After the Reveal Open Studios weekend we were expecting a visit yesterday from BBC Radio 4 Front Row, but that got postponed at short notice. Instead Margaret and I met up at 54 and used the opportunity to review where we are with things.
A lot has been achieved in less than two years, but having rescued the work and the studio many of the the fundamental questions and issues about the Estate remain. In particular how are we going to increase awareness of Dave Pearson's work and get to see it represented more widely in collections? Up to now we have been selling work at what we consider to be low prices in order to raise enough money to sustain our work, but we now have sufficient funds to look after the storage and building for the immediate future as well as commission a film about Dave.
We started by deciding to put more work aside, to 'ring-fence' it from immediate sales. The criteria will be
- important pieces in Dave's development;
- exceptional pieces that would currently be ludicrously under-priced;
- typical examples from his main series of works, especially those in short supply.
So, for example we've decided to hold back the remaining 40 self-portraits on canvas. We will also soon look at the relief paintings and some of the series of works on paper. We've already been through this process with the 'In the 7 Woods' pencil series (see above for an example) and held back perhaps 30% of the drawings. We've done it for the large prints too. Eventually we'll do this for all of the work...
As Trustees of the Estate we have a duty to the mission of the Trust, which is (in short) protecting the work and enhancing Dave Pearson's reputation as an artist. We also have a duty to Chris Pearson who made over the work to the Trust (he remains a Trustee) to manage the sales of the work sensibly, and we recognise that it would be foolish to sell pieces at this stage that may well be significantly more valuable in future. It's all about striking the right balance of course, and we need to get the balance right between getting some income in now and making certain that the legacy is properly protected.