View the webinar on artists in the Hamptons on OneArtNation

Thanks to the Art Newspaper and OneArtNation for making this possible.

Thanks to the Art Newspaper and OneArtNation for making this possible.

This presentation is a high level overview of the artistic history in the Hamptons and is for informational purposes only. This presentation should not be taken as art advice or investment advice in general or in relation to specific artists.

Meet our favorite photographer Laurent Baillet

Turner, Tate Modern, London (2012) Size 120x90 cm, Ed 8

Turner, Tate Modern, London (2012) Size 120x90 cm, Ed 8

Picasso, Tate Modern, London (2012) Size 120x80 cm, Ed 8

Picasso, Tate Modern, London (2012) Size 120x80 cm, Ed 8

Malevitch, Tate Modern, London (2012) Size 120x80 cm, Ed 8

Malevitch, Tate Modern, London (2012) Size 120x80 cm, Ed 8

You know the style of these images from our marketing materials... Laurent Baillet is a noted French photographer who travels the world in search of inspiration. Here are three images from the 'Museums' series that you've never seen before! For more information on Laurent's work, visit his website.

Curating your own contemporary art collection

Before you start writing checks, first take some time to consider what you want to buy and why.

Do you want to enjoy curating an art collection? Decorate your home with a beautiful painting? Have a stab at art investment? Whatever your goal is, try to be clear about it because it will determine your buying strategy. The second step is all about practicalities. Try to allocate a budget, overall and per piece. This does not need to be set in stone - you can always adjust it up or downwards - but it is good to operate within some parameters. Consider space restrictions you may have in your home or office (does the painting fit in the elevator or does it need to be hoisted up through the window) and potential threats to the works (i.e. are fragile artworks likely to be destroyed by small children or pets).

Multiple Gems at Art Southampton

John Torreano, 100 Diamonds, 1987, Gems and enamel on wood. Courtesy Jean Albano Gallery.

John Torreano, 100 Diamonds, 1987, Gems and enamel on wood. Courtesy Jean Albano Gallery.

This fair also will highlight some of the East End’s most prolific past and present artists, including Perry Burns, Eric Fischl, Raymond Hendler, Jeff Muhs, Charlotte Park, David Salle, Susan Vecsey and Esteban Vicente. As part of Art Southampton’s lecture series presented by One Art Nation, Annelien Bruins will discuss “Artists in the Hamptons” on Friday, July 8. Read the rest of the article by Bruce Helander here on Huffington Post.

Art Imitates Art: The Versatile Digital Canvas

Art collectors sometimes find themselves in difficult situations. To name a few…they loan their in-demand paintings to an exhibition and then find themselves staring at a bare wall.

They’ve discovered the philanthropic (and substantial tax advantages) of gifting their art to a museum, but can’t imagine living without it. A favorite canvas has become too fragile to expose to the environment and has to be put away. Or, they are blessed with multiple residences, but hate being separated from the pieces they want to look at every day. There is a state-of the-art, “have-your- cake-and- eat-it- too,” solution to each of these problems -- an enhanced digital reproduction that is a beautiful and expertly-executed stand-in for the original work.

For years, serious collectors have relied on digital photography when creating permanent records of their collections. Now, the digital image can be transformed from a photograph to an artistic – even painterly -- replication. Michael Tramis, the art photographer at Lowy’s Digital Photography Studio, describes the first step in the process of capturing a museum-quality digital image. “First, I have to determine the size of the piece and its medium -- whether it is a painting or a watercolor, for example – which determines the appropriate lighting, “ He uses a medium format Hasselblad camera and a custom professional lighting system, meeting the stringent guidelines for cultural heritage imaging. “Ideally,” he says, “ the camera, lighting, computer, and printer are all calibrated together to ensure correct color output.”

The images obtained from the Hasselblad are so accurate that they provide the Lowy conservation team with the perfect “canvas” for a replication. In simplest terms, the conservator applies three-dimensional brushstrokes to the photographic surface, adding texture, depth, and finish, just like the original painting. But there is nothing “simple” about the process or the results. Lowy’s Senior Paintings Conservator, Lauren Rich, notes that she and her colleagues draw upon their extensive backgrounds in Art History and Fine Arts before they put brush to photograph. “We do extensive research about the artist,” she says. “More importantly, we actually have to think like the artist in determining what kind of bristle to use, where a stroke should begin and end, and what kind of finish to select.”

Rich recalls the first time Lowy created replications for a client. A collector donated forty-five paintings, including works by Sargent, Chase, and Hassam, to a museum, but wondered if there were a way to have reminders of the art once it was gone. “The art was a part of the family’s history,” Rich says. “It made sense to me that a passionate collector would want to memorialize the works in his home because they had so much meaning.”

Replications are also becoming increasingly important for the collector who owns works that are fragile. The delicate watercolor that is threatened by light can be preserved in storage, while a more durable “twin” hangs in plain sight. According to Rich, the “frosting,” so to speak, on any Lowy Digital Canvas is the frame. A period-appropriate frame – one made of exactly the right material, and with the right patina and carving, can be created to complement a replication, completing the effect of a real work of art.

“By marrying digital photography to techniques we use in conservation and framing -- our core capabilities at Lowy -- we are able to come up with incredible replications that are very convincing,” Rich explains. “They are not meant to fool an expert. In fact, the owner is required to formally acknowledge that the piece it is a copy that will not be used unlawfully. But they do capture the look, feel, and presence of the original work and enable our clients to surround themselves with the art they love.”

Deborah Davis
Author of The Secret Lives of Frames: A Hundred Years of Art and Artistry; Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X; The Trip: Andy Warhol’s Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure; and Fabritius and the Goldfinch.

Conservators Are Key Partners in Maintaining Your Collections

Your favorite painting falls and is damaged. A print you acquired recently has water damage. A rare book from your collection is deteriorating. You are interested in a small statue but want to get its condition assessed before buying it. Becoming a discerning collector takes not only passion, but a willingness to listen, look, and learn. Consider the benefits of gathering the perspectives of a conservation professional, one who can provide insights on materials, techniques, and care – and can also help you maintain and safeguard your collection.

Surface cleaning a WARHOL

Surface cleaning a WARHOL

As a collector, you want to protect your investment, while keeping alive the spark that inspired you to include a particular artwork in your collection. Just as an art advisor can assist you in acquiring high-quality art at appropriate pricing and protect you when you are ready to sell, a conservation professional can provide advice about safe storage, exhibiting, and travel of artworks, produce written and photographic documentation and technical analysis, and undertake treatment.  In the best of all worlds, the conservator you work with becomes a trusted partner.

Envision an early 20th-century American painting with a varnish applied in the 1960s. Is this varnish now obscuring the energy of the paint colors? Would the artist have applied a varnish to his artwork at all, and if so, what type of varnish? Conversations with your consulting conservator and that conservator’s research into the artist and his oeuvre, knowledge of varnishes, and treatment skills can result in an agreed-on plan of action and a revitalized painting that is true to the artist’s intent.  

Using raking light to document the condition of a painting

Using raking light to document the condition of a painting

Conservation professionals can also help you protect and preserve your art. They can recommend appropriate lighting, levels of relative humidity, and methods of handling and display. While no one cares to dwell on damage caused by regional disasters, such as a hurricane, or a localized emergency, such as a broken water pipe, conducting a risk assessment for your collection and minimizing risk ahead of time can make a big difference in preventing unexpected damage and loss later.  

For all these needs, finding the right conservator for you and your collection is the key, and this is one way that the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC) can be of service. From caring for art, to protecting it from disasters, to expanding our knowledge of cultural heritage, AIC and its Foundation are here to assist. What questions can we answer for you? Are there particular topics you’d like to learn more about? With our shared love of art, we are eager to hear from you.
Contact , AIC and FAIC Executive Director, or visit AIC’s website which provides information about the conservation profession, advice about working with a conservator, and the Find a Conservator tool.


Why good intentions aren't enough in philanthropy

As an advisor to many philanthropists, I have long-enjoyed a ring-side seat to the rewards of charitable giving.

Unfortunately, I have also watched smart people give away money assuming that since it had charitable purpose, it would be sure to do good, and the thought of questioning it further, to them, was ludicrous. This is similar to the attitude that clients have when they buy art: they simply fall in love with it and don't question the cost.

We all know that the most successful outcomes in traditional investing are the result of hours spent ensuring that one’s investments are well-positioned and earning the appropriate amount of return for the risk taken. To combat this, metrics that measure the impact of philanthropy dollars have become increasingly mainstream and pervasive in the grant-making arena. But after having spent far too many years trying to convince people to give based on metrics alone, I got off of my lofty soap box and took a step back. These days, I remind myself that using my client’s good intentions as a starting point then steering them to more relevant measurement models tends to beget the most impactful results.

Randy Kaufman is Senior Vice President at EMM in New York City. Read the rest of her article here.


Dali Playing Cards - Paper Conservation - CCAHA Philadelphia

In the late 1960s, Salvador Dalí created a series of lithographs with playing card imagery measuring roughly 26” x 20.” Much of Dalí’s work is characterized by his distinctive use of light and shadow, creating luminous, satiny areas of light and deep, velvety shadows. The lithographs are noteworthy, therefore, for their two-dimensionality.

A set of 20 of these Dalí lithographs that came to CCAHA for conservation. They exhibited some condition issues common to paper: staining and creasing. Conservation treatment can entail everything from washing paper in carefully-titrated chemical solutions to mending tears to inpainting with watercolors. Every treatment, whether it is on a book, photograph, or work of art on paper, is the result of careful testing—conservation science always aims to find the best solution to treat each object. The goal of conservation is stabilization so that the long-term life of the object is ensured.
For the Dalí lithographs, the treatment involved using grated vinyl erasers to reduce the surface dirt and staining. A chemical solution of ethanol and deionized water was used to relax the creases and prevent tidelines in the work. As the final step of treatment, the lithographs were flattened under weights. The weights were not placed directly on the lithographs. Instead, they were placed on blotters—thick, absorbent pieces of paper made of highly purified fibers.

Many objects finish their treatment process in the Housing & Framing department. “Housing” is anything that holds an object, from acid-free folders to museum-ready frames. The owner of the Dalí lithographs did not plan to display them, and therefore opted to have the works placed into acid-free folders that will keep them safe in long-term storage.  
The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) is a nonprofit conservation facility in Philadelphia specializing in the treatment of works on paper, photographs, and books. Founded in 1977, CCAHA serves both private individuals and nonprofit cultural institutions. For questions contact

What do the Panama papers reveal about the art market?

"The so-called Panama Papers — the leak of 11.5 million files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — have given us a deep look into the many ways offshore shell companies are used to conceal the ownership of art. Leaked initially to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper, the documents have been pored over by a consortium of journalistic outlets, which released a series of articles last week, several about the art market".

Read the rest of the article by Scott Reyburn for the NY Times by clicking here.

Understanding residential staffing for HNW families

Once you have the vision for why you need professional home staffing and the particular needs of your lifestyle, you can confidently start executing the staffing roles that will serve you best. Many of our clients have incredible homes that have taken them a long time to create and with much expense. Good staffing will help preserve their asset and accomplish the home life they are looking to create.

Some questions to ask are: How many people will I need? For example, typically for every 5,000 sq. feet you will need a daily housekeeper. Can you get away with a weekly service? Do I need a property manager or a service? If I entertain will I need to bring in staff?

It’s vital to provide your staff with a job description that clearly defines the role they’re hired to perform because job descriptions can vary widely. Once the skill set of the staff you need has been identified, it’s important to focus on achieving the right chemistry. Not only does your staff need to align with your vision of how you want to run your household, members of your staff must be able to work well together.

To establish a level of trust, a thorough background check needs to be conducted, firmly vetting every candidate. Other factors to take into consideration are communication style (either too much or too little), boundaries and liabilities. Next comes the subject of pay. Many clients still pay cash or via 1099 but recent governmental requirements have imposed overtime rules and taxes that will need to be considered.

In summary, after outlining why you need the staff you need, you’ll want to carefully consider what roles will fill these needs.

David Crimmins is the owner of Crimmins Residential Staffing. You can read more about the firm here.

Art of the Airport Tower at the National Air and Space Museum

The unusual subjects of this exhibition, airport control towers, are perfect examples of ‘form follows function’: a well-known 20th Century, modernist principle applied to architecture and industrial design. This approach is a vast contrast to the unbridled creativity of the visual arts. Having to design with functional restrictions, budgets and deadlines in place, however, can create spectacular results. Read the rest of the review on

Preview to the May 2016 Art Auctions in New York

The May 2016 Evening auctions are about to take place in New York. Phillips opens the week on Sunday 8th May after which there will be an auction every night until Thursday, when Christie’s holds its Impressionist and Modern sale. With the art fairs taking place this week, including contemporary behemoth Frieze, held on Randall’s Island, we’ll see if collectors still have an appetite for the big ticket items on offer next week, even though some pretty spectacular lots will be hammered off.

On Sunday May 8th Phillips kicks off the week with its 38-lot 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. It offers an important Basquiat, Untitled, 1981 (lot 30), painted in the year that is often considered the greatest of Basquiat’s short career (he died 7 years after he painted this work, only 28 years old). Estimated at $2-3 million, this canvas is one of the star lots in the sale.

Following the next day is Sotheby’s with their Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale (62 lots) on May 9th. One of the top pieces in the sale is a beautifully executed André Derain, Les Voiles Rouges (lot 24), painted in 1906 in London at the height of the Fauve movement. The work is estimated at $15-20 million. Its provenance goes all the way back to Ambroise Vollard, the 19th Century French dealer responsible for providing exposure to many now well-known artists (Derain, Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, to name a few). As a result, this lot is likely to attract a lot of interest.

On May 10th, Christie’s leads its 61-lot Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale with a seminal Rothko. No. 17 (1957) estimated at $30-40 million. This vibrant, radiant work was exhibited at one of Rothko’s first solo exhibitions in Europe, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London in 1961. Painted shortly before Rothko would start working on the Seagrams Murals, his magnum opus, No. 17 encompasses all of the characteristics of Rothko’s later, mature work.

Sotheby’s then holds its Contemporary Evening Auction (44 lots) on May 11th. Lot 8, Two Studies for a Self-Portrait by Francis Bacon, is the main attraction at $22-30 million. Dated 1970, this diptych is considered the icon of Bacon’s self-portraiture. It is a rare work, as it is one of only three Self-Portraits executed in Bacon’s famed 14 x 12 -inch format. In 1970, the year before Bacon’s lover George Dyer would commit suicide, Bacon was experiencing much emotional turmoil caused by his torrid relationship with Dyer which is relayed in the intensity of these two studies.

On May 12th, Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale will take place, offering 52 lots. Amedeo Modigliani’s Jeune femme à la rose (Margherita), painted in 1916, is considered one of the highlights and carries an estimate of $12-18 million. Modigliani is best known for his elongated, stylized portraiture. This work, produced in one of the most productive years of the artist’s short life, is an early example of his later, mature style.


The Role of the Art Advisor

Annelien Bruins of Tang Art Advisory, one of Spear’s Wealth Management’s ‘Outstanding in Field’ Art Advisors of 2016, was asked by leading fine art insurer AXA Art to explain how professional art advisors provide value for their clients.

A good art advisor is a true asset to their clients

The value of an art advisor is not always understood. Unlike lawyers or financial planners (professions that require a license in order to practice), anyone can call themselves an art advisor. Contrary to popular belief, art advisory is not about hanging out at cool parties or taking snapshots of your friend’s painting and selling it behind their back. The purpose of art advisory is to reduce your clients’ transactional risk, to save them money and to protect their interests.

The importance of conflict-free, independent advice in an opaque market

It is easy to lose money in the art market. This is due to the asymmetry of information that is part and parcel of a fragmented, opaque marketplace: the seller knows more than the buyer. For example, it is not always possible to find out whether the party you are transacting with has a financial stake in the artwork, or how they get remunerated. That is why independent advice is so important. To us, independence means an avoidance of conflict of interest at all times. In other words, an art advisor should not have a financial stake in the artwork they are advising you on. Additionally, we advocate price transparency: we only get paid by our clients and they know exactly what we make out of a transaction conducted on their behalf. We don’t receive kickbacks, nor do we operate on two sides of one transaction.

We view ourselves as our clients’ fiduciary. Our independence from auction houses and galleries means that we only provide advice that serves our clients’ best interests. For example, we have been working with an East Coast collector since 2011. She owns an early sculpture by a well-known contemporary artist. The market for these early works will only develop in 10-15 years time. Rather than simply helping her to sell, back in 2011, we advised her to hold on to the work until the market is ready, which means that when the time is right she will be able to sell the work for significantly more money.

The acquisition process - buying quality at the right price

On their own, collectors often overpay for the art they buy. They simply fall in love with the work and don’t care about the cost. When it is time to sell, however, there is often bitter disappointment when it turns out the work is worth only a fraction of what they paid for it. In order to prevent this scenario, we provide our clients with solid market research on how much a work is worth, prior to the acquisition, so that they can take an informed decision.

When advising clients on acquisitions, we receive one of two types of mandates. The first mandate is: find me a Twombly from the 70’s within such and such budget. For this client, we tap into our network, source the painting, conduct our due diligence and negotiate the transaction. We recently advised a client, who had a Picasso offered to her, that the asking price was unrealistically high (i.e. beyond negotiation), and as a result she did not proceed with the purchase. We are now looking at alternatives options for her. The second mandate comes from collectors who want to start collecting but don’t know how. As a part of the acquisition process we take our new collectors to galleries and fairs, and show them a multitude of art images to help them discover and develop their tastes, after which we start sourcing artworks for them.

The guiding principle for both types of clients is that we assist them to acquire high quality art, whether investment-grade Masters or emerging art, at the correct price. Our due diligence process ensures that our clients avoid buying works with title problems (i.e. was the work looted in WWII), authenticity or condition issues, and we do our price research so that our client does not overpay. In short, we reduce our clients’ transactional risk, whether they buy for investment or pleasure and whether they buy privately or at auction.

Selling art - obtaining the best financial result possible

When we sell art on behalf of a client or an estate, our mandate is to get them the best possible financial result. Imagine for a moment how stressful it is to have $1 million locked up in a couple of artworks that you have no idea how to sell, whilst at the same time dealing with the aftermath of a loved one having passed away and estate taxes due.

When we take an artwork or a collection of art on consignment, we determine whether the work(s) should be sold privately or at auction. Let’s take a look at selling at auction. We determine which auction house, which geographical location and which sale the art will be sold in. We handle the cataloguing, photography and appraisal, the transport to the auction house and all paperwork (i.e. consignment agreements, insurance and shipping contracts, PoA’s). We negotiate preferential terms for our clients which means a significant reduction in their transaction costs. We review the sales estimates. This is important because sales estimates are not the same as an appraisal. They are more of a marketing tool, used to entice buyers to bid on a work. Estimates have to be just right: too low means the work may not realize its full potential in the sale but too high means that the work may not generate bids at all and go unsold.

Selling art is about reducing a client’s transaction costs as much as it is about getting the sales estimates right. For example, earlier this year, we sold a painting by a British 20th Century artist at auction in New York. The decision on where to sell was cost-based. Most of this artist’s collectors are in the UK so normally the decision would be to ship it to London. However, that means that our client would incur significant transport and insurance costs. After conducting our research we decided that the market for this artist was sufficiently international that the buyers would also bid in New York. We were right, the work sold well and our client saved a lot of money. For another collector, however, we took the opposite approach. We sold a number of Asian paintings in Hong Kong rather than New York because the works had the opportunity to tour through Asia before the auction which generated significant interest among local collectors and helped the works to sell very well.


As you can see from the above examples the acquisition or sale of an artwork requires a different approach every time which is difficult, if not impossible to achieve if you are not an insider. Art transactions are often complex and art values have risen significantly over the past 15 years. Increasingly, therefore, as clients view their art as an asset, they expect professionalism, independence and price transparency from their art advisors. Art advisory is highly technical and time-consuming. It requires experience, an outstanding eye for art and an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the international art market.

Read the article on the AXA Art website.