Monday, July 29, 2013

Check the relevant papers before you buy an artwork

It is always a wise idea to ensure the worth of what you wish to own. In other words, before you buy an artwork, check the relevant papers.

1. The documents that prove ownership and the real indication of market value are as important as the work itself. In the previous blog, we have followed how it is advisable to make sure that you authenticate the work you wish to buy. While acquiring the artists who are no more and even the contemporary artists currently in spotlight, check the works for authenticity.

2. Apart from the proof of authenticity, another important aspect is provenance. Two key questions to be asked are: Who first acquired the work? Where was the work shown and stored? You may request for catalogues and any other relevant source where it may have been displayed or published. Ask for auction papers or purchase receipts, if the seller is willing to show them.

3. In any case, you will have to go by the prevailing price benchmark. You may seek the framer’s bill, restoration bill (and such paperwork) that goes to show the ownership trail, and provides a clue to the work’s history.

4. More and more galleries now provide a certificate to substantiate authenticity and transfer of ownership. The well-established auction houses mostly issue these certificates for the purchased work with some preconditions. The broader point is if you acquire a work sans the required paperwork, you may get a good bargain but you may end up getting a raw deal, ultimately.

5. You cannot sell it later close to its deserved value if the work is not backed by the requisite paperwork. It is better to go for higher priced, authenticated art, as it will guarantee good returns in the long term. It leaves out guesswork from the buying or selling quote and gives it a fair value.

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