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Location, Location, Location!

Posted Sep 02, 2015
Written by Fran Zeman
Category General

In the September issue of The Art Newspaper, a brief article described issues surrounding recent settlements in the Knoedler “art forgery” cases.  Comments by an art advisor suggested that the gallery debacle has affected many, especially when it comes to sales.  “Now you have to cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s ” said the advisor.   The questions is, why would this not be the standard from the get-go? 

Whether you are contracting for a valuation service, a consulting or agency agreement, or consigning works of art/objects to an auction house, gallery or middleman, full disclosure and understanding the terms of the agreement are the foundation of trust and ensuring things will go well from a contractual standpoint.  For example: if you are having an appraisal done, who is actually going to do the work?  If there is key person signing the report, is that person knowledgeable enough to recognize when others have completed the valuation as it should be? It’s easy to sign a name and it only takes a few seconds to do so; however, the associated responsibilities are long-lasting. It’s important to know who is going to be dealing with your property and the extent of their responsibilities.  The same is true for brokering and sales. Know the terms and how many others may potentially be involved in the project (there can be several middlemen) and how this affects your bottom-line; e.g., who is responsible for fees/commissions to these parties?  Who covers insurance and other associated costs in the event of damage/loss?

Begin with the basics and take steps to ensure that you know who is to be involved with the assignment/project, the qualifications and experience they bring to the table, and the full terms of engagement.  While the title of this blog generally refers to real estate – it applies to personal property as well.  As with real estate purchases, the best location is a primary consideration and often informs the purchase. For valuation services, it is equally imperative that you consider the above factors in order to obtain the best services that you can for the job and receive optimum results.