Beyond the obvious artistic coup of obtaining another classic work, the recent discovery of a portrait which may be a lost Da Vinci painting raises an interesting point. When analyzing the painting before deciding to buy it, Peter Silverman, the art collector who purchased the painting, found the work to be exquisite and something beyond the norm. It doesn’t take a skilled art lab technician to recognize talent (especially considering it took no less than four types of technology to uncover elements that pointed to Leonardo’s hand). It just takes an enjoyment and appreciation of great artistic works. Of course, purchasing a renaissance painting does not guarantee a windfall of discovering a potential Da Vinci, but art collectors should remember to trust their guts.
And, if nothing else, this certainly shows that every now and then a $19,000 investment in a beautiful painting can get you 15 minutes of fame… and about $149,978,150 in added value.
Guest Blogger: Rebecca Korach Woan
"Just because you bought it doesn’t mean you own it."
-Lawrence Shindall, CEO, ARIS Corporation
The heightened sensitivity surrounding the provenance, or ownership history, of valuable works of art is a relatively recent phenomenon. While provenance and the related but distinct issue of legitimate title have always been factors in the assembling of art collections it was only in 1998 that the Association of Museum Directors issued guidelines for museums to first determine the provenance of their works to the best of their ability, and then to disclose it.
This was followed a year later by a similar directive from the American Association of Museums. These directives made particular reference to art that had changed hands during the World War II era (1933- 45), a time when looting and theft of artworks by regimes and individuals reached unprecedented levels of scale and value. Also highlighting this relatively recent attention to provenance was the formation in 1998 of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets, which published its final report in 2000. Provenance alone does not tell the whole story. Good title is spoiled by theft, which includes the "forced sales" that occurred during the Second World War.
Would you accept a stolen Van Gogh as a gift? Of course not.
What if the work wasn’t so much "stolen," as it was "nationalized" for the good of the homeland? To help fund stimulus grants, say the work was sold twenty years later to an old college friend of yours, and thirty years after that your college friend gave it to your son or daughter as a graduation gift. Should your child accept?
What if your child is the President of Yale University at the time?
By John Paul Benitez, Attorney at Law
Collaborating with another artist may generate a masterpiece, and it may also produce a mess. When more than one artist is an "author" of a work, the normal expectations about ownership and copyright get skewed. If two or more people create works, intending to put them together in a single cohesive work, the resulting collaborative piece is a "joint work."