Art professionals are looking for creative ways to evolve their own businesses and find additional revenue streams.

Here at Artwork Archive, we’re seeing a trend in which art professionals are turning to collection management. Art advisors, gallerists, appraisers and conservators are adding art inventory management as an additional service offered in their practices. 

Based on countless conversations with art professionals around the world, here are the main factors driving this trend.

 

Art professionals already have an existing relationship with the target client—the collector. 

Whether you are sourcing art, appraising a collection, or doing a conservation project on a specific work of art, you are working directly with collectors. And, in many cases, those collectors could benefit from more than just your core services.

“The topic of collection management comes up often with our clients, especially as some reach a point in their lives where cataloguing that collection is top of mind” Haley Roberts - David Klein Gallery, Birmingham, MI. 

And they aren’t alone in their experience as this is something we’ve heard more and more from our professional network over the last few years. 

Art collection services also provide networking opportunities. “It’s an excellent way to build relationships with the type of collectors you want to have relationships with,” shares Jennifer McGlinchey Sexton, a conservator of photographs and works on paper. “The management side can be a way to build long lasting relationships with the client,” she emphasizes. 

 

Collection management is a direct complement to the other service art professionals are providing.

Conservators are already providing condition reports and assessments for works in a collection. 

Appraisers are already providing information about the value and history of an individual work or entire collection.

Gallerists are providing insights into artists and artworks. They’re also generating the documents, like bills of sale, that will be saved along with the artworks. 

In all those cases, it’s extremely beneficial to have that information organized in one easily accessible place. Appraisals, treatment plans, provenance reports all contribute to the value and authenticity of the artworks. A well-organized collector can have these records at the ready for insurance, shipping, estate planning, organizing loans, and all of the other tasks that come up when owning artworks. 

 

Recent evolution in technology has changed the game. 

The last decade has seen major changes in the world of collection management software. While many legacy solutions still exist, modern day solutions have reduced the barrier of entry and offer solutions that are much more accessible from both an ease of use and cost standpoint. 

“I think it’s [adding collection management to their offering] has always been happening to a certain extent. I just think it’s much more prevalent now thanks to the introduction of products like Artwork Archive. Legacy platforms were either overly complex or had too many challenges to make them viable.” — Robin Moore, Art Consultant

Modern day collection management platforms make it incredibly easy to not only store the various information these professionals are generating, but also facilitate sharing with other parties like estate planners, attorneys and insurance companies. 

 

Art professionals can guarantee secure solutions for their clients. 

In addition to being much more accessible (easy to use, easy to access, affordable), cloud-based platforms have made significant advances on the security front as well and don’t have the weaknesses and vulnerabilities that come with legacy “download only” solutions. This has given collectors the peace of mind that comes with knowing their information is safe and secure.

There has been a significant pivot in the perception of the cloud. As a society, we continue to turn to the cloud and technological tools for our day-to-day needs. Art collection management is no different. 

“Another major contributor to this trend is the changing perspective of the cloud. What was once viewed as this amorphous concept that seemed shrouded in danger, has now evolved into something people understand can deliver more safety and privacy than the solutions of old.” — Robin Moore

 

Baby Boomers are in need of estate planning services.

There is a clear need for art collection management. Over 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age each day—a trend that will continue for the next decade. Estate planning is on the to-do list for many of them. And, cataloguing their collection is a core part of that process.

Christine Guernsey, former ISA President and head of Guernsey and Associates, Fine Art of Appraising, shares her experience working with art collectors. “The topic of documenting one’s collection comes up most often with older clients that are starting to think about estate planning. In addition to needing appraisals on some of the individual works, they often have never done a proper inventory on the collection which can be a major challenge for their family in the event something happens.”

Appraisers can be of help. Christine expands, “Appraisers are problem solvers by nature which is why we’re often asked to help in situations like that. We also have the expertise and background that make us a natural choice when they are looking for those additional services like inventorying their collection.”

 

Inheritances generate a need for organizing.

Similarly, for that person inheriting the artworks, they may need guidance when it comes to managing their new art assets. The art professionals working on the estate of a deceased collector are often the first point of contact for the one on the receiving end. Christine explains that she often hears, “I’ve inherited this and I have no idea what to do with it.” The art professional can easily step in to fill the blanks, and even set up this new person with a collection management system of their own—all in an effort to continue preserving the legacy of the collectible. 

 

Artwork Archive has been working with art professionals for over a decade. 

If you’re interested in adding art collection management services to your repertoire, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll gladly share how our online art collection management platform helps artists, collectors and institutions manage their art inventory. Contact us today!