Thursday, April 28, 2016

The mess many artists leave behind. Your estate.

" I mean they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing, and a second time when someone says your name for the  last time."        ---- Banksy

I have a friend who is a painter. Her mother, also a painter, recently passed away. My friend told me that when she went to her Mom's house to sort things out, she discovered hoarded paintings in the garage, closets, under the beds, etc. 200 plus. She was totally overwhelmed. After some thought, she ended up picking out a handful she wanted to keep, and most, if not all the others, were donated into good homes.
The burden upon those who survive us is emotionally substantial. Estate planning (no, I am not selling any, nor are there any advertisers on this blog) can help ease the frequent terrible squabbles that often happen after someone dies. Artists have other concerns besides the usual inheritance/property issues which any lawyer can help you with.
It is probably a good idea to hold on to some works, and reduce (sell) the inventory. Maybe destroy the weaker pieces. You will be known by what is shown. Photographers, whose output tends to be prodigious, sometimes do what is called a Final Edit, where they pare down what they want to be known for, and burn the rest.
Are you leaving archives? Box them, or find someone to help you do so. Don't overdo it, and remember the bigger they are, the less likely they are to find a home without a major benefactor, something few artists can muster. Number your works. This serves dual purposes. It helps prevent knock-offs and fakes, because most are copied from photographs, and your ID number will be on the verso of the work, invisible to copiers. It can be referenced and serves to authenticate. It also allows one to make a very clear inventory - and designate which of your heirs get which pieces and which gallerists get to sell it. 

                                                                                           ---- Luis


  1. Thank you for check the suggestions. I will get busy. The dumpster lures at my death door.

  2. Thank you for check the suggestions. I will get busy. The dumpster lures at my death door.