Sunday, February 23, 2014

Failure Coach XXVIII

Fine Art and Price/Value

It was a busy day at Rachel Davis Fine Arts, an auctioneer and appraiser of fine and decorative arts in Cleveland. Since 1991, Rachel Davis and Company conducted auctions, appraisals, consignments, and estate liquidations. The Valentine Collection was in safe hands for the moment but once the appraisal was completed it was not certain if they would offer the art at auction or not. Nana Valentine was, some thought, experiencing signs of dementia when the work was consigned to Rachel Davis Fine Arts. The auction house knew the paperwork was in order but also knew that an estate like this could be tied up in probate for months, if not years.

Alan was already making his way to Kansas City in his Cadillac Escalade when the auction house called him. He was not expecting a call from them. “Mr. Edgewater, I’m Ivy from the auction house of Rachel Davis Fine Arts in Cleveland. I’m calling to invite you to a private showing of select pieces from the Valentine Collection.” She went on to say the work was not currently for sale and that the showing was consistent with Victoria “Nana” Valentine’s wishes that the work would be viewed, photographed and catalogued on the anniversary of her 25 years of collecting.

“Why me?” said Alan. “I’m not a close friend really. I love art but I’m not a collector or buyer.”

“Maybe not, Mr. Edgewater, but you are among a short list provided by the most likely heir, Andrew Valentine and he especially indicated that he wanted you to be witness to our Anniversary Celebration in Cleveland. The work will be on view for just 10 days. Rachel Davis Fine Arts will do whatever we can to accommodate you. Your airfare and hotel will be paid for by the a grant made possible by the Valentine Family Arts Foundation.”

“Really? Well that seems too good to pass up.”

“Great. We’ll send you details on the event and travel arrangements via e-mail. Just follow instructions and we’ll see you in a few weeks.”     

Alan shook his head. He put one of his CDs into his player and listened to himself talking about embracing 
failure. He was listening for clues to pattern his next book. Negative Space talked a lot about artists and how artists used negative space. He was preparing in his head for this group in Kansas City who wanted to meet at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum auditorium. He wanted to test audience reception of some to the Negative Space material. Just a taste, as most of his presentation planned for the museum auditorium was already audience tested and approved. He thought it fortunate that the invitation to the Valentine private collection showing in Cleveland might make him seem even more hip to contemporary art than he might otherwise be able to lay claim.

He wondered if it made sense to hint around about the coming third book to the Walmart buyers in Bentonville. With two successful books under his belt, his publisher might be willing to package a three paperback book set together as a Walmart exclusive. He decided he better not bring it up as the publisher would want to calculate the economics of such a program before serving it up to the shrewd negotiating team in Bentonville. He knew he’d get an earful about pricing strategies and value when he picked up the publisher’s representative at the Bentonville Airport tomorrow afternoon. First things first he thought. Let's make sure this concept resonates with this audience in KC. After all an art museum is a perfect place to test drive Negative Space

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