It is important to know where you are going, so you can get there. All day I’ve typed “Linda” Hindman Auctioneers; however, it is “Leslie Hindman Auctioneers”, 1338 W. Lake Street in Chicago’s West Loop. My apologies to Leslie Hindman and her great team.
Apologies out of the way, I must say my evening was enlightening; however, being a novice to the world of art I will admit I am finding most things related to art informative and quite intriguing. Tonight opened up an entirely new world. Art Specialists for Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and our evening presenters Andrew Lick and Saran M. Leonetti shared their art and auction expertise with seasoned and neophyte collectors alike, who are taking part in Next Art Chicago’s Collector’s Colloquium series.
I always thought of auctions as a scary place. Off limits, if you will. I mean, who can understand anything they are saying anyway? In my mind auctions were for the other people. The elite and wealthy. The in-the-know crowd. Although, it is true many elite and wealthy buy art and bid in auctions they are not the only people. I bet you own a few pieces yourself.
After a glass of Merlot, an artichoke, spinach and garlic dip, presentations by Hindman’s art specialists, perusing the catalog for the February 2012 auction, and a one-on-one with Sarah M. Leonetti, I was certain I too could attend an auction, bid and purchase without breaking my bank. Yes, just like the wealthy and elite.
There were a few things a novice art collector should know about auctions. First, the catalog will not suffice. As glossy and beautiful as the pages are they are meant to whet our appetite. Whether viewing the catalog in print or online, the catalog is only the beginning. Secondly, once you have identified a piece, it is your job to request a “condition report” from the auction house, which can be sent via email. This report will include better pictures and all the pertinent information you need to assist in making your decision. It is crucial in the art world to do your homework. I am finding it true that galleries and artists really do want to sell their work to people like you and me. They want to answer your questions, and they are open to negotiate believe it or not. Auctioneers fit that bill as well.
When thinking about buying from an auction or in the secondary market provenance is important. Knowing the historicity of a piece lends weight to it, and it may also drive the price. Again, the name of the game: Do your homework and buy what you love! Ms. Leonetti advises arriving at the auction early to view your piece(s) of interest up close and personal. If you are traveling the day of the auction you can phone in or submit an absentee bid for your item. The auctioneer will bid on your behalf.
So does this all still sound a little daunting? Well, you can attend an auction without parting with your hard earned cash. You can take in the landscape. Simply be a spectator, by not registering to participate in bidding. Not a bad idea for newbies like myself.
I didn’t know what to expect this evening. I didn’t know if I’d be greeted by a “stuffy” or pretentious team. They were not. Would the session be over my newbie head or auctions out of my league? Not at all. Our presenters for the evening explained and answered all questions. I left feeling ready to take on the auction world.
I brought my catalogs home, and I’ve been enjoying the view. I am really excited about Leslie Hindman’s first “Works by African American Artists”, March 1st, and what’s really great? The auction house will be set up like a gallery where you can purchase the works without bidding. It will be smaller collection of works; however, worth the visit. An auction will follow. I’ll be there. Oh, and did I mention they have a free parking directly across from the auction house. All the more reason to check out Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
For more information on Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and coming auctions, “Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts” auction February 12-13 or the “Works by African American Artists” March 1st visit www.lesliehindman.com.
If you’ve ever bid at an auction I’d love to hear about it, and feel free to share your art world experience and expertise with me.
Here’s to my first bid!