Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Especially when we have an artist as famous as Robert Bateman visit us (he'll be here 10-5 this Saturday), we get lots of questions about personalizing artwork. Here is some information to assist the collector:

It is often rewarding to have a guest artist personalize one’s purchase. However, care should be taken lest such a personalization devalues the artwork. Consider that nearly all limited editions (whether on paper or canvas) have already been hand-signed by the artist. Perhaps, because of your fondness for the artist and/or because you wish to honor a special collector, you ask for a personal inscription...or a date.

Now consider that one day you want to sell the item. And there it is: an inscription to you or someone in your family...or even a date that is important to you...but meaningless to a would-be buyer. “Ah,” you say. “I would never want to sell this work of art.” But what if the item in question were Bateman’s Chief, released at $4800 in 1998 — now worth $20,000 and currently devalued because your name, date or message is on it!

See the problem?

Now for some great suggestions that leave the art work intact:

• Ask the artist to sign the certificate of authenticity or his/her bio, if available.

• If the work is covered with glass, have the artist sign the glass, the matting or the dust cover.

• On canvas works, the dust cover or the back of the frame can be safely signed.

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