With the recent spate of natural disasters in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean and California, the need for accurate insurance records has rarely been so heavily emphasized on a national level. Locally, 5,000 homes burned down in Sonoma County, leaving many of our local inhabitants homeless and scrambling to make accurate reports to insurance adjusters in the midst of immeasurable loss. I am certain the residents of communities all over the United States are feeling a similar sense devastating loss accompanied by the associated pressures of financial recovery.
While this isn't the most alluring topic, I feel compelled to share some anecdotal experience in the hopes of underscoring both the intrinsic, emotional value of collecting art, as well as the importance of making sure your collection is currently and accurately evaluated with your insurance provider.
As one of the top wildlife sculptors in America, Leo E. Osborne's painting and sculptural work has only appreciated over the past four decades of fine art creation. The National Wildlife Museum now has three of Leo's works in their permanent collection. Brookgreeen Gardens in Pawley's Island, South Carolina acquired a large bronze of Leo E. Osborne's recently, and just this past November, the City of Galveston acquired a 4 foot in diameter bronze sea turtle of Leo's for permanent display on their sea wall. High-profile, public collections such as these increase the current market value, as well as secondary market value, of fine art work. We recently sold a legacy sculpture of Leo's that has been out of edition for over 10 years, and that event now increases the value of the other pieces in the edition.
This year, abstract expressionist painter, William Crosby will be celebrating his 80th birthday with a 60 year retrospective show at Portland Art Gallery, in Portland, Maine. Over the course of his six decade career, Bill's work has predictably increased in value. The 36"x48" painting acquired in 1995 is worth more today. We owe it to ourselves as collectors and gallerists to make sure the value of the work is updated accurately, not only as a celebration of successful collection and representation, but also in the interest of protecting that heartfelt investment.
As I serve this community moving forward in the wake of devastating loss, what I see is this: no one laments the loss of their Apple TV. Not one person who has wept in the gallery with me was heartbroken over the sofa. The sentimental treasures-the inherited legacy items like Great-Grandmother's china, Mother's pearls, the Persian rug from a trip in 1964, the photos, the paintings, the sculpture-these losses are the source of grief, for they are irreplaceable. Art is part of the warp and weft of our human experience and provides a sense of self and of legacy. It is tangible evidence of our physical journey through space, time, perspective and evolution.
Notably, every survivor I have spoken with has side-stepped the morass of self-pity. The community has embraced a prevailing attitude of "fix and move forward". Such resilience is nothing short of remarkable to witness. As a gallerist, I, and others like me, have an incredible opportunity to mitigate some of the loss, and to seed a new legacy for the the future. The void of home will be reconstructed, in time. The void of things lost will be assuaged by the opportunity to refresh and reassess one's tastes and preferences. The ability to choose, to select, to make fresh decisions will re-establish a sense of empowerment.
As a collector of fine art, I encourage you to reach out to your galleries, trusted art advisors and appraisers. Have the current value of your older paintings, sculpture, rugs and art objects assessed and updated. There is no true restitution for the irreplaceable. There is only moving forward, and in such moments, accurate documentation becomes crucial to facilitating the healing process and repairing the void.
Art is why I get up in the morning. The opportunity to be a matchmaker; to serve as liaison between the collector, the artist and the art.