How Can Your Art Be Appraised When a Physical Inspection Is Not Practical or Possible
In the era of Facetime, Skype, Zoom and other video conferencing applications, these platforms allow for a virtual walk through or appraisal inspection when the client would like guidance on items to appraise or when the property cannot be examined by the appraiser in person. Appraisals can also be done with photographs and details sent in to the appraiser after or instead of a virtual walk through. As long as the information provided by this type of inspection will lead to credible assignment results, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) allows for such inspections. With a little planning, this can move your appraisal forward. Whether you opt for a virtual walk through or inspection or for an inspection based upon submitting digital photographs and details of the artwork, here are some items to have set up prior to your virtual walk through or inspection or specific photographs and details to submit via e-mail.
1. Have a tape measure, flash light and your camera phone ready to use. The phone and camera photos are best in landscape or horizontal position.
2. Pull out any documents regarding your artwork. These can include but are not limited to purchase receipts, past appraisals, past insurance schedules, conservation or condition reports, and exhibition and publication records.
3. For any works on paper, remove the pieces from the frames, if possible. Works on paper are more difficult to fully identify if framed. A virtual walk through prior to inspection may be more cost effective for such items as it may become apparent to the appraiser without inspection that the item is a reproduction.
4. Take any framed items off the wall so that the appraiser can also see the back.
5. If working on a virtual walk through or inspection, please make sure all ambient noise is at a minimum to that both parties can hear more clearly.
6. If sending in photographs and details, please include the following:
a. Take measurements of all artwork as height x width (and x depth if a 3-D object) - including the dimensions for the outside
of the frame and of the artwork alone (either from the back, if exposed, or the sight area just inside the edge of the frame if
the back is not exposed.)
b. Take photographs (with a timestamp if possible) of the full object, including all frame corners, of the front and the back.
c. Take photographs of the full object image space including just into the frame area, and four photographs zooming in to
divide the painting into quadrants. If photographing a sculpture, send photographs of the object in four views of the front,
back and from each side.
d. Take photographs of all inscriptions, including the artist's signature, any title, date edition or personal dedications (some of
these may also be found on the back of the item.)
e. Take photographs of any labels or handwriting on the frames.
f. Take photographs of any worn or damaged areas, whether on the frame or artwork itself.
g. Scan or photograph any documents, including purchase receipts, past appraisals, past insurance schedules, conservation or
condition reports, and exhibition and publication records.