How Do We Acquire Pieces to Sell?

Arctic Experience McNaught Gallery
Apr 24, 2018 6:55PM

Stocking the gallery with artwork - The case of "Caribou: by Takao Tanabe

One of the most interesting parts of running a gallery - especially one that has been in business nearly 35 years - is seeing our clients transition from one stage of life to the next. The nature of our business is such that we often see clients around milestone events -  purchasing a gift for a major birthday, wedding, or retirement; updating an insurance appraisal before a big move; or helping clients hang an art collection in a new house. We get to know our clients and their collections, so that when it comes time to downsize, we can work with  our clients to find new homes for their treasured things.

There are a few ways to rehome artwork. One of our favourite ways is to pick a charity or non-profit that a client is particularly fond of and donate a piece of artwork to their cause. Non-profits can use artwork to enhance their buildings or may use a piece to raise funds for their operation.

Takao Tanabe
Caribou, 1962
Arctic Experience McNaught Gallery

One of our most recent offerings - a gorgeous piece from Takao Tanabe - was acquired this way. A client we’ve known since the ‘80s came to us for help because his mother was moving into a retirement home. As we were working with the client he told us about a painting he had picked up at an estate sale many years ago. He didn’t know much about it but really liked it and purchased it at the sale. He was now ready to sell the piece and asked if we could help him with that as well.

We did a bit of research on the painting. It helped that on the back stretcher  there were a couple of detailed labels from previous galleries. We were able to trace the piece back to a gallery in Vancouver who sold the  piece in the ‘60s. (That’s right, don’t remove those tags from a painting! They are important clues to establish provenance!) We then had the painting cleaned. It was in good shape but had amassed a nice layer of dust and grime over the years.

Don't remove those labels!

Looking bright and clean, the painting was ready for sale. We discussed the market research with our client and established a price we were both happy with. The painting is now listed for sale on our online gallery:

Do you have a piece you’ve inherited or acquired that you don’t know much about? Curious to learn more about it or see if there’s a market for  sale? Send us a message (and include a picture)! We’d love to take a look: [email protected]

Arctic Experience McNaught Gallery