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The Growing Impact of Women in the Art Industry

By Bob Teague and Art Peritus Staff

The art industry has long been influenced by the contributions of women—you just have to list off names like Guggenheim, Whitney, Parsons and Gardener to see that. However, in recent decades, there has been a growing momentum of women at all levels getting involved in the industry, shaping the artistic landscape, and influencing market trends.

This recent surge in women in the art industry has played a vital role in breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, and promoting inclusivity within the art world.

“I think (women) have broadened the field away from areas where it may have been in some cases an Old Boys Club to be something more dynamic, broader, and inclusive,” says Jennifer Krieger, managing partner at Hawthorne Fine Art, a gallery that specializes in 19th and early 20th century American art with an emphasis on historic female artists. “I see many of my colleagues observing artwork in a more fresh and direct manner and redefining the canon of American Art.”

By expanding diversity and visibility for female artists, we are enriching the cultural dialogue and actively shaping the future of the art industry as a whole. Their distinct perspectives, approaches, and styles have not only contributed to the evolution of artistic movements but have also dismantled outdated gender stereotypes.

According to Jennifer Garland Ross, AAA, founder of the art appraisal and advisory firm Art Peritus, the inclusion of more female artists in galleries and exhibitions goes beyond just fairness. “It’s crucial for the enrichment and evolution of the art world. Showcasing more female artists broadens the range of perspectives and narratives in the art world,” Ross says. “Different life experiences and viewpoints contribute to a richer, more nuanced cultural dialogue.”

Although there is improvement, Ross also notes that “female artists still continue to face significant underrepresentation in museum collections and art galleries.” According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, America’s top 18 museums house an overwhelming 87% of work by male artists. Concurrently, art galleries in Europe and North America only feature about 14% of artwork created by female artists. Similar underrepresentation of female artists is also reflected in private collections. According to the 2023 Art Basel & UBS Global Art Market Report that surveyed over 2,800 high-net-worth collectors, their art collections are dominated by male artists, with a ratio of 61% to 39% female, however, it is an improvement from 33% female artists in 2018.

The impact of women on the art industry extends beyond the creation of art. “Woman-owned businesses open fresh pathways to potentially untapped earnings,” Leslie Gat, president of Art Conservation Group, says. “Arguably all new businesses do this, but the surge in woman-run businesses and women in important positions across the board—as dealers, insurers, conservators, collectors, collection managers, advisors, critics and others—can’t help but create new vibrant communities with participants who want to connect and make things happen.”

There is a synergy between new ideas and perspectives that accelerates the economic potential. More perspectives excite more possibilities and introduce more artists. More artists in turn, offer more opportunities. This compounding effect moves the needle forward through time as future generations of women and other diverse groups broaden what art is and what the art industry can be.

The Takeaway

The art industry is continuing to be enriched by the contributions of women. Their influence extends from shaping the artistic landscape to influencing market trends and collector preferences. By breaking down barriers, challenging stereotypes, promoting inclusivity, and adding new opportunities for artists and collectors, women are playing a vital role in the dynamic evolution of the art industry.

In short, the art world is more valuable when it presents opportunities and reflects the diverse perspectives of everyone.

 

SOURCES

Leslie Gat, founder of the Art Conservation Group, is a 35-year art industry veteran as a conservator for major museums and private collections worldwide. She is a fellow with the American Institute for Conservation and is an adjunct faculty at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center.

Jennifer C. Krieger, managing partner of Hawthorne Fine Art, has almost a quarter of a century in the art industry. She was co-curator of the “Remember the Ladies: Women of the Hudson River School,” the first exhibition dedicated to the work of female Hudson River School artists. She is also a member of the Appraisers Association of America and currently serves on the Landscape / Viewshed Advisory Committee of the Olana State Historic Site.

Jennifer Garland Ross, AAA, is the founder of Art Peritus, LLC, an art advisory and appraisal consortium. She is a certified member and former board member of the Appraisers Association of America with almost 30 years in the art industry in a variety of roles.

Bob Teague is a freelance online creator, marketer, and journalist with 30 years of digital, print, radio, and television experience. He can be reached at coldwaterflatinfo@gmail.com.


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Winter’s most common catastrophe requires swift action to mitigate damage and minimize any loss of value to your art collection and valuables.

Burst Pipes: What to Do When Water Seeps In

As the coldest winter temperatures set in, the potential for weather-related damage to homes and art collections increases significantly.

February is dubbed the start of “Burst Pipe Season” at Art Peritus. The time of year when calls to our Art Crisis Management team are on the rise from clients and insurance adjusters reporting water-related damage to artwork, furniture, and other valued possessions. When disasters like this strike, we are typically one of the first on site to identify damage, prioritize property in need of more urgent critical care, and establish a comprehensive plan to promptly engage the right vendors to mitigate any additional damage or loss of value.

“Burst Pipe Season”

The fact that Art Peritus sees such a surge in water damage events is a good indication of how common this problem can be.

In fact, according to our colleagues at Chubb insurance, water damage is seven times more likely to occur than fire and six times more likely than burglary. To protect your home, art collection, and valuables from frozen and subsequently burst water pipes, it is crucial to take certain steps. These include keeping the heat on, draining water pipes, and having someone check the property if away for an extended period, among other preventative measures.

Additionally, the installation of a flow-based water shut-off or water leak detection devices can be vital resources, especially if damage occurs while out-of-town. Some insurance providers offer discounts on policies for the installation of water-detection devices from their recommended vendors. Check if yours does and consider adding one to your system if possible.

Condo Catastrophes: Your Neighbors Might be Nice But…

Preventing water damage is not exclusive to single-family homeowners. Many calls come from condo owners or apartment dwellers who, despite taking precautions, may be affected by upstairs, or even next-door neighbors. While building managers usually mandate residents to maintain a certain temperature during freezing weather, you cannot always be certain your neighbor will comply, especially if they are out of town.

Issues we have encountered include neighbors leaving terrace doors unlocked or ajar, leading to leaks and flooding in units below during severe weather events. While you can’t choose your neighbors, ensuring that building management has clear rules and regularly communicates and enforces these requirements can help protect everyone’s property.

Dealing with Damage: Step by Step

The first priority is of course stopping the source of a water leak. The next priority is to move all valuables to a dry safe place and out of harm’s way, all while taking prudent care with handling and moving your paintings, sculpture, carpets, furniture, and other valuables to ensure no further damage will occur. While these basic steps may seem obvious, in the midst of a crisis the obvious isn’t always clear.

The next course of action is to alert your insurance carrier and have them call in an experienced Art Crisis Management specialist like Art Peritus. Our team will immediately inspect and assess how best to begin the necessary conservation and treatment efforts for any damaged work. The sooner you can get an art expert on-site to survey the damage, the better. Some insurance carriers, such as Chubb, AIG, Pure, and Treadwell, have existing lists of preferred specialists like us that have a proven record in mitigating permanent harm or loss of value to your collection.

How Art Peritus Helps Prevent Permanent Damage and Devaluation

Our Art Crisis Management team will triage your entire collection promptly based on medium and extent of damage.

For example, framed works on paper need to be immediately moved to a dry location to provide humidity stabilization. Artwork like this is particularly prone to warping and mold growth when moist air becomes trapped between the artwork and the glazing.

However, when treating a piece of antique gilded furniture, it is crucial to limit its handling to a master gilder, as the carved layers of gesso beneath the gold leaf may have separated from the underlying wood carcass making it more susceptible to crumbling or popping off.

Identifying the appropriate art handler and most qualified conservator or storage facility as expediently as possible is the fundamental role of any Art Crisis Manager. Haste is also particularly important if the damage was the result of a storm affecting a large region, as getting your valuables to the conservator quickly can avoid extra wait time if your piece is received before others creating a backlog. Whether it’s fine art, upholstery, books, antique wallpaper, or antiquities, Art Peritus is an industry-leading resource for handling any crisis that threatens the integrity and value of your collection. Our expertise and extensive experience managing large-scale art crisis situations and insurance claims, partnered with our close working relationships with trusted and specialized contractors, restorers, and conservators, allow us to provide solutions and comprehensive support.

Because what you need in a disaster isn’t just an art appraiser. It’s also an experienced Art Crisis Management expert.


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Why Provenance is Paramount

As the holiday season approaches with calendars full of significant auctions and art fairs, you’re probably finding your inbox filled with emails reflecting on the sales trends expected to shape the market in the coming year. And while the UBS 2023 Global Wealth Report, ARTnews, and The Art Newspaper (to name a few) provide exceptional insights into the year ahead, we at Art Peritus wanted to focus on something more evergreen: Provenance, an important element that can have a profound impact on an item’s value.

When it comes to acquiring fine art, antiques and collectibles, understanding the nuances of quality, age, historical values, craftsmanship, and condition is vital. However, a piece’s provenance – its history of ownership – plays a pivotal role in determining its value and today in determining how it is presented for sale.

How Provenance Can Push Sales Sky High

One always expects a painting by Pablo Picasso to sell well at auction, but sometimes a painting’s provenance helps push it into stratospheric heights. Case in point is the artist’s painting “Femme à la Montre,” 1932 that just sold at Sotheby’s for close to $140 million dollars.

Beyond Picasso’s renown, the painting’s value was elevated by its prestigious history. It changed ownership only three times, notably passing from the artist into the hands of Galerie Beyeler, then subsequently to Pace Gallery, and finally into the renowned collection of Emily Fischer Landau. The fact that it had not been available for sale in fifty-five years, coupled with its stellar provenance, contributed to its record-breaking success.

Group Consignor Sales vs. Single Owner Sales

Auction houses have traditionally promoted single owner and celebrity sales, leveraging the owner’s name and fame to boost both interest and competition. Notably, the past couple years have witnessed a record number of single owner sales, accounting for almost a third of total sales. This includes celebrity memorabilia sales from Freddie Mercury, Barbara Walters, and Elton John, as well as exceptional private art and antique collections such as the Macklowe Collection, the collection of Paul G. Allen, and the Ann and Gordon Getty Collection.

While the focus on single-owner collections is not a new one, the provenance reflected in these sales is what appears to keep this segment of the market afloat following the antiques and traditional art market’s considerable downturn since the economic crisis of 2008/9.

Certainly, quality works from important collections still command high prices, yet most middle-market works are performing at much lower levels.

In the past, multi-consignor sales of ‘important’ works, divided by category, were offered several times a year. Today, the leading houses have combined these works into ‘Collector’ sales which used to be reserved for secondary auction houses.

To a lesser effect, this even holds true for a single owner collection that is sold via several sales. Usually, selected highlights are offered in a live auction setting, while the bulk is offered in multiple online sales with high-lot counts.

The Value of Renown

Last year, Art Peritus had the honor of appraising over 1,200 works in the Getty collection for IRS charitable contribution purposes (we are grateful to the family office for allowing us to break confidentiality regarding our involvement for this article). The vast and eclectic Getty collection was divided as described above into three tranches, categorized by residence and sold over a period of twelve months.

One of the top lots of furniture in the last live sale from Wheatland (an exquisite George III Ebony and Chinese reverse painted breakfront bookcase circa 1760) sold for more than double the low estimate at $750,000. Yet, this same lot may not have fared as well against some of the other more historically important works offered in the first live evening sale (had it been offered for sale there). Furthermore, the middle and lower-market works offered online in the first tranche of sales performed much better on average than those in the second and third groupings. This is likely a result of the dissipation of the original hype from the ‘once in a lifetime’ sales event given they were the last of many of sales over 12 months.

Provenance in the Long-Term

Once these single-owner sales events are over, the buyer then needs to ask themselves, what is the current and long-term value of the works they purchased?

We once performed an insurance appraisal of a broken vase. The pattern was quite recognizable and regularly traded at about $200. However, this specific vase was acquired through the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, at Sotheby’s auction in 1996 for over $80,000. This sale was so popular that Sotheby’s had to create a lottery for tickets to the viewing for those looking to acquire almost anything from the legendary family.

When it came to appraising the piece, the insured had luckily scheduled the work at the purchase price and was therefore covered for that amount. However, the true value of that vase was only $80,000 on the night of the auction given all the bidders in the room.

Auctions require at least 2 buyers to bid-up each other to a final successful sale price. When there are more than 2 buyers, let alone the numbers that attended the Jackie O sale, the true value of the object becomes irrelevant.

If that same vase were to be offered today (undamaged) in a group consigner auction, even with the Jackie O provenance, it would undoubtedly sell for only a few bid increments more than an identical vase without the provenance. But it would in no way be able to bring $80,000 again given the significantly smaller pool of bidders that would even be aware of the sale occurring.

Provenance and Exhibition History

Another aspect of provenance to consider is an item’s history of exhibition. For example, an exceptional porcelain footed bowl by Austrian artist Lucie Rae recently sold at Phillips, UK, for a staggering £330,200 (approximately $401,292 USD) setting a record for the artist. Despite the artist’s growing market and popularity, the piece’s strong provenance and international exhibition history significantly contributed to its value. That being said, the impact of that sale result, will have minimal effect on other works by Rie that lack the same provenance and exhibition factors, making this result an outlier.

More than Just a Piece

Provenance is not just about who owned a piece; it’s about the story it carries. Whether it’s a Picasso painting that has only changed hands a few times or a bowl setting a record at auction, the history matters to buyers.

Provenance isn’t a footnote; it’s a key player shaping the value and significance of artworks. In a market that’s always changing, provenance acts as a reliable guide, helping buyers and sellers navigate through the complexities to find pieces that carry not just artistic merit but also a rich history.


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Founded in 2007 by Jennifer Garland Ross, Art Peritus is an Art Appraisal, Advisory, and Collection Management firm serving clients worldwide, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Florida, Colorado, and London. Working with private collectors and industry professionals, the firm guides clients through the nuances of the appraisal process and ensures that the needs of any size collection, across all categories, are properly considered and in the client’s best interest. In early 2022 Art Peritus launched AP Selects, an online sales venture in which clients can consign art and furniture for sale through the business website, as well as on 3rd party independent online platforms including Incollect.com. We sat down with Jennifer Garland Ross to ask her about the AP Selects platform.

 

Tell us about your appraisal business.

We provide detailed, objective, carefully researched, and illustrated appraisals that conform to the most recent USPAP standards and The Getty Information Institute “Object ID” standards. We subcontract to over 50 specialists to do appraisals and reviews, so have valuable expertise in all areas of collecting from design and art to jewelry and wine.

We are also well known for the damage and loss appraisal work we perform for insurance claims. For example, when there is a fire in a building, everything needs to be checked for soot. Since soot is so corrosive, most things affected by it need conservation. From an immediate assessment of how best to secure and stabilize any type of artwork, to the engagement of professional conservators and handlers, to establishing the potential loss in value — we provide our clients with white-glove service overseeing every step of the process, start to finish.

 

What are some of the recent projects you have worked on?

Due to confidentiality, we typically can’t speak about our clients. However, I can share our recent work on an extensive collection belonging to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation which sold at Christie’s last fall. We carried out the complex donation appraisal on behalf of the family foundation, producing the report required by the IRS.

 

You have just launched AP Selects, in early 2022. What was the thinking behind this move into online retailing of various collectibles, especially furniture?

We are art and furniture appraisers and consultants and have been brokering sales through auctions since the company’s inception. However, as the market has shifted over the last fifteen years, the gap between an auction vs retail value has grown much wider creating significant losses for previously coveted antiques. So, we decided to test the market for a select group of clients who were looking to downsize or change the interiors of their primary residence or second home. They typically have quite a bit of furniture and decorative art to sell. AP Selects gives them another option to consider for resale with returns falling between low auction and high retail.

 

So you don’t take possession of the items?

No, the objects stay in the home of the owners to keep their expenses low, and so they can use and enjoy them until a buyer or new home is found. However, there are times when clients decide they do not need or want to live with the piece any more and choose to keep the property in storage until it is sold. We first vet the pieces by checking for authenticity and condition, then we photograph and complete the valuation before listing them on our site and other third-party sites such as Incollect.com in return for a commission. It is another way of bringing desired collectibles to market and usually only for a limited time.

 

What mostly do you show and sell?

I was a European furniture specialist at Christie’s before founding Art Peritus. Although we tend to have quite a bit of European furniture listed due to my area of expertise and background, we have a wide variety of property on offer including quite a bit of fine art and will continue to branch out across all categories of collecting. I would say about 80% of what we sell now falls in the decorative arts category and is considered historical material. Rarely is the property new unless it is a unique or custom design.

 

How many pieces do you have listed?

Right now, around 250 objects across a few digital platforms, with an additional 400 new objects coming to market soon. There is no limit to what we can manage so long as the property is in good condition and can be listed at a price the client is comfortable selling.

 

What is your perception of the current market for design and furniture?

It is hard to generalize. I feel it is surely contracting in some areas but expanding rapidly in others. Overall people still have an eye out for unique, good-quality pieces across all categories.

My experience in the antique world tells me the blue-chip top end of this market is still doing fine. There are fewer top-end items for sale overall, however, the truly important pieces are still in demand commanding strong prices. Often In the past, interiors were decorated entirely in traditional style, pieces would stay in the residence permanently and then be passed down to the next generation. That is not typically the case today.

 

Why do you think this is happening?

The taste for decor has changed. We have 3 clients selling homes that were decorated in a traditional English or Continental (giltwood furniture) style. Each of them is shifting into a completely modern interior, purging their previous style entirely, all at once, and not always downsizing from their 25,000 sq ft home!

 

What are your best clients like?

Our best clients are those who want to cherry-pick specific pieces from different periods, places, and genres and integrate them together — it gives character and flavor to the interior rather than one consistent ‘packaged’ look. It’s wonderful when clients inject their opinions, personality, and taste. We collaborate with interior designers and their clients often to find those special pieces for their projects.

 

What is one of your most important and largest sales through AP Selects?

Recently we sold an early 20th-century painting considered an important work of American modernism. The piece sold for $2 million. We have quite a nice collection of mid-century Venetian glass as well as some interesting Art Deco furniture and bronzework coming to market that will be posted online shortly.

 

Discover More From Art Peritus Selects on Incollect

 

Read original interview on Incollect