Protect your art investment during a crisis.

Estimated read time 5 min read

Are you prepared to deal with a crisis?

We are rarely given time to prepare for crises such as natural disasters. COVID-19 has had the opposite effect, giving us plenty of time to prepare our investments.

We have more time to spend at home because of the ability to shelter in place. They are tackling tasks they have put off, like cataloging artworks and creating estate plans and wills. In March, for example, we saw an influx of art professionals and collectors using Artwork Archive to manage their paintings.

In this period of social isolation, many collectors take stock of the art in their homes. Or they realize how important it is for them to have information about places that are not physically accessible, such as second homes or storage facilities.

We often think of the future when times are uncertain. How will we handle our legacy? Prepare your art collection and investment for a crisis and its aftermath.

Make a list of the artwork that you own.

The global pandemic has already brought about many risks. You can only control what you can control. Avoid trouble by implementing a documented strategy.

This includes records of provenance, appraisals, and bills of sale. In the event of theft, flood, fire, or any other unforeseeable loss, a database of provenance documents will be your best resource.

Inventory records can be a valuable tool for the executors of your estate. This information gives them all the details about your collection and individual pieces.

What to do now: Inventorying a collection can be overwhelming, so working backward is best. You’ll begin with the artwork that you remember best. You’ll also be able to answer questions about your recent purchases. You can then walk down memory lane by archiving your older pieces. Catalog your art in an online collection management system.

The Provenance of the Record

Make sure that the authenticity and value of your work are easily documented and can be proven. To confirm the legitimacy of an artwork, appraisers, and advisors will consult the provenance. It is essential to know the history and location of a painting to verify its origin and creator. This is particularly helpful when there is no living artist.

To create an accurate provenance for each piece, you’ll need the title, artist, dimensions, creation date, price, medium, and subject. You can add more details to your Record if desired: condition of the piece, signatures, acquisition information, etc.

What can you do now? Scan your paperwork to create an electronic record. Store the information in a database of online art inventories like Artwork Archives to have it available on any device.

Track the value of your art and appraise it.

Keep accurate and current appraisals for each piece in your collection to understand its value. If you need to claim, your insurance will reimburse you for the most recent deals and assessments. You can generate a comprehensive report for your insurer using a database.

You’ll also want to ensure that the artworks are valued correctly if they will be sold after your death. Most likely, your attorney needs to become an expert in the art market.

What to do now: Identify which works require an appraisal. Every five years, it is recommended that you have your artwork appraised. You can easily access your appraisal documents and details by adding them to an Inventory Database.

Photograph your art

It may seem obvious, but it can be tempting to type in the title and artist of an artwork and call it a day when creating a list. Do not fall into this trap! It would be best if you took a picture of your painting, especially now that we’re not as mobile. The piece could be in another building, a second home, or another part.

It can be easy to lose track of which painting is titled with each title as your collection grows. If you want to sell your art, sending high-quality pictures to your accountant, attorney, and art advisor is excellent. You can also share them with potential buyers or galleries. You can send the images to them quickly using the Artwork Archive Inventory Report or Portfolio Page feature.

What can you do now? Photograph your work. You can only afford to hire a professional photographer after a while. No problem. Here are four easy steps to photograph your art like a pro.

Talk to your family about your estate planning.

Discussing the future of your art collection with your family members and children can be difficult. No one likes to think about or plan for the future, but it is possible that your heirs will not want to maintain your art collection. They may instead prefer to sell it.

Mark Van Mourick, President of wealth management firm Optivest, Inc., recommends candid discussions with each child to determine which items have sentimental value for you and them. “Ask the question in such a way as to allow them to answer honestly, and don’t be offended if they do.”

You can start planning for the future once you know how your family feels about your collection. Art estates are created to ensure that your group will be well-cared for and that you can enjoy it.

What can you do now? Get on the phone and call your family or use a virtual meeting tool like Zoom or Google Hangouts to gather everyone together.

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