Have you ever thought that maybe it could be a good thing that you haven't sold some of your best work? By holding onto your finest artwork....perhaps the right collector or an important exhibition will come along.
I never consider any of my exhibition work as "old" inventory. I don't even call it "inventory" (except to the I.R.S.).
Boston Chinese Tea 2005 Harriete Estel Berman
Here is one story and revelation:
Several years ago a "collector" purchased one of my favorite teapot sculptures, "Boston Chinese Tea". I was thrilled. This one piece sold for enough to keep me out of the "red zone" in my accounting for several months.
Read more about Boston Chinese Tea teapot here.
An artist always hopes that their work goes to a good home. I also had the name and contact information of the collector to keep track of my work so that it could be loaned for an exhibition if invited.
In early 2012, curator Emily Zilber from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston wanted to borrow Boston Chinese Tea for an upcoming show at the museum based on Chinese blue and white porcelain.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard we both tried (along with some other people) to contact the collector, in every which way we could, the collector would not reply to the letters and emails.
My heart is broken weeping blue and white tears as the exhibition has opened at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and it looks magnificent. What an honor it would have been to participate in this show. It is very disappointing that my teapot could not be included.
Go to the Museum of Fine Arts website for a look at some of the work in the show. There are a few images from the show titled, NEW BLUE AND WHITE.
If you are lucky enough to visit or live near Boston, the show is up until July 14, 2013.
To the left is an image, CLICK on it to go to the website, there is a link to an excellent video with Emily Zilber, Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she discusses some of the work in the exhibition. It is definitely worth watching this short video.
Price your best work high enough to make it worth selling.
Always get the complete contact information of the collectors who buy your work.
Keeping your best work for an important exhibition may be key for building visibility and your professional reputation.
Know the value of your work even if it doesn't sell.
Value is not always determined by whether a piece sells.
Harriete Estel Berman
P.S. There is more to say about this issue including the shocked look of the I.R.S. auditor. Stay tuned.