces in a variety of price ranges to accommodate clients with varying pocketbooks.  Generally, most of our inventory is on consignment; it is very difficult to buy works at auction for resale, given public access to price records on the internet.

IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, DEBRA WILL CONTINUE TO OUTLINE THE EXTENSIVE SCOPE OF SERVICES THAT THE GALLERY PROVIDES.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE HIGH STANDARDS THAT THE GALLERY SETS IN PROVIDING EXPERTISE IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE BUYING, EXHIBITING AND SELLING OF AMERICA ART.

UNTIL THEN, THANK YOU ALL!

 

 

NB The works illustrated in this blog are from the gallery inventory

Donating a work of art to a museum

Griffin Court
Art Institute of Chicago

A BOUTIQUE ADVISORY FIRM WITHIN A GLOBAL FIRM, THE BLUE RIDER GROUP FOCUSES ON SERVING PROMINENT COLLECTORS, ARTISTS, FOUNDATIONS, MUSEUMS, AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. THE BLUE RIDER GROUP PROVIDES FINANCIAL SERVICES TO THE INTERNATIONAL ART COMMUNITY.                                                 “WE WORK PRIMARILY WITH PROMINENT COLLECTORS, ARTISTS, FOUNDATIONS, MUSEUMS AND NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. OUR CORE FOCUS IS ASSET MANAGEMENT AND WE LEVERAGE AN OPEN ARCHITECTURE INVESTMENT PLATFORM TO CONSTRUCT CUSTOMIZED SOLUTIONS FOR EACH CLIENT.”

Costume Institute
Metropolitan Museum of Art

“IN ADDITION TO ADDRESSING OUR CLIENTS’ FINANCIAL NEEDS, WE FACILITATE INTRODUCTIONS BETWEEN COLLECTORS, RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT ORGANIZATIONS AND HELP SUPPORT PROJECTS. WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT ART AND THE COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAKING, SUPPORTING, CURATING, ACQUIRING AND CARING FOR IT.”

ONE OF THE MANY RESPONSIBILITIES THE GROUP UNDERTAKES IS TO ADVICE COLLECTOR CLIENTS ON CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS OF ART WORKS.

Getting A Charitable Contribution Deduction

In order to obtain a charitable contribution deduction equal to the fair market value of the work of art, the work must be donated to a public charity or private operating foundation, and the donor must anticipate that the charity’s use of the work will be “related” to its exempt purpose.

For example, a gift of a painting to a museum would clearly be a related-use gift. A gift of a work of art to a school with a museum, which uses it for art instruction, should also be a related- use gift. However, if the work of art is contributed, for example, to the local SPCA, which in turn just plans to sell the art, the amount of the deduction would be limited to basis, because the gift would not be related to the organization’s exempt purpose. It is important that you understand the future use of the artwork, because the nuances can affect the amount of the income tax deduction.

San Francisco Museum of Art

It’s also important to understand what type of property the artwork will be deemed to be for tax purposes. Generally, a work of art held by a collector is capital gain property and qualifies for deductibility at full fair market value, if it meets the related-use rule discussed above. The contribution is deductible up to 30% of adjusted gross income (AGI), with any excess contribution deductible over the following five years (limited to 30% of AGI) until exhausted. However, the art will be deemed to be ordinary income property, if (i) the donor created it, (ii) the donor received it as a gift from the creator, (iii) it is held as inventory by a dealer, or (iv) its sale would generate short-term capital gain because it was held for one year or less. If it is ordinary income property, the deduction is for cost basis only, up to a maximum of 50% of AGI.

Museum of Modern Art
New York

IN AN ARTICLE IN WEALTH MANAGEMENT, A CAUTIONARY WORD OF ADVICE

Most major museums will reject a work of art unless it fills a gap in its permanent collection. For donated art collections, the likelihood of rejection is even higher. The art, alas, will be homeless, except if it’s a masterpiece.

To avoid this dilemma, fundraisers and their art advisors should work with donors in creating a realistic comprehensive plan. Those arrangements will ensure the acceptance of their donation by the charity of their choice, while offering them a fair market value tax deduction. Caveat Donor. “All gifts have to be unconditional,” according to Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art, before they will be considered for acceptance. This is standard practice for museums and charities alike.

Dallas Museum of Art

Nonetheless, the fundraiser and art advisor can be valuable by explaining to donors the elements of the program. Those elements include the percentage of the charity’s collection on permanent display, the criteria for displaying works of art, if an endowment will be required with the donation, and the charity’s policy on selling art after it has been put to a related use.

Finally, donors should understand the importance of having an independent art advisor who represents their interests only, not those of museums, auction houses, dealers, or artists.

ALL THESE CAVEATS ARE IMPORTANT IN THE TRANSITION OF A WORK OF ART FROM THE PRIVATE COLLECTION TO THE PUBLIC SECTOR. BE WELL-ADVISED AT ALL TIMES AS THAT IS CRUCIAL IN YOUR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.

THANK YOU AS ALWAYS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

 

Present and future: Geri Thomas, advisor to cultural and arts individuals and organizations

Geri Thomas
Consultant to arts and cultural organizations

Starting a career in the international art world requires preparation, persistence and most importantly understanding of its unique universe of career possibilities. The art world employs a wide variety of professionals in a myriad of settings. In the commercial landscape are roles in the auction houses, galleries, advisory firms, insurance companies and online marketplaces. Moving toward the non-profit space are the foundations, museums, historic houses and education institutions. Finding a great job depends largely on understanding your options, knowing your strengths and sharpening your focus. 

Meg Vosburg, Director of Careers at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York

HAVING PROFESSIONAL HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD OF ART IS A GREAT ADVANTAGE WHEN ESTABLISHING A COMPANY THAT RECRUITS AND STAFFS CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS, GALLERIES, AND MUSEUMS. IT CAN PROVIDE AN INTUITIVE SENSE OF THE RIGHT CANDIDATE AS WELL AS A PRACTICAL EVALUATION OF  ABILITIES AND AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION. ONE NEEDS A GOOD FEEL FOR THE CULTURE OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT COMES WITH WORKING IN THE ART AND MUSEUM WORLD. MOST OF ALL, ONE NEEDS A LOVE AND APPRECIATION OF ART.

 

GERI THOMAS HAS THESE QUALIFICATIONS AND MORE, HAVING SERVED THE ART WORLD AS FOUNDER OF A STAFFING AND RECRUITMENT AGENCY FOR NEARLY TWENTY YEARS FOLLOWING HER CAREER IN THE MUSEUM WORLD. SHE IS SUPERBLY QUALIFIED TO IDENTIFY A JOB SEEKER’S STRENGTHS AND FOCUS.

THE LRFA BLOG IS DELIGHTED TO WELCOME GERI BACK TO TELL US OF HER CURRENT PROFESSIONAL PURSUITS AND HER THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF MUSEUMS AND THE ARTS.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR NEW ACTIVITIES AND WILL YOU STILL BE PROVIDING CAREER ADVICE TO ARTS PROFESSIONALS?

Right after I closed the business, several gallery clients asked me to analyze their staffing requirements and salaries.  For one of my museum clients, I’ll be conducting career and professional development workshops that include one-on-one sessions with staff to discuss their goals and their resumes. In addition, I will be providing career advice to individuals and I’m excited to be able to continue to be of service and share expertise. 

gerithomas8@gmail.com

One of my long-time goals was to become an arts appraiser and successfully completed the program offered by the Appraisers Association of America this past summer. I’m hoping to bring past experience with collections and works of art to new projects, clients, and collectors.   

Immersion Room at the Cooper Hewitt Museum

WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE FOR THE FUTURE OF MUSEUMS AND THE ARTS IN GENERAL?

Hopefully, public museums will continue to align themselves with their communities and “let the audience in” to be relevant and also for the organization’s survival.  Technology will be increasingly important and let’s hope that it can be useful in bringing the visitor in the door for meaningful one-on-one encounters with works of art, history and science. Certainly our viral world has the ability to attract and expose people to a variety of art and objects.

Glenstone
Mitchell Rales Private Museum

It seems that private museums started by wealthy collectors are on the rise globally and their impact and what constitutes value and public access are still to be determined. 

Like others, I’m astounded at the hammer prices of individual works of art.  Some of these prices are more than the GNP of a small country, and I’m beginning to posit that no work of art should be more than $2 million – whether it be a Picasso, Basquiat or even a Leonardo!  What could that mean for the museum visitor experience, for the continued democratization of access to the arts, and to ruminating on the real value of beauty and creativity.

Geri Thomas can now be reached at gerithomas8@gmail.com.   

GERI, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ENLIGHTENING CONTRIBUTION TO THE LRFA BLOG.

Geri Thomas, an expert in staffing and consulting for arts and culture organizations

Geri Thomas

EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, GERI THOMAS FOUNDED THOMAS & ASSOCIATES, INC., AND ART STAFFING.COM, AN INNOVATIVE STAFFING AND CONSULTING FIRM FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS AND BUSINESSES FOLLOWING A LONG CAREER IN MUSEUM MANAGEMENT IN BOTH THE UNITED STATES AND ABROAD. SHE CLOSED THE BUSINESS IN SEPTEMBER 2017 TO BECOME A FINE ARTS APPRAISER AND AN ADVISOR TO INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS ON PROJECTS AND CAREERS.

THE LRFA BLOG HAS ASKED GERI TO REFLECT ON THE CHANGES IN THE ARTS INDUSTRY AND WHAT SHE SEE AS MAJOR TRENDS GOING FORWARD.

GERI, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REVISITING THE LRFA BLOG.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER THAT SHAPED YOUR PROFESSIONAL  HISTORY? YOU HAVE SO MUCH EXPERIENCE IN THE FIELD. HOW HAS THAT LED TO WHAT YOU FOCUS ON NOW?

Harlem on my Mind

Without going too far back in ancient history, I was always intrigued with organizations and how they function and pursued a degree in Sociology. Although I always loved art and visited museums in Chicago where I grew up, it wasn’t until I took a class in Far Eastern Art that I knew I was “hooked” and changed my major to Art History. The late 70s and early 80s, when I and some of my colleagues from diverse economic backgrounds entered the field, were decades of great change in museums – they attempted to be more inclusive, realizing the need to reach out to a variety of audiences not only for survival but also to fulfill their educational mission. 

Tutankhamen
Metropolitan Museum of Art

We all know that exhibitions such as Harlem on My Mind, and Tutankhamen were pivotal in changing museum approaches to exhibitions and collections by making an effort to represent the cultures inherent in their holdings. In addition, “grass roots” arts organizations as they were known then, were already showcasing the work of women artists and people of color and were significant in influencing the more mainstream institutions. Significant exhibitions followed such as Randy Rosen’s Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream, 1970-85; and, the pivotal Black Male exhibition at the Whitney, curated by Thelma Golden. Now there are significant exhibitions and acquisitions focused on artists of all backgrounds worldwide.

Making Their Mark: Women Artists Move into the Mainstream
Randy Rosen

THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL OF 2017 CERTAINLY CRYSTALLIZED THE NEW CHAPTER OF SO-CALLED POLITICAL ART. THE SHOW SELECTED 63 ARTISTS WORKING “AT THE INTERSECTION OF THE FORMAL AND THE SOCIAL. MANY OF THESE ARTISTS CONFRONT SUCH AMERICAN REALTIES AS INCOME INEQUALITY, HOMELESSNESS, IMMIGRATION, HATRED AND BIAS.”

DO YOU SEE THIS AS A NEW DIRECTION OR A CONTINUATION OF A RECURRENT FOCUS?

Black Male
Diptych
The Whitney Museum

“Inclusion” and “diversity” are once again in the rhetoric but have never really gone away.  Museums, perhaps because of relatively low salaries and because they often seem to lack institutional memory are once again trying to devise ways to be more inclusive – from efforts to diversify staffing and leadership roles to establishing better and more diverse boards. 

With the worldwide interest in art as an asset class coupled with foundation support for inclusion (such as the new Ford Foundation initiative to establish a “pipeline” of diverse arts leaders), another new call for change is underway. My company had a mantra – just hire qualified people from diverse backgrounds and increase compensation.  It is that simple!

Whitney Biennial 2017

IN OUR NEXT LRFA POST, GERI WILL SPEAK ABOUT THE UNIQUE COMPANY SHE CREATED TO SERVICE OUR NON-PROFIT MUSEUM AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS.

PLEASE JOIN US!