Crosson Fine Art provides advice for both the novice and seasoned collector. Years of  experience with the art market, along with broad and deep knowledge of art world trends make CFA an effective source for the latest information. Whether you wish to explore acquiring new works, expand on areas of strength in your current collection, de-accession works, or make a museum donation, Crosson Fine Art provides objective advice and works with you to make an informed decision.

I am the executor of my parents’ estate. They owned a couple of works of art that they always said might be worth something, but I don’t know anything about them. What should I do?

If you can determine the name of the artist, you can do your own research to determine if there is a market for that artist’s work. Simply googling a name will tell you if there is activity for that artist. You can also visit websites such as Artnet, Askart or Artprice to try to learn more about the work of art. If it appears that there is significant activity, you can contact a qualified appraiser and go from there.  If you can’t read the signature, or it is unsigned, you would be better off contacting an auction house to see if they have any ideas as to value. Take a good digital photo so that you can send them the information - including medium and size.

I own an important work of art by a very famous artist. I’m thinking about donating it to a museum. Or maybe selling it. How can I make an informed decision as to what to do with it?

There are a lot of things to weigh in making this decision. Donors receive a tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the work of art donated, which can lower the overall tax bracket of the donor and therefore be a significant tax savings. In addition, a donor can have the less tangible but no less satisfying knowledge of making a contribution to the larger culture and to generations to come. If the work of art being donated is worth more than $5,000, it must be appraised by a qualified appraiser. If worth more than $20,000, the donor must include the appraisal report with the tax return.

Generally speaking, there is greater financial benefit in selling a work of art, but especially with high-value works it is likely that the owner will need the assistance of a broker to conclude a sale, either in the form of an auction house or a through a private sale. Here the owner would be wise to consult both a reputable auction house such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s, as well as seeking counsel from knowledgeable dealers or consultants.

I’ve bought a couple of prints in the past number of years, and I still like them, but I’d like to begin to actually buy some art that reflects my taste and that I love. How can I find artists whose work I like, and how can I start my collection?

The best way to begin to think about collecting is to expose yourself to as much art as possible. Go to museums and think about *why* certain works of art speak to you. Is it the subject matter? Is it the style? Is it something about the artist’s biography that appeals to you? Are there contemporary artists whose work speaks to you for the same reasons? Get on the mailing lists of local galleries in your community and go regularly to openings. Talk to the gallery owners. If you see work that you like, ask questions. How long has the artist been working? Is the current work typical or a new style of work? Develop a collecting budget. Prints and photographs can often be less expensive that paintings or sculptures - does the artist that you like also make prints or photographs? Visit online sources such as Artsy and Hyperallergic. The stories and reviews will be informative, and you can also see a lot of art - and discover galleries and dealers - in the advertisements.

Contact Dena at (301) 802-3638 or dena@crossonfineart.com