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June 02, 2008


Allen Thomas

Loved this post. I collect contemporary photography, was on a panel about a year ago with two other collectors. The question was asked if I ever sell ~ and like you, I answered "sometimes". I might as well have said I buy work only to light it on fire! The reaction was so strong, I went home and had to give it all a lot of thought. Why were these folks so stunned that I sometimes sell work? In fact, one of the collectors announced to the crowd that we were "clearly different kinds of collectors" ~ with a smirk. My thoughts then and now ~ screw them. I spend my money to buy what I want. It helps the gallery, it helps the artist, and it's mine. I've had two museum shows of my collection, and another opening the new Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke in November. I've done my part, enjoyed the work, and when I decide to sell, I will. The problem is not w/ you (or me) selling works of art ~ it's with collectors who think a purchase is equal to a lifetime contract. It's insane, and none of their business. By the way, glad to have found your space. Allen


Allen, Thanks for your comment. I think the "good" people out there want to protect living artists from getting cut out of a possible windfall of cash on a secondary market sale. Most realists realize that a windfall on the secondary market can lead to price increases for that living artist on the primary market. But it could also go the other way and damage an artist's price point if not sold or if the price point on secondary is unable to stand up in primary. The bottom line is, like you said, that once a piece is collected, it is (so far) the right of the collector to do with the work as they wish in resale. Until that changes and some laws and contracts are in place stating what a collector can or can not do, I personally wish to remain in good standing with the artists and galleries with whom and which I work, and plan on going back to the source if I am interested in resale. If they won't or can't help, then it is up to me to manage my collection as best I can. Thanks again for checking in!

Beverly Kaye

When adding a gallery addition, I was forced to come up with more money, and had to very reluctantly sell a piece I had hoped to hold on to forever. I had been courted by a collector who had been interested in this piece for a very long time. He has a very fine collection, and I knew the art was going to a very good home. The artist was furious with me although he could not have come up with the retail price himself, and he personally admired the new collector. Even Museums deaccess works from time to time to pare down, or to renew their holdings. These are art works, not children! In California there is a ruling that when works get resold, the artist gets a percentage of the money. It will be interesting to see if this idea takes wings and consequently the furor dies down.

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