Spring 2024

Capture Your Own Art History

Closeup on modern DSLR camera in hand of modern female interior photographer at home.

Do your children know about the art in your house? Could they name the artists? Are they aware of their approximate value? Do they know where you purchased it and when?

Part of a thorough estate plan is having information like this recorded before it is needed. Cochran Arts was recently hired to catalog the home of a collector. As we walked through the rooms building a digital database that paired an image of each piece with its identifying information, the husband told us stories about each one, which we also added to the descriptions. He recently passed away and his daughter wrote to thank us for the work we had done. Not only did his children greatly appreciate the cost basis and valuation information as they resolve the estate, but they also loved learning more about their father in the personal history of the pieces.

Art Biennials Take Center Stage in 2024
VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 15, 2017: Biennale arte, art biennial exhibition entrance witn people in a sunny day in Venice
Art Biennials are a bellwether of contemporary art practices. Organized by host cities, these large-scale exhibitions select a different curatorial team for each iteration. This group is responsible for selecting a theme or trend that they see happening in the world around them and pulling together artists from all reaches of the globe who are exploring those ideas. They are known for introducing the important talents of the future and, as non-selling exhibitions, they provide an important counterpoint to art fairs, which have a clear commercial interest. This year will see a number of important Biennials open around the globe. Among them are:

Sydney Biennale, March 9 – June 10, 2024
Whitney Biennial 2024, New York, March 20- undecided
Venice Biennale 2024, April 20 - November 24, 2024
Dak’art: Contemporary African Biennale, Senegal, May 16 – June 16, 2024
Manifesta 15, Barcelona, September 8 – November 24, 2024
18th Istanbul Biennial, September 14 – November 17, 2024
17th Lyon Biennale, September 21, 2024 – January 5, 2025
Prospect.6: New Orleans, November 2024-Spring 2025

these architectural house museums?
  • Glass House, New Canaan, CT
  • Farnsworth House, Plano, IL
  • Saarinen House, Bloomfield Hills, MI
  • Falling Water, Mill Run, PA
  • Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Eames House, Pacific Palisades, Ca
  • Schindler House, West Hollywood, CA

Winter 2024

2024 Looks to be a Buyer's Market

After the boom years of 2021 and 2022, the art market experienced a contraction in 2023 and experts agree the trend will continue into this year. As this change has taken place, the market has shifted from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. If you’re looking to grow your collection, now is a good time.

Last year, Cochran Arts worked with a number of clients to expand their collections. Some traveled with us to Dallas, New York, Paris, or Miami, where we visited private collections, museums, galleries, and art fairs. Others we collected ideas for on our journeys and sent lists of artists we think they should consider. Still others found artists on their own travels and sent us names to research and discuss. Whatever your style of collecting, Cochran Arts strives to find the right work for every client – and enjoy the journey.

Year End Auction Figures Are In
The most transparent reflection of the art market comes through auction house figures. ArtTactic recently released their 2023 findings, and as expected, global auction sales of Contemporary art at the three major houses — Sotheby’s, Christies, and Phillips — were down 17%.

But a closer look shows that the change came primarily in at the high-end sector (lots at $10 million and above), which experienced a 30% decline. The middle market remained strong while the lower market, or works valued under $50,000 made the greatest advancement, with an 18% increase in lots sold and a 7.4% increase in lot values. The middle market is where auction houses make their bread and butter, so watch for in increased focus (and opportunity) in this area in 2024.

these art-focused hotels around the world
  • The Dolder Grand, Zurich
  • Benesse House Museum, Naoshima
  • The Beaumont, London
  • Hotel Éclat, Beijing
  • Minos Art Hotel, Crete
  • Le Royal Monceau- Raffles Paris
  • The Silo, Cape Town

Fall 2023


The proliferation of charity auctions, online bidding forums, and art fairs has sped up the acquisition process. These events make it easy for anyone to walk in (or view online), find something that they like, and make a purchase. Unfortunately, this impulse buying sometimes results in people waking up the next day and wondering what on earth they just purchased.

Cochran Arts believes that patience often rewards the collector. We visit art fairs and preview auctions with our clients but mainly to identify artists of interest. Then Cochran Arts conducts extensive research to assess the artist’s market, comparable pricing, available works across all of the artists galleries, as well as on the secondary market. We may follow an artist for two or three years before we identify the perfect piece at the right price, but when we do, our clients know it is a piece they will truly treasure.

Art Basel and Frieze Go Head to Head

Consolidation in the art fair market continues as Frieze recently announced it has acquired The Armory Show and Expo Chicago. This adds to their existing portfolio of Frieze London and Frieze Masters (which run concurrently), Frieze LA, Frieze New York, and Frieze Seoul. The goal, it seems, is to go head to head with Art Basel, which in addition to the original fair in Switzerland, runs similar events in Miami, Hong Kong and Paris.

As these two square off, deep questions are forming as to whether the ecosystem that supports the fairs can keep pace. One colleague recently told me that her gallery participates in fourteen art fairs a year, more than one a month. For each, their costs include a rental fee for the booth, shipping and installation of the artwork, transportation and accommodation for staff as well as entertaining clients. Similar pressure is applied to their stable of artists, who are continually asked to pump out work to fill the booths. Collectors eventually bear the brunt of the expenses with their purchases, but as people return to pre-Covid spending and activities, the number of regulars on the circuit is thinning.

Only time will tell whether the galleries, artists and collectors can keep pace with the international calendar of events set by these two giants, not to mention the proliferation of regional fairs that also exist, or whether art fair fatigue will set in.

If you're traveling this fall, take a minute to check out these fabulous solo exhibitions:
  • Ed Ruscha: Now/Then at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Sept. 10 - Jan. 13, 2024
  • Marina Abramaović at the Royal Academy, London Sept. 23 - Jan. 1, 2024
  • Mark Rothko at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, Oct.18 - April 12, 2024
  • Mickalene Thomas/Portrait of an Unlikely Space at the Yale University Art Gallery, Sept. 8 - Jan. 7, 2024
  • Adam Pendelton: To Divide By at the Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, Sept. 22 - Jan. 15, 2024

Summer 2023


Your personal collections deserve the tight ream. Private wealth advisors and high net worth insurance brokers often collaborate to conduct risk assessments and implement strategies to protect their client's assets. To do this, however, they often need the help of a third expert who understands the nuances of your collection.

Cochran Arts was recently brought in by a financial advisor and an insurance broker to catalog their mutual clients’ art collection. We selected a collections database versatile enough to include their fine art as well as furniture, jewelry, cars, and wine across multiple homes. The cloud-based system includes images, locations, appraisal valuations and identifying information on each piece, which the clients can easily share with their financial and insurance team members, facilitating an effective collaboration to protect their personal assets.


The May auctions are a bellwether heavily watched by those trying to gauge the art market. Over the course of two weeks, the three major houses - Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips - host a series of single owner and departmental sales of Impressionist, Modern, Contemporary and Emerging art. This year, almost 2 billion dollars of artwork changed hands, a strong number but still down from the jaw-dropping 2.5 billion the fall before. Almost every sale came in at the low range of the auction house's estimates, indicating more conservative buyers and a thinning of bidders willing to drive up prices. While there were some significant new records set by artists of color and female artists, the decline in results over past year indicates that the art market is finally succumbing to the uncertain climate that has affected the general economy.

these new museum buildings that have opened in 2023:
  • Buffalo AKG Art Museum, New York (designed by Shohei Shigematsu)
  • International African American Museum, Charleston (designed by Walter Hood)
  • Arkansas Museum of Fine Art, Little Rock (designed by Studio Gang)
  • National Portrait Gallery, London (renovated by Jamie Fobert Architects)

Spring 2023


Restoration impacts the value of an artwork. If the work is fairly new, restoration indicates some sort of damage and can diminish the value of the piece. However, if the work is older, wear and tear is to be expected. When restoration in these cases is well done, it can greatly enhance the value of the work of art.

Cochran Arts was recently contacted by a conservator to appraise a full-length portrait that he had worked on. The canvas had been folded over so it could fit into a beautiful but smaller frame. Once the restorer returned the work to its original size and touched up some areas of paint loss, the full beauty of the piece was exposed. Cochran Arts appraised the painting post-restoration and confirmed to the institution that it had appreciated significantly.


Each year, a number of organizations compile statistics on the art market. The Deloitte Art and Finance Report, The ArtTactic Global Art Market Outlook, and ArtPrice's The Art Market are wonderful resources but the one I find the most interesting is The Art Basel and UBS Art Market Report, compiled by Dr. Clare McAndrew. Released two weeks ago, it had some insightful findings into the continued shifts in the post-covid market:

  • Global sales were up 3% over the previous year, surpassing the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
  • Auction sales, which flourished during the early years of COVID, were down in 2022 but dealer sales were up as buyers returned to galleries and art fairs.
  • A closer look shows dealers with turnovers over $10 million saw the largest increase while smaller and mid-sized galleries have been hard hit by rising expenses and cost-conscious buyers.
  • The zero-COVID policy in China slowed their market but England rebounded into second place behind the US for global market share.
  • E-commerce was down for both auction houses and galleries as buyers returned to in-person shopping.
  • Sales of Art-Related NFT's declined 49% from the previous year's high, as the price of Etherium slumped and speculators exited the market.
these great movies about art forgeries...
  • There Are No Fakes (2020)
  • Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art (2020)
  • Real Fake: The Art, Life and Crimes of Elmyr de Hory (2017)
  • A Genuine Forger (2015)

Winter 2023

Moving Your Art? Make Sure Your Appraisals Are Up To Date

Damaged package. The elderly man at the table at home closed his eyes, broken goods. Postal delivery insurance

Did you know that over 60% of damage to artwork happens during shipping? Most insurance policies cover your work when it is being moved from one house to another or loaned to an exhibition, but only based on the scheduled value. If you’ve owned your art for a while and not had the work reappraised, you could be at risk.

Cochran Arts recently worked with a savvy couple who were moving overseas. Before they left, Cochran Arts completed a complimentary review of the work being shipped and provided updated appraisals for six pieces that had increased in value. This turned out to be critical, as one was damaged on route. With their updated values, the couple was reimbursed for the amount they were due.

Prepare for Picasso Mania
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31:  A Sotheby's employee poses with a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled 'Femme assise pres d' une fenetre,' 1932, on January 31, 2013 in London, England. The piece makes up a selection of works by artists including Monet, Miro, Picasso and Richter and is estimated to sell for between 25-35 Million GBP at auction in the 'Impressionist and Modern Art' evening sale at Sotheby's auction house on February 5, 2013.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

2023 is the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso's death and close to fifty museums around the globe have mounted exhibitions as part of Celebration Picasso 1973-2023. 

Among the highlights are:

Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds, Mint Museum, Charlotte (February 11 – May 21)
Picasso – The artist and his model, Fondation Beyeler, Basel (February 18 – May 1)
Forms and metamorphoses: the ceramic creation of Picasso, Magnelli Museum, Vallauris, France (May 6 – October 30)
Young Picasso in Paris, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (May 12 – August 7)
Picasso and Feminism, Brooklyn Museum, New York (June 2 – September 24)
Picasso – El Greco, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (June 21 – October 1)
Picasso in Fontainbleau, Museum of Modern Art, New York (October 1 – February 2)
Picasso. Draw to Infinity, Center Pompidou, Paris (October 18 – January 1)
Picasso 1906: The Turning Point, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia, Madrid (November 14 – March 4)

these artist's memoirs?
  • Modern Art Notes Podcast, hosted by Tyler Green
  • ArtTactic Podcast, produced by ArtTactic.com
  • The Art Angle, produced by Artnet News
  • The Art World: What If?, hosted by Allan Schwartzman and Charlotte Burns

Fall 2022

Man with beard hanging a painting on the wall at his living room
If you take a work of art and put it next to another work of art, the two begin to have a “conversation.” Sometimes you recognize the similarities in color or style, sometimes the differences in patterns or mark-making. When you introduce a third, the “conversation” might be totally different. By juxtaposing art in different ways, you introduce new ways of seeing.This was readily apparent when a collector recently hired Cochran Arts to rehang his private collection. Using a cutting-edge software program (and the help of a wonderful graphic designer), we took digital images of his art and placed them to-scale within virtual representations of his rooms. After three rounds of shuffling, during which we had dynamic and engaging exchanges as we explored different combinations, Cochran Arts oversaw the hanging of the final plan. While the works themselves never changed, they took on a different life amongst their new surroundings.

Los Angeles has always had a vibrant art scene, but it has traditionally been known for its strong museums, art schools and affordable studios rather than its commercial presence. That perception, however, is changing. In 2019, London-based Frieze launched an annual art fair on the lot of Paramount Pictures, which was accompanied by the more edgy Felix Art Fair. The Fairs’ continued commercial success has convinced a coterie of international and New York-based power galleries to reconsider the viability of Tinseltown. This year alone, Pace, David Zwirner, Sean Kelly, Marian Goodman, Lisson, Albertz Benda, Karma and Danzinger have or will open up new LA-based posts. Numerous theories have been proffered for this shift, including LA’s growing art collector base, proximity to collectors from East Asia, the expanding museum scene and, perhaps most of all, the fallout from the Wayfair Sales Tax Case. This verdict, which requires galleries who sell over a certain threshold to collect sales tax even if the work is being shipped out of state, has made traveling to New York to purchase art less appealing, paving the way for a new nexus on the west coast.
these artist's memoirs?
  • Sally Mann: (1996) Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs
  • Gordon Parks: (2000) Voices in the Mirror
  • Sophie Calle: (2002) True Stories
  • Ai Weiwei: (2009) 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

Summer 2022

Modern loft waiting area mainhall design with wooden texture in apartment or condominium 3d rendering
Most of us purchased the artwork we have in our homes, so we have some idea of its value. But what about the places where we work? Corporate and institutional collections were often assembled when a company was founded or moved to a new location. Over time, its value may have changed drastically.

Cochran Arts recently completed an appraisal of an institutional collection that held some very big surprises. After a complimentary review of their inventory, we identified a number of pieces that had significantly increased in value and performed an appraisal on those works. The clients were amazed to discover that art that was purchased 20-, 30-, and 40-years ago from younger, unknown artists was now worth multiples of their original cost. They used the information not only to update their insurance, but also help prioritize a rehang of the collection that they plan to execute in the near future.

Summer Exhibitions Abound
If you are traveling this summer, there are some special exhibitions that might be worth a detour. In Europe, two of the art world's most important survey shows are happening this year: the Venice Biennale in Italy and Documenta in Kassel, Germany. Or, if you're headed down to the mediterranean, you might want to check out Rasheed Johnson's work at Hauser and Wirth's gallery in Menorca, Spain and Jeff Koons's installation at the DESTE Foundation's space in Hydra, Greece. If you're staying closer to home, major New York galleries like Pace, Lisson, Halsey McKay and Eric Firestone will fête summer visitors with outposts in the Hamptons while Marianne Boesky returns to Aspen with a collaboration with Carpenter's Workshop Gallery.
these classic films about artists?
  • Basquiat (1996) This Indie film about the life of Jean-Michel Basquiat stars Jeffrey Wright and David Bowie plays Andy Warhol.
  • Pollock (2000) Ed Harris directed, stars and earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination in this depiction of the abstract expressionist painter.
  • Frida (2002) The film focuses on the life and career of Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek), including her tumultuous marriage to painter Diego Rivera (Alfred Molia).
  • Georgia O’Keefe (2009) Joan Allen plays O’Keefe and Jeremy Irons her husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, in this made-for-tv movie.

Spring 2022

Colleagues at business meeting in conference room
While art is widely recognized as an asset class, not many people consider it when thinking about their estate and tax planning. Understanding the fair market value of your artwork can be quite useful when considering a museum donation to offset taxable gains or when developing a strategy for equitable distribution.

Cochran Arts was recently asked to join an interdisciplinary team that consisted of a financial advisor, a lawyer, and an accountant to respond to the particular needs of a client. Their goal was to create a trust for their children that included artwork. We were asked to first create an Appraisal for Financial Planning Purposes, which assigned a fair market value to all the works in the collection. From there, the client selected the pieces they wanted to go into the trust, after which we created a separate Gift Tax Appraisal to submit to the IRS.

2021 Figures Are In
The 2022 Art Market Report, prepared by Dr. Clare McAndrew for UBS and Art Basel, was released last month. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Aggregate sales of art and antiques in 2021 was up by 29% from the year before reaching an estimated 65.1 billion, surpassing even the pre-pandemic levels of 2019
  • Post-War and Contemporary art was the largest sector of the fine art auction market with sales totaling 6.7 billion, up by 42% year-on-year
  • Sales of works in the Emerging Market, or those made in the last 20 years, reached 2.5 billion at auction, more than doubling value from 2020
  • In 2021, just over one third of High Net Worth collectors had spent over $1 million on art and antiques, up from 20% in 2020 and more than double the level in 2019
  • The online market, which experienced a marked rise in 2020, grew again in 2021 by 7% to reach an estimated 13.3 billion
  • Sales of art and collectable NFT's on the Ethereum, Flow and Ronin blockchains have grown from 4.6 million in 2019 to 11.1 billion in 2021
these dances performed in museum settings?

Winter 2022

"Santa Cruz, California, USA - April 1, 2012:  Framed prints at the Santa Cruz Flea Market with a woman visible in the background"
2021 sales figures for fine art are beginning to come in, and they are exceptional. Sotheby’s announced a record 7.3 billion in total sales, Christie’s saw a five year high with 7.1 billion, and Phillips had its most successful year with 1.2 billion. Both public auctions and private sales are included in their figures, which cover several different collecting areas, but Contemporary Art continues to drive the most activity and garner the biggest headlines.

This trend is expected to continue in 2022, so if you are considering selling, Cochran Arts can help value potential works and identify whether private sale or public auction is your best option. We recently worked with a collector to sell a group of 20th c. British prints at auction in London. We walked the collector through the process, helping to negotiate the terms and facilitate the overseas transportation of the work. All pieces sold at or above their presale estimates.

Art Fairs are back in 2022!
Gallery sales were equally strong in 2021, fueled in part by a bottlenecked fall season of regularly-scheduled and postponed art fairs. 2022 looks to return to a more even pace, although some fairs have taken advantage of the disruption to permanently change their dates. Here are a few highlights of this year’s schedule:

  • January 20-23 - Fog Art Fair, San Francisco
  • February 9-13 - Zona Maco, Mexico City
  • February 17-20 - Frieze, Los Angeles
  • February 23-27 - ARCO, Madrid
  • March 24-26 - Art Basel, Hong Kong
  • April 6-10 - SP-Arte, Sao Paulo
  • April 7-10 - Expo Chicago
  • April 21-24 - Dallas Art Fair
  • May 18-22 - Frieze, New York
  • May 20-22 - AIPAD Photography Show, New York
  • June 16-19 - Art Basel, Switzerland
  • September 8-11 - The Armory Show, New York
  • October (dates tbd) - Frieze, London
  • October 20-23 - FIAC, Paris
  • November 10-13 - Paris Photo
  • November 16-20 - Art Cologne
  • December 1-4 - Art Basel, Miami Beach
2021 included several groundbreaking retrospectives. If you missed the shows, you can still snuggle up this winter with these wonderful exhibition catalogs:
  • Alice Neel: People Come First (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
  • Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful (Columbus Museum and Chrysler Museum of Art)
  • Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror (Whitney Museum of American Art)
  • Joan Mitchell (SFMOMA and the Baltimore Museum of Art)