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For many years now, private and corporate Collecting contemporary art is a great
investors have realised that investing in way to start collecting or to add new life
art can be very profitable and enjoyable. into an established collection. To make
Collecting contemporary art is a great an informed choice of artist or material to
way to add a new chapter to an existing buy, visit galleries, discuss the pieces with
investment portfolio. Buying modern the artist whenever possible. Research the

art can also immediately enhance your artist by reading articles in magazines,
living and working environment, having books and the Internet. Look at the artist’s
an artwork on display, at home or in the longevity; an artist might have only one

office can demonstrate taste, style and big show and then disappear from view
power. Depending on the understanding forever. Therefore his exhibition record
of the artwork and the artist, the piece can becomes very important. See if the shows
express a company’s ethics and mission. are only local or regional, or if the artist

and Their
A background check of the artist and his has been exposed to an international
oeuvre is therefore of different importance clientele. This will quickly reveal if an
for home and office. artist has been hyped by museums or
galleries and this might be an indicator for

Well known artists such as Rodin, Moor quality an acceptance of pieces.
and Giacometti, are like blue chip stocks.
One of the most important Giacometti When buying modern sculptures, it is
works L’Homme Qui Marche recently important to see if the new artist has
Text: Dr. Robert B. Faltermeier
fetched 65 million pounds in an auction in understood the material he is working in.
London. This blue-chip-art is limited and Be it stone, bronze or modern materials.
appreciates better in a poorer market, than Stone is one of the most resilient materials;
lesser-known artists. However, the price the reoccurring maintenance costs such,
tags are vastly higher. To collect masters, as cleaning and conservation are low.
you do need specialised knowledge of the When buying a bronze for indoor or
art market and the artist. These exceptional outdoor display, the patina has to be in
artists have already proven their investment pristine conditions and the sculpture needs
quality and are an encouragement to go regular attention, since bronze corrodes
out and find the next great masters. It is easily in an urban environment. Modern
important to diversify the collection and it materials such as plastics are generally a
is always a good idea to include emerging difficult genre, since many modern resins
regional artists, these will add bulk to your can deteriorate rapidly when exposed to
collection and there is always the potential high light and temperature levels, as they
of an artist to be discovered and really to are typical in tropical region. It is always
take off. Imagine for a moment you were good when investing in contemporary art
one of the few who started buying an early to have the assistance of an independent
Picasso. experienced conservator, familiar with the
material and the subject.

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Some legal aspects, a collector of modern and if a good dehumidifying system is used, Sculptures should no be placed under
contemporary art, has to understand the copyright laws can the relative humidity be reduced to trees, bird and other animal droppings are
of the respective country. When buying a piece of art, the deactivate corrosion or an other option very aggressive. Positioning a sculpture
transfer of all copyrights should be contained with in a is the metal sculpture is coated with a in well aerated area allows the surface
sails contract. The buyer has to ensure that the transfer synthetic material to prevent humidity to dry faster, minimising deterioration.
is legally binding. This might be necessary in case of attacking its surface. However; a low It is not advisable to position a sculpture
publication, conservation or future sail of the artwork humidity level in turn will affect wooden near a high traffic road, the pollution and
in question, and might determine the final value. The sculptures, textiles and other organic the vibration increases deterioration and
contract should also indicate the authenticity, history and materials and cause them to shrink cracking. Outdoor sculptures should be
provenance as detailed as possible. and crack. Display cases are therefore washed once a month from top to bottom.
recommended for mixed collections of If the surface is clean, moisture can dry up
The maintenance of Outdoor Sculptures is necessary high value. very quickly, however if there is a layer of
to keep its intrinsic and monetary value. The least dirt it will stay moist longer and initiate
maintenance is needed for stone sculptures. Regular When it comes to cleaning sculptures, deterioration. To wash a sculpture it is best
cleaning and condition checking will keep them in make sure that no commercial cleaner is to use filtered tap water. The carbon filter
good shape. used. They can contain ammonia and other will filter out most of the chlorine and
additives, which stain and rapidly deteriorate fluorine and metal particles if present. A
Even as a bronze sculpture leaves the foundry, its the surface. When dusting an indoor clean flannel or sponge is needed. Should
surface is under attack. Corrosion is due to the sculpture, it is best to use a very soft, clean the sponge or flannel fall to the ground or
interaction between a metal and its environment. The and dry brush to dust the surface and make be used on very dirty, gritty areas, it needs
rate, at which a bronze sculpture corrodes, depends sure the metal sleeve around the bristles does to be replaced or very very thoroughly
on its environment. In a tropical urban climate, this not scratch the surface. washed. Regular cleaning solutions should
corrosion can occur and progress rapidly. This is not be used.
mainly due to the high humidity and temperature, Sculptures made from polyester or epoxy are
but also air pollutants. Both formic and acetic acids best shown in an indoor environment. Coated Every 6 months the sculpture should be
are major organic acids contributing to the acidity of glass-fibre sculptures deteriorate rapidly in washed thoroughly inspected and waxed
rain. These acids readily attack and dissolve patinas, a tropic environment. The high humidity with a neutral microcrystalline wax that
resulting in patchy and streaky surfaces. temperature and light levels have devastating is suitable for the climate what works
effects on its structural integrity. in a European climate is not necessarily
A bronze, containing chloride corrosion, due to the applicable in a tropical climate.
previous exposure to a chloride environment, can still Do not place sculptures directly on soil
corrode in an indoor environment. These chlorides if not absolutely necessary since the For a good management of a sculpture, it
can be due to burial, as in the case of archaeological moist ground accelerates deterioration. is recommended that every 6 to 12 months
bronzes, or in contemporary bronze sculptures due Place sculpture on a plane stone surface a professionally trained conservator should
to airborne salts, handling and others. This chloride preferably marble or granite above the inspect the surface for flaws and damage, and
corrosion can grass line. There should be no grass line clean the sculpture and reapply a sacrificial
be indicated as light green to turquoise spots, powdery around the sculptures since trimming with protective coating. The condition check
or solid in texture, or even as a light green liquid scissors, trimmers or cutters will scratch ensures that the estimated 5-10% increase in
when exposed to high humidity. the surface. Be aware of animals such as value per year is not jeopardised. //
cats and dogs that might use the sculpture
It’s an urban legend that exposure to air-conditioning as a marker, animal secretions can cause
will halt this chloride corrosion completely. Only corrosion of the surface.

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