Inheriting art can be a meaningful and even educational experience. Not only can you learn more about the art world but you can also learn about the family members who previously owned your art collection. However, it can be stressful trying to figure out which pieces you want to sell, keep or give away. Here are a few tips to help you make a good decision regarding inherited art, be it hundreds of pieces or one single piece:
What’s Art – What’s Not?
The first step in this process is looking realistically at what you’ve inherited. Though a piece’s value can be in the eye of the beholder, some works are simply worth more than others. Hopefully, whoever left their art collection to you had it appraised prior to their death. The process will be even easier if the works were inventoried. Inventories should include photographs of each piece and where they are located within a house. Of course, this would be a best case scenario.
Is the Inventory Believable?
A second appraisal is still going to come in handy, particularly for tax purposes. If the appraisal that the original art owner had done is old, it will be outdated. You can’t always rely on inventories and appraisals for their accuracy.
What should you look for in an appraiser? Firstly, they must be reputable. Appraisers should also be well-versed in the materials or technique that the artist used and the type of artwork in question. Each item in the collection will likely need to be re-appraised. Each item’s condition will be assessed, and it will then be photographed as a record. In order to determine the value of the work, additional research may need to be done to see what kind of price similar artwork has demanded lately.
Even if you’re not getting an assessment for tax purposes, if there are several individuals to whom the estate has been left, the artwork will need to be assessed so that the estate can be divided up.
Sell or Save?
The hardest part for some heirs is whether to sell or save the works in the collection. While a creepy clown painting is probably on the discard or sell list, a beloved painting such as one that your grandmother had hanging in her living room might be something that you’d like to keep. In addition to whether or not it’s truly monetarily valuable, you must consider how valuable items are to you personally – in a sentimental sense.
What to Do If You Are Keeping Artwork
So, you’ve decided to keep a piece or several. If you don’t have room for them in your home, you may want to put them in a storage facility. Make sure that the facility is a humidity and temperature controlled. Certain storage facilities specialize in fine art storage. Regardless, if the works you are storing have value, be sure to insure them.
What to Do If You’re Getting Rid of Art
Once you have had your new art appraised, you will know what it’s worth. From there, you can try selling it privately. Keep in mind that selling fine art is not like selling something on Amazon or eBay. The process can be much more complicated. You might want to leave this part of the process to professionals. Some auction houses will consider what your pieces will likely fetch at auction and give you an estimate. Not all fine art does well at an auction and results can depend on the popularity of the artist, how many of their works are available, whether or not they’re in vogue, etc.
Have you inherited one or more pieces of art with which you’ve decided to part? The experienced staff members of Showplace Estate Buyers buy all types of art. We can be of great assistance in matters such as this. Contact us today if you’d like to know more.
Have a question? Contact Us
- (212) 633-6063
- 40 West 25th Street New York, NY 10010 USA