“Death can really make you look like a star,” said Andy Warhol. It is also no bar to making money. Michael Jackson and Elvis continue to earn tens of millions of pounds for their estates long after their deaths, while Warhol himself has never been so popular — or his art so valuable.
These are most asked question of heirs who do not know how to answer them. The German Loretta Würtenberger, who managed the estate of Jean Arp, died in Basel (Switzerland) in1966, for three years will try to overcome the confusion surrounding artist’sestates and regardless of the nationality of the law applicable to them by creating an institute specializing in artists’estates. By Roxana Azimi.
Over the past 25 years, there has been an explosion in the number of artists’ estates. But, except for catalogues raisonnés, there has been very little academic research on the subject. The Institute for Artists’ Estates, which launches this month in Berlin and is the first organisation of its kind in Europe, hopes to change this by providing training and managerial support to heirs as well as living artists.
The field of artists’ estates is undergoing major transformations in response to today’s fast-changing media landscape and art market. Only this week, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has eased its image use restrictions in order to keep up to date with contemporary image sharing culture and facilitate scholarship and teaching
When artists die, they often leave a stockpile of work. There are now galleries and consultants specializing in salvaging these treasures. From the very beginning Keith Arnatt was an accomplished master of the exit, the English artist’s breakthrough work being particularly exemplary, in 1969 Self Burial (Television Interference Project) interrupted a TV channel’s regular evening program with a series of photographs, in which the artist sank bit by bit into the ground.
Business with dead artists is booming. Almost every week we receive emails from major galleries announcing the representation of a new artist’s estate. Loretta Würtenberger, whose company Fine Art Partners manages four estates, has asked the heirs of such artists as Donald Judd, Max Beckmann, and Robert Mapplethorpe how the legacies of late artists can be kept alive.
Panel Epic Journey – Photographic Legacies, moderated by Lisa K. Erf with David Raymond (Collector), Muna Tseng (Artistic Director,
Muna Tseng Dance Projects /Tseng Kwong Chi Estate Representative) and Loretta Würtenberger (Director, The Institute for Artists’ Estates).
“Death can really make you look like a star”! According to the German social research institute Emnid 30 percent of Germans leave a will. Of these 53 percent are either null and void or open to dispute. Given that most artists are inherently opposed to legal formalities, the percentage leaving a will in this group will be significantly lower.