Savvy Collectors, Savvy Artist, Derek Robertson
When I read Derek's email, I almost couldn't believe my eyes. Though I've worked with wildlife artists for 35 years, I've never before experienced something like this, particularly in the U.S. or Canada. So I replied, "Could you share with me the terms of your loan agreements with your purchasers. That is something I would like to recommend to other artists."
A former museum man myself, I can understand the advice Derek's wife gave him, since collectors are sometimes unwilling to part with their purchases for museum exhibitions. In Derek's case, his collectors are to be complimented not only for their affability, but also for their wisdom and sophistication. By agreeing to lend works back for display, Derek's collectors are supporting Derek and his career. But they are also helping themselves by creating a history for the artwork they happen to own. This history, known as "provenance" among connoisseurs, imbues artworks with real added value. To appreciate this, just go to Christie's or Sotheby's or most any other reputable auction house, and you will see that they rely heavily on an artwork's individual history to establish and justify value.
Derek's savvy and the savvy of his collectors should be followed as a model by North American artists lucky enough to have their work requested for display in galleries and museums. Thank you, Derek, for sharing that with me.
David J. Wagner, Ph.D.