Case Studies: Innovative Solutions

Brandt, Table Lamp, 1926-28

Brandt, Table Lamp, 1926-28


THE FAIR RENTAL VALUE OF ART: For years, the question of how to preserve important art collections without burdening the heirs of the collector has been unanswered in any meaningful, practical manner that could pass scrutiny. The united staff of OTE chose to take on the challenge. After six years of dogged research on international markets and personal interviews with personnel in dozens of museums, commercial firms and institutional organizations, a methodology was created to solve the problem OTE devised an unique proprietaryprocedure to provide collectors the opportunity to gift their collection or parts therein, and rent or lease the works back so that the artworksremain in the collector’s home until his death. This procedure has never been known to have been duplicated by any other appraisal firm in the nation. It is exclusively the proprietary methodology of O’Toole-Ewald Art Associates, Inc.

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1948 © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, Courtesy Cristopher Rothko

Mark RothkoUntitled, 1948 © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, Courtesy Cristopher Rothko

ESTATE FRACTIONAL DISCOUNTING: When the parents of four adult children died, left were two significant and valuable paintings to be divided among the heirs. That physically was impossible so OTE was asked to devise a methodology by which the matter could be resolved without the heirs having to pay the entire tax that would have been incurred by a single beneficiary. This demanded original research, not simply data collection, and OTE set up interviews with dozens of professionals in the field – collectors, art dealers, appraisers – to form a consensus about whether a discount should be applied to the value of the paintings as the result of the difficulties in any potential sale. The four-month survey and comparison to discounting of fractional interest in other disciplines resulted in an IRS allowance of a 25 percent discount in this particular instance. The procedure had never before been attempted in the field of personal properties.


Man-Lion Tomb Guardian, China, First Half of the 18th Century

Man-Lion Tomb Guardian, China, First Half of the 18th Century

RE-CREATION AFTER LARGE SCALE DAMAGE:  Millions of documentary photographs were destroyed at Port Authority on 9/11. All that remained were a few charred boxes with unrecognizable images as well as an inventory of the events that had been recorded over the many years since the creation of the authority. Again, OTE had to virtually recreate those photographs and value them in order to document the loss.  This was successfully done, as was our evaluation of the thousands of artifacts given to the 9/11 museum – charred uniforms and equipment, melted watches and personal memorabilia that had been found in the wreckage. A tragic assignment and an inventory of loss, never attempted previously.

OTE has also valued the entire photo archive of institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, as well as collections of video and rare film, such as an extensive collection of African-American films from the 1930s and 40s, as well as large collections of art and artifacts for multiple purposes.

 Tiffany Studios, "Pony" Apple Blossom,1902-1906

 Tiffany Studios"Pony" Apple Blossom,1902-1906

ARTIST MARKET EVALUATION: Twice OTE has been called upon to evaluate the potential earning power of two very different artists, one an emerging fine artist who had just begun to sell his work just before he was killed, and the other a more established design artisan who had fallen through an unlocked sidewalk cellar door and was permanently disabled. It was necessary, for purposes of settlement of claims, to meticulously document the steps by which these artists would have lived out their creative lives and where their financial position might be at the conclusion of their careers. Once again it was necessary to go well beyond the usual approaches in appraising, but in each case the OTE conclusions and reports proved successful in resolving the claims.