Sunday, 11 January 2009

Beginning the work

Since Christmas we’ve formalised the agreement to set up the Dave Pearson Trust. Reading ‘Artists Estates: Reputations in Trust' by Magda Salvesen continues to be an inspiration. Several key things emerge in beginning the process of establishing an artist’s work. First, of course, it has to be genuinely interesting. Dave wasn’t well known – among his colleagues at Manchester University, at Globe Artist Studios, and among his students he had a wonderful reputation, but he never worked to interest dealers and galleries. As a result he died with the vast bulk of his work intact. This, surprisingly, is good news as there’s everything to play for.

Secondly dealers and galleries would prefer to deal with a Trust than with individual family members, as it legitimizes the process and militates against different heirs appearing with work for sale. Thirdly it’s vital to catalogue the work properly, so it’s managed well and, again, dealers can see a sense of order and discipline behind the estate management. Finally it’s useful to build up print and publications about the work.

Margaret has agreed to start preparing a monograph about Dave. Basically it means methodically tracing the development of the work, the influences, and what was going on around, and preparing it as a publication. Margaret estimates this will take her up to year to complete.

As for cataloguing the material I quickly discovered software that enables this to be done efficiently. There are several different packages on the market and I tried a few out. In the end I chose Artlook ( largely because it has been developed in the UK and thus its defaults are in £ rather than $, and is set up for a British tax regime. It’s very reasonably priced and the support seems very good. So far I’ve found it to be perfect for the job, and I’m really pleased that I discovered it before starting the process long-hand.

We’ve also been able to test things locally by exhibiting at the See Gallery, where Julian and Jackie have been very helpful. Their current mixed Christmas exhibition closes next weekend but we have, so far, sold several pieces by Dave.

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