Susan Fox, An interesting artist who is near and dear to my heart with her work

I have just had the pleasure of finding out about and meeting an interesting American artist from Oregon, Susan Fox, who is a fellow member of the Explorers Club with me. She creates wildlife art, but more interesting she loves oil painting wildlife art in Mongolia, one of my favorite places on earth, as well as other wondrous places as Kenya, the Sea of Cortez and North America! Susan captures a part of this with her use of natural soft lighting and gentle colors. Enjoy checking out her work. The images below come directly from Susan’s web site, found at: http://foxstudio.biz.

Enjoy, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA, CAGA, MN ’09.

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This is EXACTLY why elephant poaching continues!

There could not be a more corrupt or disgusting answer than this by the Kenyan government, who sits in the middle of the elephant poaching/enforcement crisis and is a signator to CITES! The only words I can think are pretty bad, so I will hold my tongue, as this is a public forum! I have always wanted to travel to Kenya, one of the cradles of human evolution, I even have a special 25th anniversary flag from their country, but will not until this changes profoundly. For their $350 fine, they will loose thousands, and more likely tens-of-tousands of my dollars in business in the future by me not traveling there now, let alone other disgusted travelers that hear about this. Click the link below to read the article.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201303280098.html.

Excellent short video discussion of how to handle and look at Chinese paintings!

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This is a really great discussion about, and of how to handle, view and enjoy traditional Chinese paintings by one of the worlds great Chinese painting scholars, Dr. Maxwell Hearn, the Douglas Dillon Curator of Asian art at no less than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Within this discussion you will hear the interesting treatment of perspective that is common in traditional Chinese painting and many similar Asian traditions of painting. People like retired U. C. Berkeley professor, Dr. James Cahill, discussed similar things about perspective in his work. While at one of the Asian Arts Curatorial Council meeting, to which I was a member from 2001 – 2010, my friend the retired Curator of Asian Art of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Dr. Robert Jacobsen, talked about the unusual nature of perspective as portrayed in Chinese painting as well. Perspective in these paintings can be very different from that generally employed by Western artists, so it some times looks and can even feel strange to westerners. However, this is part of what makes their style of painting so curious and interesting. Enjoy the video, which I originally found at the New York Times website, but I have found again here posted on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPmED0GbYUs.

The image above comes from the website Little Red Book, a Million Conversations, found at: http://www.littleredbook.cn/2009/04/13/construction-cranes-in-the-bamboo-forest-balancing-nature-and-urbanization-in-china-psa-advertising/. This site has an interesting discussion of Chinese paintings also worth reading. Enjoy.

Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA.

Art and antiques as a viable asset.

This is an interesting article by Lewis Baer related to art and antiques being a viable asset, and it should pique the interest of anyone who collects or in considering getting into collecting real fine art and antiques. Short and sweet too! Enjoy.

http://art-antiques-design.com/2013/04/07/antiques-a-viable-asset-class-by-lewis-baer/.

Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA. Fine Art and Antiques appraisal, brokering and consulting services.

Christies to operate independently in China! Amazing!

Here is an interesting update on the Chinese auction market and how the major world players are dealing with it! Christies has made a really great and important move in this in my opinion by arranging with the Chinese government to operate independently. To US citizens this might seem like an odd comment. However, in China, generally the rule is you must enter into a joint venture to operate a business in China either with the government itself or with a private entity! Congratulations to Christies, I think this is a really important move and also will bring much more credibility to the Chinese auction market, which has been plagued by questionable practices frequently so far – even with their own citizens. Enjoy the read. http://www.artmarketblog.com/2013/04/09/christies-claims-first-independent-art-auction-in-mainland-china-artmarketblog-com/

The image below come directly from this article.

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Sincerely, Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA. Appraisals, Brokering, Buying and Consulting, Fine Art and Antiques, Specializing in Asian Art and Antiques, Fine Art Prints, Fossils, and other Fine Personal Property.

The actual violin played on the Titanic and a great lesson about authenticity and value.

Here is a really cool article from the BBC about probably the single most iconic possible item from the wreck of the RMS Titanic! WOW! I was very proud to have had a small roll in the U.S. Federal Court case for the Titanic artifacts that have been recovered from the ship on the sea bed, but never knew anything about this violin. The image below, from this BBC article, is the violin that was being played while the RMS Titanic went down! Yes, really! However, for this blog the important part is how they figured it out and how long it took to do so, and in the end, why – the ultimate value, expected to be in the six figure range!

Therefore, this article allows me an excellent opportunity for coaching about authentication and appraising. I would like to convey to people in need  of, or interested in the appraisal and authentication process that you need to allow us to do our job for you completely and this article about the violin proves this very well, although in the most extreme of cases. Remember that with extraordinary claims comes the need for extraordinary proof! The best, and most efficient way for us to help you is when you have excellent provenance. However, most things  lack this one critical aspect, which leaves it to us and other experts to show why an item would deserve a high value. The violin’s owner got this, and it has paid off! The other point is, do not make an extraordinary claim, and then not allow us to find extraordinary proof to back it up, because the normal human reaction is that you do not believe it!

What I find all too often is that most people want to skip this necessary step and not allow us to do our research properly for the client, they just want a very high value, but that is not how it works. However, if you truly believe you have something of significant value, then you need to understand that we must determine values based on what we can establish through the research we are allowed to do by the client. The more restrictions the client puts on the work they want us to do, and thus the less research, then due to limiting conditions, generally the lower the value that will necessarily be produced, because we are not able to establish what is necessary to show the highest possible value.

When people say they know they have a Ming dynasty painting by a famous artist, for example, then I need to be able to show that this is accurate. Just because someone says it is this or that does not make it so if there is no provenance, only the research will show the truth. People frequently do not understand that when I say I must be allowed to do my work in order to properly value a piece, that this is exactly why, and it is not a ploy to purge money out of them, but is what must be done to allow the best possible use, thus allowing the best possible value for the item being appraised. It is indeed a lot of hard work, and there is a reason that real appraisals are not cheap, but the payoffs can be tremendous. It is fairly rare that an item requires seven years to be shown to be what it is claimed to be, but it is not unusual for it to take weeks to several months, and some times a year or so. This is a high stakes game, which you must play right to do well in. Some times you win, some times you lose, but as seen in this example, the win is SOOOO nice! Enjoy the article. So, the next time you want to get your wonderful piece appraised, understand that the pay off can only come if you do the work right. Enjoy the article, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-21806334

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Even experts can be wrong and/or miss things! BBC: “Van Dyck painting ‘found online'”

Even museum curators miss things some times, very important things, as exemplified by this BBC article on a Van Dyck painting that was in a museum collection, but thought to be a copy. One of the hurdles that art professionals must over come with the public is the idea of being an expert. I forget who said it, but it was a good quote, “we know a lot about a little and a little about a lot”. In between these two extremes we must be guided by following standard procedures that we learn on how to get to the bottom of the facts and not merely base it in ego and opinion. Some times it is easy, generally it is hard. There is a very high standard to proving authenticity, and as you will see in this BBC article, even the experts can miss things. This is not from ineptitude, but generally caution, some times due to emerging new scientific techniques that had not previously been available, some times from missing obscure clues. If you want to get to the bottom of the truth of your pieces, you must be willing to allow the expert to do what they must in it’s entirety, and this is generally very involved. Just because you do not see the procedures, does not mean it is a simple process. However, if allowed to follow through completely, the truth will be disclosed. Enjoy the read from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21712209. The image below is taken from the BBC article.

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Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA.                                                                                                        gregcbrown@asianappraisals.com.