Collector's Log: Documentation for your art
Caring for your collection extends beyond maintaining the physical condition of the objects. It is important to keep good object records and a collection history. This data will be invaluable for insurance purposes in case of theft or disaster. Be sure to create a folder for each object in your collection.
In your file, include the following items:
· color photographs of the object, including full-view and details—front, back, framed, unframed. Document multiple views of three-dimensional works.
· purchase date and price
· vendor data
· artist/maker information including life dates
· title of work
· detailed description of object’s subject matter or type of work
· date of work
· dimensions—framed and unframed for two-dimensional works. Overall, object, and base measurements for three-dimensional works.
· media and support data
· detailed description of object—include location of scratches, losses, dents, abrasions, and so on.
· copies of all conservation and appraisal reports
· text of inscriptions, markings, and labels
· ownership history (“provenance”)
· bibliographic information if your work is cited in any exhibition catalogues, auction catalogues, or catalogues raisonné
· exhibition and loan history
See the Getty website for information on protecting cultural objects through international documentation standards at www.getty.edu/conservation/
In the unfortunate event your artwork gets stolen, here are important resources:
International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) 500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 935 New York NY 10110 (212) 391-6234 www.ifar.org Select the Collector's Corner link.
National Stolen Art File http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/arttheft
Credit: Courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery