What Information is Needed for Appraising Value?
Copyright and COPYCATS

Discretion Has Value Beyond $$ Visibility

You might have noticed that the previous posts in this series about appraising value for a artwork has not included names and dollar numbers. While my personal and professional approach emphasizes transparency, there are times when the discretion and confidentiality has value.

The collector's donation of my work to a museum has been in the works for years, yet the appraiser would not mention or discuss the names of the collector or the museum. Even though I knew the name of the collector, and shared this information in our conversation, the appraiser would not confirm or deny this information.

Her commitment to anonymity  and discretion reflects her responsibility and professionalism.

Antique-bar-scaleI already knew that the collector preferred to remain as non-public as possible from previous correspondence, but to think that it could not be mentioned in a private conversation surprised me.

Sometimes, we must respect the wishes of others, even if it appears to sacrifice visibility to gain other benefits.  In this case, I have foregone the publicity that a famous collector has purchased my work to gain that collector's trust over the past 16 years.  It would have been advantageous on my resume, but a confidential relationship with the collector has value beyond visibility.

Most collectors prefer to remain anonymous. And the bigger the collector, the more likely they prefer to remain unexposed to uncontrolled visibility in the age of the internet.

Consequently, when I see artists and makers itemize the names of collectors of their work on their resumes or websites, this is a gigantic red flag.

Did the collectors approve such public revelations?  

Based on my experience, artists and makers should never publicly identify a collector's name without permission. It also gives me the hibbie jibbies when I see articles and blogs about unsolicited contacting of your collectors.

There is a very fine line that must be decided on a case by case basis. If you get to know the collectors who have purchased your work, that is great. An email now and then, may be welcomed. Sure ask them if they be mentioned on your resume or website.

At the same time, the collectors of your work may have a different perspective and not want to receive unsolicited emails, musings, newsletters or public mentions. There is no one approach, but if the collectors think your correspondence sounds needy, self promoting, or over abundant, you could easily burn that bridge.

PREVIOUS POSTS in this series:

What Information is Needed for Appraising Value?

Appraisers Approach to Appraising Value