by Mary Rozell. Ashgate, March 2014. 232 p. ill. ISBN 9781848220997 (cl.), $60.00.
Reviewed September 2014
Courtney Baron, Visual Resources Curator, Lamar Dodd School of Art, University of Georgia, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Art Collector's Handbook: A Guide to Collection Management and Care is positioned to become the authoritative source on the management and care of art collections. Mary Rozell, Programme Director and full-time faculty in Art Business at Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York, identifies as an art historian and art lawyer. She draws on her extensive experience as a specialist in private art collection management and impressive pedigree as a legal advisor and shares her expertise in this book, along with advice from top experts in the industry. The result is a thoroughly-researched and well-presented guide to collecting and caring for art.
Rozell wrote this book as a response to the rapid expansion of the global art market in which new art collectors emerge every day. No matter their reason for collecting art, all collectors must be knowledgeable of the practical and financial aspects of art collecting and should possess the tools and information necessary to develop a solid plan for caring for their collection.
The book is organized into five parts, providing valuable information and a comprehensive overview of collection management for the twenty-first century art collector. Rozell first focuses on building a collection and knowing what to buy, from where, at what price. She also provides useful and relevant legal information. Once a collection is gathered, the author provides tools for establishing the scope and value of a collection through exploring inventory management, including collection management systems, and valuation versus appraisal. The most extensive section of the guide discusses the bread and butter of collection maintenance. Topics include purchasing insurance; shipping, storage, framing, and installation; and conservation, disaster planning, and caring for collections. The author also explores the public and private worth of collections, from sharing through museum exhibitions to investing in art. The guide follows its natural progression to conclude by outlining policies for deaccessioning items from a collection, the process of selling art, and estate planning.
This handbook would be especially appropriate for museum libraries, as it will be an essential resource for curators and registrars. Perhaps this book's greatest strength is its appeal to a wide audience; art historians and private collectors alike will find it both useful and approachable. The Art Collector's Handbook: A Guide to Collection Management and Care is recommended for all libraries seeking to expand their materials on managing and caring for art collections.