Today’s New York Times announces a new venture, The Art Compliance Company, to provide investigative and research services to art as an asset:
The Art Compliance Company, begun by Marion Maneker, an editor and publisher who created the Art Market Monitor news service, and K2 Intelligence, a risk analysis and investigative company, will determine clear title on works, investigate their provenance and vet any prospective business partners, its owners say.
“The value of art is skyrocketing,” said Mr. Maneker, pointing out that the global market topped $58 billion in 2012. “You can’t treat this as a purchase on impulse.”
The pitfalls of a marketplace run in large part on trust are on display in the travails of Knoedler & Company. That gallery, one of the most venerable in the country, closed suddenly in November 2011 and is being sued by high-powered clients for selling dozens of fake paintings that were ostensibly by Modernist masters like Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell.
Mr. Maneker said buying art has become a more complex process. New, less well known-buyers are emerging from countries that were previously not major players in the market and lawyers can find vetting too expensive or time-consuming to do themselves. Some scholars, worried about being sued, have been pulling back from authenticating works.
“People in this industry could use a little more security,” said Jeremy Kroll of K2 Intelligence, which he operates with his father, Jules Kroll, formerly of Kroll Inc. K2 is a minority owner and is contributing its investigative resources to the new venture.
John R. Cahill, who represents one of the former Knoedler clients, said, “While there’s probably no complete panacea, given the increased criminal and quasi-criminal activity in the market, it’s good have to someone doing due diligence.”
“It will take some getting used to in the market,” he added, “because it’s a market that prizes discretion.”
Art Market Veterans Announce New Business Ventures (ArtsBeat/New York Times)