Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Process of buying art: Don’t ‘paper’ over it

A proof of authenticity is one of the most important documents while buying a work of art. This can get both easy and difficult. In the case of those artists who sign/ date their work, an easy chronology is there to follow. Galleries can show similar works (at least pictures of them) to compare against.

You may face some problem in case of adding those artists, who are no more there, and whose works are not signed. In such cases, if you are keen to buy a work, you must demand authentication, if you are going to spend a considerable amount. The work may be coming informally from some other collector, or formally from some other gallerists who have previously dealt with the late artist, his/her estate, or even the family.

Paperwork must be an integral aspect of your collecting process for safeguarding better investments, advise art experts. Columnist and writer Kishore Singh had noted in one of his insightful essays, “That is largely because in the financial and corporate worlds, professionals realize the value of the tradable entity such as funds, shares, and real estate. On the contrary, there are not many specialists around to guide you through the whole maze of investing in art.”

The expert had mentioned: “It cannot be stressed enough that while an artist’s work is the actual property you invest in, it’s the relevant papers, which provide both proof of ownership and the real indication of value.” The expert guides us about the relevant papers and precautions to be taken while buying or selling an artwork:

In certain cases, the late artists’ families charge money for authenticating a signature, or work. There is that valid concern that they might end up authenticating even a fake work so you are better off resorting to every possible means to ensure the authenticity of an older work. Be vigilant even in the case of contemporary artists, he has advised, reminding us about the fakes’ controversy doyens like Manjit Bawa and Anjolie Ela Menon.

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