Estates & Attorneys: OTE at Heckerling 2015

OTE’s first year at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning was full of talk of Art Leasing and Fractional Discounting. That we offered these services seemed to surprise attendees who tended to be more familiar with business valuation.

It was probably the first time that any of the attorneys or financial planners discovered that an art appraisal firm was capable of complex valuations outside of the usual insurance, resale or donation practice.

One conference highlight for OTE representatives was the chance to speak with some of the attorneys involved in the recent Elkins case. When the Fifth Circuit awarded the Elkins family a $14.4 million estate tax refund and allowed for the use of fractional interest discounts for artworks, it was a great thing for collectors and OTE.  This was exciting for us as, more than twenty years ago, OTE was the first firm to successfully win a substantial discount for our client in an estate that contained works of art.

This was also the first time the OTE unveiled our new brand image and we were proud to have a clean new aesthetic to bring with us to Heckerling.

We were extremely happy with the positive response we received from the people we met at the conference and we are excited about participating again in 2016. See you there!

Walking Off Art, Just Off Madison

On Wednesday night, in the now arctic Manhattan, during an art walk entitled “Just Off Madison,” American Art dealers opened their doors to give art lovers who actually work during the day an opportunity to view some pretty good art that art journalists seldom report about these days. Seduced by All Contemporary Art All the Time, they would have missed the fabulous “Bal Martinique,” a 1928 oil by William Glackens of an exuberant and wildly colorful dance hall, traveling to the Barnes Foundation. The coy response by the Kraushaar Gallery assistant when the price was asked was “above $500,000.” I had guessed closer to a million. Why the secrecy?

Pamphlets from participating galleries

Pamphlets from participating galleries

 Graham Gallery was showing two Norman Bluhms, vividly colored and exciting paintings at $150,000 for the 72 x 48 inch, and $65,000 for the 30 x 22 inch from 1961. The Remington “Bronco Buster” from 1895, 23 x 20 inches, was priced at $285,000. There was a room filled with rather wonderful sculpture, definitely worth a visit – or two. Debra Force showed Wyeth, Conner Rosenkranz displayed pieces that included Paul Jennewein, and Menconi + Schoelkopf had a really beautiful “Little Girl in Large Red Hat,” circa 1881, sitting opposite the entrance of their space, as if waiting patiently for some kind visitor to take her by the hand and out of the madding crowd. 

Cold weather may have kept many away, but the good thing about this art is that it is still there and right off Madison Avenue.

Written by Elin Lake-Ewald


Opening Night at the IFPDA Print Fair 2014

Opening night at the Print Fair brought crushing crowds and some amazing power on paper!

 A growing market for early 20th century British printmakers seemed to grow exponentially as several dealer booths focused on displays by Sybil Andrews, CRW Nevinson, Claude Flight, Margaret Barnard, Cyril Edward Power, and Lill Tschude, much admired but scarcely known in the US. Prices ranged from the low $30,000s to over $100,000, so it’s clear that there is as strong market for these vigorously colored linocuts. Kempner Gallery appeared to have the largest selection.

 Equally striking, but in the most subtle of ways, was an unusual series of eight silkscreens by Fred Sandbeck priced at $25,000. Famed for his string sculptures, these prints showed the varied configurations of a structure of strings as if it were in motion. At Diane Villani, publisher.

 At Barbara Krakow was another series of nine geometric black and white silkscreens from a set of ten (I still can’t figure that out), by Sol Lewitt, from 1982, and also priced at $25,000.

 So much to see and so much to remember, but two prints whose images remain with me: an engraving by William Black of Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrimage for $60,000 at the Fine Art Society of London, and at Hill-Stone an etching of Death and the Knight, a beautiful impression, for $225,000.

 This year may have brought in the largest group of non-American dealers that I can remember, and certainly a great number of non-New York dealers, a good many from Chicago. Definitely a sense of energy and excitement prevailed, but the increase in prices for prints was discernible. Perhaps, at any price, prints can be made to seem like near giveaways in the light of the  prices at the auction sales currently going on.

Written by Elin Lake-Ewald, Ph.D, ASA, FRICS