David Hettinger, a Master Signature Member of Oil Painters of America

February 26th, 2010 by admin

David Hettinger, Master Signature Member of Oil Painters of America, works featured at The Weatherburn Gallery.

David Hettinger, a Master Signature Member of Oil Painters of America, has been oil painting since the age of 13. Hettinger graduated from the prestigious American Academy of Art in Chicago. He continued his studies in the atelier of David Loffel in New York and later with renowned Richard Schmid. Hettinger has dedicated his life to art. Even as a student, Hettinger successfully sold his paintings to pay his way through college. David Hettinger has been featured in more than 30 group shows and 20 one-man shows in galleries from New York to Los Angeles.

In January 2005, Hettinger was awarded the rare distinction of Master Signature Member of Oil Painters of America (OPAM). He has won both regional and national awards from Oil Painters of America and been featured many times in the arts media since the 1980s, most recently in Art of the West. Hettinger’s interiors are impressionistic but often the details become the central element of the composition. “I’m interested in delineating the little objects,” he says “the stacks of books — whatever makes a house a home.”

Some of David Hettinger’s paintings featured at The Weatherburn Gallery, Naples Florida, are Apples and Astors, Bees Help Make the Honey, and Captivated.

Lose yourself in David Hettinger’s Summer Market in Provence and enjoy the relaxing beauty of the Woman in Pink.

The Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida features original fine art from around the world. The Weatherburn Gallery exhibits dozens of exceptional works of art by leading painters and sculptors. Many of the artists enjoy national and international reputations, are award-winning members of prestigious arts organizations, and have their original works in government, corporate, museum, celebrity or private collections worldwide.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 132 comments »

Timothy Norman Paintings Showing at the Weatherburn Gallery

March 4th, 2009 by admin

Timothy Norman, 2005 Award of Excellence winner OPA, featured at The Weatherburn Gallery, Naples Florida.

Born in Dallas, Timothy Norman has been winning awards and recognition for outstanding achievement in the arts for more than a decade. Tim Norman wonderful creations are original oil paintings depicting Venice life and beautiful still life scenes.

Norman has painted more than 130 commissioned portraits winning a Special Mention award from the Portrait Society of America in 2002 and their Award of Merit in 2004. Other recent recognition has included the Chairman’s Choice Award at the second Annual Salon of the Art Renewal Center (ARC), an organization dedicated to classical realism in art. The 2005 competition was considered to have been the finest show of art since the great Paris salons of pre-World War I. Norman’s painting A Young Boy and Bacchus, a Florentine Piazza, was selected for a Chairman’s Choice Award from more than 1500 entries from 30 countries.

Timothy Norman’s original oil paintings are featured at The Weatherburn Gallery, Naples Florida. Norman’s Afternoon at the Rialto Café transports you to a sunny, relaxing afternoon in Venice. Escape on the waterways of Italy with Norman’s Evening on the Waters of Venice, A Certain Bridge in Venice, and Five Gondolas, Six Gondoliers.

Timothy Norman captures the essence of a simple life in Venice with oil paintings like Morning Cycles of Pisa, Residents of St Mark’s Square, and The Tuscan Sweeper and his Friends.

The Weatherburn Gallery, Naples Florida, features original fine art from around the world. The Weatherburn Gallery exhibits dozens of exceptional works of art by leading painters and sculptors. Many of the artists enjoy national and international reputations, are award-winning members of prestigious arts organizations, and have their original works in government, corporate, museum, celebrity or private collections worldwide.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 156 comments »

David Smith – Renowned British Landscape Artist

March 4th, 2009 by admin

David Smith, Renowned British landscape artist, offers original oil paintings at The Weatherburn Gallery.

Born in Essex in 1949, David Smith began painting at a very early age. Although David excelled in art-related subjects at school and showed considerable promise, he had to put aside his artistic ambitions at the age of 15 when his parents separated and he was obliged to work to support his mother and sister.

For the next 15 years he continued that support as well as start a family of his own. Smith would often pass the Graham Petley Gallery near his home in Essex, where he was inspired by the landscape artist, Tony Sheath.

Eventually, one day in 1974, that same gallery accepted and paid for a batch of his paintings and David Smith, the professional artist, was born. By 1976, the demand for his paintings outgrew the time available to paint them so Smith moved to rural Essex and devoted himself to becoming a full-time professional artist.

Over the last three decades, David Smith has consolidated his position as one of Britain’s foremost living landscape painters. Smith has grown to have an international reputation. Over half of his annual output is sold in the US. In the UK, his works are exhibited in several galleries and have been on exhibition at Harrod’s of London. Internationally, his works are in galleries in the US and he has completed several commissions, most notably for the Sultan of Oman and the Prince and Princess of Thailand.

David Smith’s captivating landscapes in oil feature Danbury Park, River Chelmer, and River Dove.

The Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida features original fine art from around the world. The Weatherburn Gallery exhibits dozens of exceptional works of art by leading painters and sculptors. Many of the artists enjoy national and international reputations, are award-winning members of prestigious arts organizations, and have their original works in government, corporate, museum, celebrity or private collections worldwide.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 163 comments »

The Weatherburn Gallery Showcases Christopher Zhang

March 4th, 2009 by admin

The Weatherburn Gallery showcases Christopher Zhang, oil painter.

Christopher Zhang is an exceptional realist painter now living and teaching art in the United States. Zhang’s original oil paintings reflect the two cultures with which he is most familiar. He paints eloquent portraits of the people of his eastern native country, their costumes, decorations and jewelry. Zhang also paints western ballet dancers.

A distinguished member of the Copley Society of Boston, Christopher Zhang is a member of the Connecticut Fine Arts Academy and the Mystic Art Association. He is Artist in Residence at the Griffis Art Center and Visiting Professor of Painting and Drawing at Connecticut College. Christopher Zhang first studied at the East China Normal University in that city graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1988. He arrived in the U.S. in 1990 and attended Rhode Island College, graduating with his Masters degree in 1993.

Christopher Zhang’s work has been the subject of a number of one-man shows overseas and in the U.S. including shows at the Sun Cities Museum of Art in Phoenix, Arizona and another at Harvard University, Massachusetts.

Become intimate with the people of Shanghai with Zhang’s Man with Prayer Wheel, the ornately dressed women in Morning Makeup, and the thoughtful Monk with Prayer Beads. Zhang masterfully crafts his oil paintings with great detail highlighting the beauty of western ballet dancers in Three Swans, Stretching, and reflection from the Mirror.

The Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida features original fine art from around the world. The Weatherburn Gallery exhibits dozens of exceptional works of art by leading painters and sculptors. Many of the artists enjoy national and international reputations, are award-winning members of prestigious arts organizations, and have their original works in government, corporate, museum, celebrity or private collections worldwide.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 173 comments »

Another Season in Naples, Florida

January 13th, 2009 by admin

Dear Reader,

Another season is here, and again we have plans to bring you unusual shows and truly exceptional art.   But first we have important news: Some of Naples best known and most reputable fine art galleries have formed the Naples Fine Art Dealers Association (NFADA). This coalition of art dealers agrees to adhere to a strict code of business ethics, maintain a superior quality of art and is committed to protect and promote the reputation of the Naples art market.

The Weatherburn Gallery is proud to be a Founding Member of NFADA and I am honored to have been elected the association’s President. We hope that when touring the city’s galleries, art collectors will particularly seek out those that display the association’s decals and flags knowing that these are businesses that strive to achieve a level of quality, service and reputation that is exemplary. More information is available at www.naplesfineartdealers.com.

You are reading this letter at our new, updated website where visitors may now easily view most of our collection, forward paintings to a client or friend and even view works online in different colored room settings. We hope these innovations, a cleaner look and simpler navigation will enhance your website experience.

Continuing our tradition of bringing outstanding shows to Naples that showcase the best of the genre, this winter season we are hosting two exhibitions in particular that should not be missed. The first this November features work by award winners of The Miniature Art Society of Florida’s 33rd Annual Show. These astonishingly beautiful works of art are by definition so small they can be held in one hand. Many are little masterpieces.

The second exceptional show opens in February 2009 and is the Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition of the International Guild of Realism. This largest annual exhibition of realist paintings held in America attracts entries from around the world, including submissions from as far afield as Australia, Iceland and India. Further details of both these events can be found elsewhere in this magazine.

Lastly, we are delighted to introduce several new artists this season. These include the international sculptor Blake Ward, whose work is in the collection of Prince Albert of Monaco, and Wen Ze Chen a brilliant impressionist painter originally from Suzhou, the “Oriental Venice” south of Shanghai, China. We are also particularly pleased to welcome to our collection the works of Master Realist Mark Thompson and American Impressionist Ken Cadwallader.

We look forward to bringing you this season’s program, to welcoming old clients and friends back to our gallery and to introducing ourselves to those we have yet to meet.

Most cordially,

Roger Weatherburn Baker

Artist Links:

David Dunlop

David Hettinger, OPAM

Andrei Krioutchenko

Eric Michaels, OPA

Timothy Norman, OPA

David Smith

Michael Smith

Mark Thompson

Ken Cadwallader, OPA

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 169 comments »

Major Exhibition of International Realism To Be Held In Florida For First Time

January 13th, 2009 by admin

Major Exhibition of International Realism To Be Held In Florida For First Time

The Weatherburn Gallery will host the Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition of the International Guild of Realism (IGOR) in February 2009. This prestigious show will be the largest of its kind to be held in the US during 2009.

“The exhibition attracts some of the finest realist artists from around the globe,” says Larry Charles an IGOR Charter Member and coordinator of the event. “For many of those from overseas this is the first exposure of their work in the United States and an important step in their careers. To be accepted for this show in the face of intense international competition is a major accomplishment.”

Organizers received more than 200 entries from 14 countries. These included Belarus, China, Finland, Iceland, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Rumania, Russia and Thailand in addition to the US, Canada and Mexico. “The quality of the work in these exhibitions is always exceptional,” added Charles, “which is in keeping with our mission to showcase the finest quality of realism being created today.” The exhibition will feature classical and contemporary realism styles spanning trompe l’oeil, photorealism, surrealism and hyper-realism created in a range of media including charcoal, pencil, watercolor, acrylic and egg tempera as well as oils.

The entries were evaluated by a panel of professionals and reduced to a short list of 45 finalists. These works form the body of the exhibition. Shortly before the show’s opening, judges will select award winners in ten categories that will be announced during the opening evening on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. All the works will then be available for purchase and will remain on display until March 2, 2009.

View all the IGOR finalists’ work

Weatherburn Artist Links:

David Dunlop

David Hettinger, OPAM

Andrei Krioutchenko

Eric Michaels, OPA

Timothy Norman, OPA

David Smith

Michael Smith

Mark Thompson

Ken Cadwallader, OPA

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 161 comments »

Two of the Best – Mark Thompson & Ken Cadwallader

January 13th, 2009 by admin

Two of the Best
By Roger Weatherburn Baker

Each season our collection seems to grow deeper, stronger and more varied as we continue to have the good fortune to attract some of the best artists in America. This winter we are very proud to represent two additional artists in particular who have such extraordinary skills they rank among the best in their field. Let me tell you more about them.

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson is an outstanding Realist painter; a fact that is immediately apparent to almost anyone who sees one of his exceptional egg tempera* masterpieces. Here is an artist who has refined his painstaking skills over a span of more than three decades; who has received numerous awards from the leading organizations in his profession and has had his work exhibited in some of the nation’s leading museums. Once you’ve seen his work, you’ll understand why. His beautiful paintings are quite simply superb. We are thrilled to represent him. We encourage you to read more about the artist and his achievements, and to view a sample of his work by following this link to his page within our website.

*Egg tempera originated in medieval Europe and was the principal process used in easel painting until the development of oil painting in the 15th century. The pigments used in egg tempera are ground in water to paste consistency and kept covered with a little water. Just prior to use, the painter mixes equal parts of color paste and egg yolk to make enough paint for the day’s work. The tempera technique is particularly suited to linear styles of painting. Its soft glowing quality is not easily duplicated by other means.

Ken Cadwallader

Ken Cadwallader is a young artist who is rapidly attracting national attention. Almost every time his work is entered into a national awards show he walks off with a major prize. That’s not easy when we’re talking about some of the country’s top shows, where the competition is intense and the critics are as tough as they can get.

A major component of his success is that he trained in Europe as well as the US. He studied at the Royal College of Arts in London, one of the most prestigious art institutions in all of Europe. The influence of his training there and first-hand exposure to some of Europe’s greatest works on display in London’s richly endowed museums is very evident in his composition, style and lush coloring. It’s not surprising that he graduated college with honors and today ranks among the finest representational impressionists of his generation. Click here for a link to his page elsewhere within our website.

We very much hope you’ll have an opportunity to visit our gallery to see and enjoy for yourself the work of these two exceptionally talented artists, which can only be best appreciated in person.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 195 comments »

DOCUMENTING YOUR ART IS A MUST

September 12th, 2008 by admin

Disaster can strike at any time.  Fire and flood can destroy your more precious acquisitions in minutes.  A thief can steal your most valuable assets while you’re out to dinner.  A hurricane can blow away treasures that may next be seen shredded in another county.  For these reasons and many others, it’s essential you have proof of what you once owned.  Such proof is known as provenance.

Good provenance will speed an insurance claim, be of enormous help in a police investigation and give owners great peace of mind.  Furthermore, in the art world, the value of the work may well be enhanced as well as protected by good art management practices.

• Typically, collectors’ records show specific details of each artwork, including the title of the work, name of the artist, the medium it was created in, its dimensions, whether its an original work, giclee or limited edition, date and place acquired and price paid.

• Such records almost always include at least one photograph, sometimes several showing the work from different angles, front and back or in various degrees of close-up.  Often a detailed photo of the artist’s signature and the work’s date is included.

• Good provenance will also include details about the artist, reviews and press coverage, sales history, appraisal and authentication.

• Careful collectors will have at least two copies of all provenance stored, whether on paper or disc, in separate locations, perhaps the house and the office, or with the bank or insurance company.

• Provenance should be reviewed on a regular basis.  If the work is by a living artist, a conscientious collector will continue to track the artist’s career to determine whether anything has changed that might affect value, plus or minus. If the artist is no longer living, the savvy collector will occasionally check the so-called secondary market for recent sale prices or call in a professional appraiser.

A good gallery will furnish much of this information at the time of acquisition or shortly thereafter.  If they do not, then a buyer shouldn’t hesitate to ask for it.  Having it, one day may prove to be invaluable if not to the collector then to their heirs or next owners.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 166 comments »

Conservation and Restoration of Fine Art

September 12th, 2008 by admin

The Florida climate is such that special considerations should be given to our paintings. We are only caretakers of fine art. A properly cared for painting can be enjoyed by the generations to come. Special care should be taken in respect to humidity, temperature and sunlight. Florida has an abundance of each.

An oil painting on canvas is made up of several layers of different materials. At the bottom of the structure is the canvas, then the sizing, then up to three coats of ground, then the paint layer and on top is a layer of varnish. These layers react differently to humidity and temperature. High humidity can cause a lack of adhesion in the ground layer. Fluctuating temperatures can cause the paint layer to expand and contract at a different rate than the other layers causing cracking and separation.

You do not want to display paintings, especially watercolors and color prints in direct sunlight, directly under an AC vent, or near a heat source. The UV rays will cause colors to fade over time. Some color dyes and inks will fade at a dramatic rate over others. I have seen a nice three color art print approximately fifteen years old with the color red completely faded out. The print was just shades of green, only the yellow and blue colors were left. Likewise, care should be taken in moving your paintings from an air conditioned home into a hot car. It only takes two or three minutes for a painting’s temperature to span 20 or more degrees. These are the conditions that you do not want to create. If possible, acclimate your painting slowly to avoid the shock of temperature change. Cover them while outdoors. The older the painting, the more drastic these effects can be.

Paint is in a continual state of drying as is the canvas. Be careful not to cause pressure to the back or front of an old painting. This could cause hairline cracks that can accelerate future condition problems. In all my thirty plus years of painting restoration there were two conditions that I could not correct. One instance was restoring a painting with severe heat damage from a fire. This painting was exposed to so much heat that the varnish fused into the paint layer along with smoke contaminants. I could not dissolve or penetrate any part of that varnish/paint layer. The frame on this particular painting was reduced to charcoal. Some conditions do exist where you have to accept that the painting is lost. The other condition was a layer of varnish that had turned an amber color and needed to be removed. I tried every chemical at my disposal. I could not dissolve it, but could soften it. The time it would have taken to remove the varnish resulted in a cost that was much greater than the value of the painting. Since the painting had no sentimental value to the owner, the restoration work was not done.

Paintings do not come with a past medical history. So, each restoration is a mission of discovery. The older the painting, the greater the chances are of finding past restorations. When an old painting is due to get it’s dark varnish removed, all of the past restoration to the paint surface becomes obvious and also has to be removed. Holes and tears in a canvas are the most common condition problems. Patching, filling, and touching up are routine practices. A torn canvas is nearly always due to an accident. The most common is a painting falling off the wall. Remember all four of the strong points to keep your paintings on the wall.

1. Make sure your wire is strong enough for the painting and frame weight.

2. Make sure the screws are large and long enough to hold the D-rings or eye screws to
the frame.

3. Make sure the wall anchor is secure in the wall and strong enough for the painting and
frame.

4. Make sure the wall is strong enough. Drywall can be a problem for a heavy painting or
mirror. If you can’t find a wall stud, use a heavy-duty anchor made especially for
drywall. If in doubt, use two anchors and space them about six inches apart.

In painting restoration the less you have to do the better. A painting should be kept as original as possible. This goes for all the materials that make up a painting and its frame. If the artist framed the piece, the frame and its painting should be treated as one entity. Many great artists like Whistler, Hassam and Muncha designed frames for their paintings. A great amount of value could be lost by reframing. A painting displays best in a period frame.

There are two ways to value a painting – monetary and sentimental. With research you can likely arrive at a monetary value. A painting of sentimental value is very personal and could be impossible to replace. So when do you call a restorer? If you have a painting that you value and observe a change of some kind like cracking, flaking or any kind of visual change you may be looking at a condition problem that if corrected early could extend the painting’s life and value. You could also need a restorer if you have a work of art that got accidentally broken, torn, scratched or damaged in some way.

To find a professional restorer I would suggest two ways:

1. Search the Internet – using the following search phrases – Art Restoration (for
paintings, sculpture, murals, glass, porcelain, etc.). Paper Conservation (for
watercolors, prints, documents, etc.) National Associations like American
Institute for Conservation.

2. Contact local museums, galleries, and dealers explain what type of restoration you
need and ask who they use. You may be able to see the restorers work first hand.
A museum or prominent art collector is going to know who does expert work.
If you have a fine work of art in need of minor or major restoration and you plan on selling it you may want to let the next owner find a restorer. If you have no desire to let it out of your possession, then by all means find a good restorer and get your painting esthetically pleasing for your enjoyment.

The Florida climate is such that special considerations should be given to our paintings. We are only caretakers of fine art. A properly cared for painting can be enjoyed by the generations to come. Special care should be taken in respect to humidity, temperature and sunlight. Florida has an abundance of each.

An oil painting on canvas is made up of several layers of different materials. At the bottom of the structure is the canvas, then the sizing, then up to three coats of ground, then the paint layer and on top is a layer of varnish. These layers react differently to humidity and temperature. High humidity can cause a lack of adhesion in the ground layer. Fluctuating temperatures can cause the paint layer to expand and contract at a different rate than the other layers causing cracking and separation.

You do not want to display paintings, especially watercolors and color prints in direct sunlight, directly under an AC vent, or near a heat source. The UV rays will cause colors to fade over time. Some color dyes and inks will fade at a dramatic rate over others. I have seen a nice three color art print approximately fifteen years old with the color red completely faded out. The print was just shades of green, only the yellow and blue colors were left. Likewise, care should be taken in moving your paintings from an air conditioned home into a hot car. It only takes two or three minutes for a painting’s temperature to span 20 or more degrees. These are the conditions that you do not want to create. If possible, acclimate your painting slowly to avoid the shock of temperature change. Cover them while outdoors. The older the painting, the more drastic these effects can be.

Paint is in a continual state of drying as is the canvas. Be careful not to cause pressure to the back or front of an old painting. This could cause hairline cracks that can accelerate future condition problems. In all my thirty plus years of painting restoration there were two conditions that I could not correct. One instance was restoring a painting with severe heat damage from a fire. This painting was exposed to so much heat that the varnish fused into the paint layer along with smoke contaminants. I could not dissolve or penetrate any part of that varnish/paint layer. The frame on this particular painting was reduced to charcoal. Some conditions do exist where you have to accept that the painting is lost. The other condition was a layer of varnish that had turned an amber color and needed to be removed. I tried every chemical at my disposal. I could not dissolve it, but could soften it. The time it would have taken to remove the varnish resulted in a cost that was much greater than the value of the painting. Since the painting had no sentimental value to the owner, the restoration work was not done.

Paintings do not come with a past medical history. So, each restoration is a mission of discovery. The older the painting, the greater the chances are of finding past restorations. When an old painting is due to get it’s dark varnish removed, all of the past restoration to the paint surface becomes obvious and also has to be removed. Holes and tears in a canvas are the most common condition problems. Patching, filling, and touching up are routine practices. A torn canvas is nearly always due to an accident. The most common is a painting falling off the wall. Remember all four of the strong points to keep your paintings on the wall.

1. Make sure your wire is strong enough for the painting and frame weight.

2. Make sure the screws are large and long enough to hold the D-rings or eye screws to
the frame.

3. Make sure the wall anchor is secure in the wall and strong enough for the painting and
frame.

4. Make sure the wall is strong enough. Drywall can be a problem for a heavy painting or
mirror. If you can’t find a wall stud, use a heavy-duty anchor made especially for
drywall. If in doubt, use two anchors and space them about six inches apart.

In painting restoration the less you have to do the better. A painting should be kept as original as possible. This goes for all the materials that make up a painting and its frame. If the artist framed the piece, the frame and its painting should be treated as one entity. Many great artists like Whistler, Hassam and Muncha designed frames for their paintings. A great amount of value could be lost by reframing. A painting displays best in a period frame.

There are two ways to value a painting – monetary and sentimental. With research you can likely arrive at a monetary value. A painting of sentimental value is very personal and could be impossible to replace. So when do you call a restorer? If you have a painting that you value and observe a change of some kind like cracking, flaking or any kind of visual change you may be looking at a condition problem that if corrected early could extend the painting’s life and value. You could also need a restorer if you have a work of art that got accidentally broken, torn, scratched or damaged in some way.

To find a professional restorer I would suggest two ways:

1. Search the Internet – using the following search phrases – Art Restoration (for
paintings, sculpture, murals, glass, porcelain, etc.). Paper Conservation (for
watercolors, prints, documents, etc.) National Associations like American
Institute for Conservation.

2. Contact local museums, galleries, and dealers explain what type of restoration you
need and ask who they use. You may be able to see the restorers work first hand.
A museum or prominent art collector is going to know who does expert work.

If you have a fine work of art in need of minor or major restoration and you plan on selling it you may want to let the next owner find a restorer. If you have no desire to let it out of your possession, then by all means find a good restorer and get your painting esthetically pleasing for your enjoyment.

In your search you may find an individual who specializes in a field of conservation and restoration. For example, one who specializes in paper products only. Paper conservation is very different from oil painting restoration. Different equipment and materials and procedures. Or you could find a conservation and restoration service that is staffed by many professionals covering a variety of specialties like paintings, watercolors, prints, marble, glass, murals, etc.

When you find a restorer they will likely be out of your area. You may want to get your work of art appraised before you arrange shipping. Appraisers can also be found by Internet search or by asking local art dealers. Let the appraiser know that you are shipping it and want an appraisal for insurance purposes. It is highly recommended that you insure your artwork when it is out of your possession.
There are companies that transport works of art exclusively. They will come to your door, package it there, load and deliver it from your door to the recipient’s door.

When a work of art is in a restorer’s care any signs of potential problems can be noted. A general health report should be generated for you along with a plan for future care. Have a good dialogue with your restorer and bring up any concerns you may have. Some old paintings are in tremendous physical condition for their age while others need careful handling because of their delicate condition. This is information you should know for the care of your painting. There is no reason why a work of art cannot be maintained in a good state of health with simple care.

If you are a dealer or collector a good restorer’s business card should be in your wallet.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 156 comments »

ART AUCTION ETIQUETTE

August 20th, 2008 by admin

Auctions can be fun and bargains can be had.  But if you’re not familiar with auction protocol and choreography you could find yourself suddenly center stage doing pirouettes of anxiety, clutching a Degas dancer you had no intention of owning.  Here are some hints that might help ensure you go home from an auction feeling you’ve done well rather than you’ve been well done.

1. Information

If you’re interested in a particular item or items offered at auction, gather as much information as you can.  Talk to the auction house specialists, who can provide valuable insights about the work’s condition, its provenance (acquisition history), its reserve (the lowest price a seller will accept) and the level of interest from other buyers.

Study an artist’s previous sales record.  This can be done online by visiting such databases as Artprice.com and Artnet.com both of which have an enormous amount of data available on thousands of artists including auction prices achieved for their work worldwide, biographical details and media coverage.

Get to the auction early and ask to closely examine any item that particularly interests you.  At Sothebys in New York one day, I bid on a beautifully decorated Faberge cigarette case I’d spotted in the sale catalogue.  It was only after I’d acquired it that I realized that closing the case would squash any cigarettes inside. it was intended to contain calling cards.

2. Location

When the bidding gets hot you want to make sure your every gesture will be observed.  This can be difficult in a packed room crowded with people sitting and standing, coming and going.

Some bidders like to be in the front rows where the auctioneer can see them clearly and they can have eye contact.  Some prefer to be a less visible, more mysterious bidder and tack a back row; others prefer to stand against the wall where they can survey the action.  Still others like to be close to an exit where they can duck out to make a cellular call to seek input from a spouse, friend or consultant.  Wherever you chose to watch the action from, if you’re interested in bidding make sure you stay in one place and your gestures can be readily seen and recognized.

3. Paddle

Bidders are generally recognized by a numbered card or “paddle”.  Donald Trump may not need one but most of the rest of us do.  This official identification is obtained by registering prior to the start of the auction, which means showing some sort of picture ID and providing basic financial information.  Once you’ve got your paddle, you’re off to the races, but be careful.  Don’t use it as a fan or to wave hello to a late-arriving friend.  You could end up owning something you don’t want and don’t need.  You need use it only if you are the winning bid.  Otherwise, simply raise your hand as if you were hailing a taxi.  If you’re identified as the highest bidder, which is when the auctioneer shouts “sold!” and points at you, then raise your paddle number so the auctioneer can note it.  If you haven’t registered and don’t have a paddle, you’ll cause confusion and a minor riot than could turn very nasty.

4. Spotters

Some auction rooms use employees as “spotters” to ensure no buyer’s bid goes unnoticed.  These can be useful people to cultivate prior to an auction for those who may wish to remain anonymous.  Bidders can alert them to look for a particular signal from them that a potential rival bidder won’t recognize.  They might say, I’m bidding as long as I’m holding a pen in my right hand or my legs are crossed.

Don’t show your hand – literally — too early.  Some believe early, aggressive bidding intimidates competitors.  But most suggest don’t get into the bidding until the bidding pace slows and the room seems almost spent.  Don’t feed the frenzy.  Wait until the top to jump in.

Posted in Fine Art Talk having 181 comments »