Fake art catches most of the news coverage, but inferior art is a more subtle accelerating problem.

Men/ Women are not machines, so their artistic output is not uniform, even amongst professional artists, resulting in superior art and inferior art.

What is the problem side to inferior art? Besides being a visual negative, it has a tax consequence. When the artist or the collector dies, a value for all personal property is determined by the appraiser, linked to the artist’s or collector’s date of death. Once the value of one’s real and personal property exceeds $3.5 million, a tax is levied on the value in excess of $3.5 million. To date in 2010 Congress has not identified the value barrier over which a tax will be applied.

Selling inferior art to realize funds when the economy is rocky is extremely problematic.

As citizens fashion second and third careers, as we tend to live longer and healthier, more of us are electing to become artists and/ or crafts people. As our skill sets grow, less successful attempts are parked on friends and family. This transitional art (on its way to becoming superior) then occupies walls in homes that would otherwise be populated by superior artworks. Worse, after viewing television programs where a seemingly innocent work of art is declared wildly valuable, unrealistic expectations for the value of artworks become more commonplace.

Enter, the art appraiser, who must then identify artworks as either superior or qualitatively challenged. The appraiser is quite smart if the assessment equates to beaucoup value or underskilled, if the pronouncement is negative.

Welcome to life in the appraiser lane and the negative consequences of the rapidly growing supply of inferior art worldwide.

Corinne Cain, ASA
Accredited Senior Appraiser
Personal Property/ Fine Arts as well as American Indian Arts