May 24, 2024


Trailblazing music quality

Sales from the Artist’s Estate

Sales from the Artist's Estate

This is about resources for those needing to think about the disposal of
art from an Estate after the death of an artist and/or art collector.

Having lost my mother recently, I’m in that rather odd phase where you become
super sensitive to all mentions of death.

This morning it was the passing of Bill Turnbull – and the shock of realising
he was younger than me! 

Followed by looking at the Mall Galleries website to check the dates of an
exhibition – and noticing that the first thing I see is
a new section of their website about sales of art from Artists Estates

(It’s on the home page at the moment – but it’s unclear which section you
can find it in future as there are two possible options)

This appears to be publicising a feature/service that a small number of
deceased members of the societies which make up the Federation of British
Artists enjoy. It’s certainly NOT including artwork by every artist who has
died. Many of course will have made alternative arrangements. But there is a
selection of artists whose work continues to be available online.

It occurs to me there’s scope to make this into a more developed aspect of
the offerings by the Mall Galleries. 

  • Almost every exhibition I go to has news of between one and three artists
    who have died in the past year. 
  • This is in part because many of the members of the various artists which
    make up the nine national Art Societies which form the
    Federation of British Artists (FBA) which runs the Mall Galleries tend to be rather old.

It’s also a well known fact that many artists

  • tend to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to thinking about
    disposal of their art after their death
  • AND are not very good at making arrangements in advance for the disposal of
    their art after their death. Who should do it – and how it should be

It’s one thing to appoint Executors – as we all do – but many artists also need
a specific Executor appointed to handle their art.

I’ve been well aware of this issue of the Art Legacy for some time. Hence a
major section on my
Art Business Info for Artists
website which covers this topic

– of which more below…..

The Art Legacy | Art Business Info for Artists

The Art Legacy
section of my Art Business Info for Artists website can be found in the Money
& Tax section. It’s all about how to handle the disposal of art after

This section is about what an artist, an art collector – or their Executor
– needs to know regarding Estate Planning and the management of an Estate
including art BEFORE and AFTER the death of an artist or an art collector.

The Contents of this section include
SEVEN separate pages covering specific and relevant topics

  1. Estate Planning for Artists – practical aspects and tips for artists and those looking after
    their estates​
  2. Estate Planning for Art Collectors – A checklist of things to think about if you collect art​and
    want to be able to dispose of it in the best way possible – whatever that
    may be.
  3. Famous Artists Estates – Highlighting problems that have arisen with the estates of
    famous artists
  4. Artwork Inventory – Tips for cataloguing your artwork for your estate – and how
    to make life easier for your Artistic Executor
  5. After the Death of an Artist – What needs to happen after an artist dies PLUS some of the
    practical actions an Executor needs to take.
  6. Copyright and Resale Rights for Heirs – Copyright relating to original artwork is a valuable asset in an
    artist’s estate. You can derive income from it for a specific period of
    time after the death of an artist.
  7. Art and Inheritance Tax – When tax planning for an Estate, it’s very important to get
    professional advice. The links in this section are to websites which can
    help you to understand better what are the relevant issues and help you
    work out the questions you need answers to.​​

This website seeks to address these issues in time to avoid problems –
and provide information FOR FREE 
to those wanting more information about what they need to do and when is
the best time to do it.

“Dead artists leave two bodies: their own, and a body of work”
Harriet Schorr

The Art Legacy Section highlights issues before and after death


  • CHECKLIST of issues for artists to consider when planning the
    disposal of their estates
  • CHECKLIST of issues for art collectors to get to grips with
    prior to death
  • links to sources of helpful information and advice


Many of the difficulties that estates of famous artists have experienced are
essentially due to mistakes, omissions and poor estate planning before death

However, after death, there is a whole new challenge. Executors of artists’
estates may have little or no understanding of how the art world works. As
such they face major challenges both before and after death. 

Highlights include:

  • What do you need to know and do if you are an Executor who knows
    nothing about art?
  • How do you minimise challenges for those who have to deal with the
    Estate of an Artist or Art Collector?
  • What’s the best way of avoiding financial squabbles?

Too often these are issues which people find very difficult to deal with and
consequently they very avoid dealing with them – sometimes until it’s far too

What a great site. In-depth information on estate planning; the fact that
is aimed at artists and art collectors is very interesting and a targeted
area that I have not seen too readily before. Especially when investment
in art is becoming more common place, it is great that this has been so
informative to what might normally be quite confusing regarding asset
protection. A very good read.

One EXAMPLE: Estate Planning for Artists


Estate Planning for Artists
page covers:

  • Objectives of Estate Planning for Artists
  • Access to Artwork, Paperwork and Digital Files
  • Advice to Artists’ Executors and Trustees
  • Resources for Estate Planning for Artists – with specific references to
    the UK, USA and Australia
  • Examples of sample wills for artists

Plus links to some very useful books which are resources for those wanting
to start planning…