Source: The Guardian, By Bertram Nwannekanma, 10 November 2017
Poised to help artists raise their game and collectors to be discerning in art collection, two art enthusiasts and authors, Professor Fabian Ajogwu and Spanish-Nigerian, Jess Castellote, will present an art book on Friday titled, Collecting Art: A Handbook, to the public in Lagos.
The book is a product of friendship, discussion, disagreements, shared values and passion in the field of art. Expected are renowned Nigerian and international artists, gallery owners and art enthusiasts. The authors said the idea was to debrief discerning artists and would-be artists and collectors on the appreciation of art and the ways to go about it.
On the reason behind the book, Ajogwu, a professor of Corporate Governance said a gallery owner with a large number of works in his stores can also be a collector, but generally, is not.
According to him, “An investor with a good portfolio of art is not necessarily a collector. Neither is a corporation that owns a large number of pieces in their buildings. Great collections are always linked to great collectors. Collections are always unequal because collectors are always different. Sometimes, professionals advising collectors on issues of taxation, insurance, wealth investment, estate planning, legal matters, etc, are not well acquainted with even the basic features of the practice of art collecting.”
The book, he said, provides a guide because the practice of art collecting has a long history and the ways of collecting art are as varied as the backgrounds, social environments and personal histories of the collectors. According to him, there is no single “right” way of collecting art, but there are many practices that will not help creating an art collection of quality.
He said: “There are many ways of collecting art and there are many reasons for doing it. For some, it is simply a hobby; for others, it becomes a passion to which they devote considerable time, effort and resources. For a few, it is just a way of diversifying their investments. Whatever their reasons for acquiring artworks, whether enjoyment, vanity, investment or a mixture of all, for many collectors, art is among the most valuable assets they own. Rarely does an art collection start as a well-defined undertaking, with clear aims and methods. Usually, it starts almost unknowingly.
“First, it is an art poster or a print, then a nice, little painting or water colour, then a larger painting and then another one. Most people remain at this stage; they are occasional art buyers. But a few catch the bug and can’t stop the urge of learning about artists, visiting galleries and auctions and eventually becoming more than simple art buyers, and turning into passionate art collectors.”
Castellote, a director of the Foundation of Contemporary and Modern Visual Arts (FCMVA), said there are thousands of books devoted to art. However, Collecting Art: A Handbook, he said, “aims at offering the novice and experienced collector a better understanding and some practical advice on some of the main issues involved in this practice. Besides collectors, this book will be of use to many other players in the art world: dealers, critics, scholars, journalists, art enthusiasts” According to Olayinka Fisher, Collecting Art: A Handbook can be likened to a modern day “Do it Yourself” manual. Chapter one of the book is devoted to the collectors, their motivations and approaches to collecting. No doubt, serious art collections do not happen by chance. Whether properly articulated or not, sound planning and strategy differentiate ordinary accumulations of artworks from great collections. For that reason, chapter two looks at the development of an art collection. Due diligence is at the core of good practices in art collecting. Whether the collector acquires works from the primary or secondary markets, knowing about the different channels of work is a necessity.
Chapter Three looks at the process of buying art. Chapter Four considers the legal framework within which art collecting operates. These issues might not be the most attractive to the collector, but a good understanding of the rights and duties of collectors, artists and dealers is necessary for any serious collector. Art fraud is a threat always present in art collecting. Unfortunately, collectors are not always well informed about copyright, moral rights and artist resale rights; this is also considered in this chapter.
Planning for the future of the collection once the collector is gone is frequently postponed by collectors. Chapter five primarily provides tips and suggestions on the transfer of an art collection and particularly to estate planning. The section further offers suggestions on possible options open to the collector.
Keeping proper inventories is an indispensable task for the development of a collection and for its transmission to future generations. Insurance and taxation are not the most glamorous and appealing aspects of art collecting, but the educated collector will always take them into consideration.
Chapter six offers advice on documentation and on the management of the collection. What is more, Chapter seven is devoted to the care required by an art collection. Art collections are always at risk of being damaged by environmental, physical, chemical or biological agents. Knowing how to prevent or counteract these causes of damage is an essential skill for any serious collector. Finally, Chapter Eight offers a glossary of terms collectors come across frequently.