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The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) recommends that all collectors have a full understanding of their artwork and its value. The first step to becoming familiar with your collection is to learn about the artists and objects that are represented.
To learn about a specific artist, we recommend that you begin your search with general research texts such as The Grove Dictionary of Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) and artist monographs (a book about one artist, often a catalogue from a major retrospective exhibition). Both of these resources will include bibliographic information that will lead to other, and often more specific, publications about your artist. To learn about a work of art, the catalogue raisonné of the artist (a publication that attempts to list all works by one artist) is one of the most useful sources. For a less known artwork, try searching by the artist’s name or the title of the work in an index of art periodicals such as Art Index (New York: H.W. Wilson, 1929-). For all of these resources, please consult your local library.
After you know more about your collection, you may want to know about its value. Since ethical and legal reasons prevent CMA staff from appraising artworks, a professional appraiser is the best qualified person to help you determine the value of works of art in your collection. Please note that most appraisers will charge a fee for their service. Although museum policy prohibits CMA staff from making specific recommendations, we have compiled the following list of national organizations to help you locate a qualified professional appraiser.
Collectors, please note: if you make a gift of art to the CMA or another museum, you may be entitled to receive a charitable deduction for tax purposes. This may require a qualified appraisal, depending on the value of your donation. Please consult your tax advisor for information and guidance. Links to the IRS publication about charitable deductions are here and here.