By: Todd Milks
It’s been a not so well kept secret for a while now, vintage demin is hot; and there’s no bigger name in the game than LEVIS. Here is a great article from the Daily Mail explaining a little bit more about how to spot valuable denim, be it labels or stitching or hidden grommets, this is a fascinating article about something just about every household has.
By: Todd Milks
The Canadian art market has historically been hesitant to buy and patronize emerging artists and contemporary artwork. ‘Emerging artists’ refer to an artist without significant recognition on the secondary (resale) market. ‘Contemporary art’ describes any art that has been created between the 1960s and the present day. As a movement, it defines an immense breadth of styles, yet also refers to the artistic practice of any living, often ‘emerging’, artist.
In Canada, the ‘emerging’ label characterizes many artists, considering the small size of the secondary market. In the average art market, this reluctance to buy/invest in emerging artists can stem from the liability that an unestablished artist can represent, what with their lack of defined style and body of work, and unpredictable career choices; all variables which could affect the value of a work/artist on the market.
In Canada, however, this reluctance stems from a more deep-seated issue in the market/art culture, which is the lack of infrastructure in the art scene and lack of seriousness/market expertise on the part of many art community professionals. This situation discourages international and Canadian collectors alike from being patrons of contemporary and 'emerging' art.
The Canadian art scene has changed significantly in the past 25 years. Through this evolution, Canada has developed several thriving art scenes in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Toronto. These ‘scenes’ involve and define contemporary art and emerging artist by nature. Unsurprisingly, Toronto offers the most substantial market; however, it remains relatively small by international standards, and there exists a fragmented relationship between the size of Toronto’s art scene and the size of its art market.
Toronto’s contemporary/‘emerging’ arts are not backed by an understanding of the art market or any notion of ‘patronage’ at all. Similarly, it’s efforts in creating ‘hype’ for itself are nominal, and this means that many potential collectors are not encouraged to buy.
Many Canadian art market professionals have indicated that hyping foreign/domestic investment in Canadian art as a commodity shouldn’t be the function of the art community, as it doesn’t do anybody any good in the art world. Many suggest that this approach of ‘investing’ centers art market buying on name recognition and perceived value market momentum rather than on the work itself and its fundamental value.
This perception, however, is not in keeping with the rest of the international art market, and is largely idealistic.
Market momentum should be generated by any means necessary. Toronto must embrace a more serious market mentality, engage with the international art market and its strategies and leverage its assets as a city to maximize its visibility and establish ‘hype’ around its market, artists, and overall art scene.
What is promising for Toronto’s market is the developing popularity of Toronto art fairs. Art fairs are crucial events within an art market to generate visibility and attract collectors, both seasoned and amateur.
Fairs such as Art Toronto, and the establishing of a second mainstream art fair in the city, called Feature Art Fair, which will focus more on contemporary art, give promise to the outlook of the Canadian contemporary/emerging artist market. Feature Art Fair is being launched by the Montreal-based Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC), whose goal is to generate a buzz around the Toronto art scene and encourage greater collector tourism by providing an additional attraction on the same weekend the Toronto Art Fair is being held. This strategy is not a competitive one, but rather, complimentary, towards raising Toronto’s overall art profile
Art fairs around the world are generally held strategically in the months of September or October, as well as on certain holiday or event weekends, to anticipate the movement of visiting or local collectors/art connoisseurs within a city.
Toronto’s art fairs should utilize these same strategies of leveraging visibility and attendance. Toronto is developing an increasingly international cultural profile with the popularity of the Toronto International Film Festival, and art fairs should capitalize on the momentum that such cultural events create.
The art market is one based on cache and perceived value. A successful market is only as successful as it is perceived, therefore the Canadian contemporary/emerging artist market must generate its own success through hype and visibility. Only then can emerging and contemporary artists have greater success in the market.
By: Mairead O Brien
This month we are working on an interesting estate; that of a gentleman who was an art collector and art patron. He had close relationships with several contemporary art galleries as well as artists and his condo is jammed floor to ceiling with paintings, ceramics, glass and sculpture.
It’s a complicated project as we attempt to identify all the pieces, match up paperwork and determine how to approach or in this case re-approach the market for these pieces.
Some things we want to consider include;
-determining who the artist is, do they have an established market or are they still emerging?
-where these pieces fit into their body of work. Some work will be more sought after than others and it's important to understand particularly with established artists, if what you have is something the market is eager to buy or not. Some periods will command more than others.
-liaising where possible with the artists and the galleries that represented them. Conversations may lead to sales and will certainly shed light on what we've got.
If you see anything in these photos that interests you, or you would like to discuss your contemporary art collection with us, please contact us at email@example.com.
By: Todd Milks
A client recently walked into our offices and brought with him a box of old American and Canadian military buttons and badges that his grandfather had collected. They had sat in his garage for many years ‘collecting dust’ when he decided it was time to sell. We took them on consignment and researched them thoroughly, and no surprise the American Civil War times buttons were amongst the most valuable, of which he had some excellent examples.
The field gets complicated because over the years the buttons have been reproduced, so it’s important to be able to decipher the originals from the copies, which some having been done over 50 years ago looked very convincingly like the genuine article. Condition is equally important and can make the difference between $10 and $500 or more so we also needed to accurately describe and display the buttons as well as use the proper terminology in order to instill confidence in the online buyers that they were buying from a knowledgeable seller.
After our research we listed them online which is where they are now. One button (Civil War Virginia Confederate State Seal Button 23mm R&W Robinson Extra Rich) is already up to almost a $1000. It will be interesting to see what the whole collection will bring.
This is a great example of how our services work well, taking our clients items and our knowledge and distribution channel and maximizing the results. It’s also an example of why it’s best to consult an expert when you have items that could potentially be of value.
By: Todd Milks
Estate Net senior appraiser Todd Milks discussing collecting silver, china and glass on CBC's Steven & Chris.
The Canadian art market has begun its thaw on the world’s stage. Last month marked a new precedent in Canadian art sales with the sale of two striking 19th-century oil paintings of Mi’kmaqs hunting Canada geese for just over $992,000 (CAD), over 13 times the experts’ price estimate. This sale, among many from the Peter Winkworth collection on auction at Christie’s London auction house, represents an increased national and international interest in all things Canadiana. The lot was one of 325 consigned to Christie’s by the estate of London-based Canadian collector Peter Winkworth. Prior to the sale, Christie’s estimated the total value of the lots at $1.7-million (CAD) to $2.5-million (CAD), only to be pleasantly surprised by a total value of $6.54-million (CAD) with 95 per cent of lots sold.
Artist, title, and date unknown.
Artist, title, and date unknown.
Similarly, the work of beloved BC artist Emily Carr is gaining international recognition within the art market. Carr’s work has just finished its first international solo show, held at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London with great success.
Emily Carr, Tanoo, Queen Charlotte Island, BC, 1913. BC Archives.
19th century Canadian art is in its heyday within the international market, and its future prospects appear increasingly promising.
On the home front, Canadian collectors, especially those in Vancouver, are beginning to embrace the international trend towards postwar and contemporary art. This trend is no new phenomenon in the international market. The total sales estimate for Christie’s New York’s upcoming Modern and Contemporary art sale is set at a record-breaking $2.5 billion (US)!
Historically Canadian buyers are not as active within the market for contemporary work, however, last year a photograph by internationally renowned Vancouver photographer Jeff Wall was sold in a Canadian post-war and contemporary art auction at Heffel auction house; an unprecedented occurrence within the Canadian market due to Wall’s overwhelming international success. This new trend is echoed in increasing sales prices at auction.
While Canadian buyers may be more rooted in the tradition of post-impressionist preferences, the potential for growth in the contemporary market is real. Look out for upcoming Canadian post-war and contemporary auctions this month!
By: Mairead O Brien
Last week I was alerted to an auction of one of the first Mac computers ever made being offered (for charity) on eBay. It would end up realizing just over $236,000 and I wanted to share it with you.
Granted it was allegedly assembled in Steve Jobs garage back at the dawn of Apple computers but it may give you pause the next time you go to buy a new computer and want toss out the old one.
It's best to have an expert set of eyes in to review your cast-offs before you start throwing them out. This is particularly true if you're dealing with an estate or a lot of accumulation.
Call in one or our experts today.
What I love about this business is the romance of things that have had a life before me. The curiosity around who created something, what they were thinking, what was their intention and what did they want us to see? And of course I think about those who owned something before me, how they felt about it and where they purchased it and for how long they owned it. The stories roll around in my head and whether made up or later discovered they tell tales that I never get tired of hearing.
This month I'm working on an estate that holds some great stories. The gentleman (deceased) was a collector, his apartment is chockablock with treasures that range from cheap and cheerful to exquisite and rare. True to every surface in the place the walls are full of art including 2 large 19c portraits in matching period frames by one of Canada's most important 19th century portrait painters John Wycliffe Lowes Forster (1850-1938). Almost life size they dominate the living room and depict what are clearly two brothers. It was upon taking them off the wall that we would find their titles painted on the canvases, Mother's Boy and Father's Gentleman.
Today our investigation continues as we attempt to discover who the sitter's are, the date they were painted and ultimately to find them a new home.
We have the coolest job! Working on a collection of autographs this week including that of Gustav Klimt dated April 10, 1906. The ancestor who collected them was a prominent German physician in the early 1900s.
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