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.