Sunday, April 11, 2010

On The Road Again

This time I did not head abroad but to our home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where my wife now resides. The trip takes 5 hours flying time plus a change of planes. Now is a time to review these past hectic weeks.

My last few missives have confused some of my readers. They wanted to know if I had a booth in either Maastricht or at the Salon in Paris. No, we did not have a booth and no, I did not spend my considerable time at these fairs just working on my Missives!

So what was I doing? Simply put I was looking and talking. Looking at all the art and speaking with dealers, scholars and friends. Like any junket these are opportunities to meet people and consult with many. The art business, like any other, revolves around connections and knowledge.

People will say, don’t buy at the fairs because everything will be more expensive. This is not necessarily so. Every once in a while, even I, as a dealer, have bought a work of art advantageously at a major fair. This can be especially true if the exhibitor is selling something that might be in my field or more for my clients than his or hers.

In other cases, I may see a work of art that is very similar to one that I have in my inventory and I may be asking much more or much less for it. In the case of the latter, I might ask if the dealer would be interested in acquiring my art work; it is probably more in his field than in mine. Or it might be that this dealer is only looking for a specific period by the artist and my work was not created in those years. In these exchanges I can gain knowledge that can be very important later on.

Often I see a work of art that is on the desiderata list of a client of mine. In these cases I ask for a photograph, data sheet and price. I will then email or snail mail this information and sometimes I manage to broker a deal.

As you can imagine, by now, these trips have generated a very large ‘To Do’ list. It will take me a while to get through all of the items. I need to figure out my priorities and what I must do to effect them. For instance only during my down time did I remember that I had consigned works of art from my inventory to dealers at both Maastricht and the Salon. But I neither heard whether they were sold or taken home. I haven’t seen them yet. I must follow up. Some of these chores are simple, a phone call or an email. Others, however, take more time. A colleague who specializes in the field of a group of works we keep in a warehouse has asked for photos and details. So I will now see what I have photographed and what still needs photos. Also, I must find whatever data is available about my small collection. Obviously, I want to put my best foot forward so that I will get the desired response from my colleague.

So that is why the travel expenses, the jet lag, and physical wear and tear of attending these fairs is worth it.

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