Gifts of Art—Love AND Money

Posted by Barbara Yeager on May 30, 2018 7:30:00 AM

In the webinar “Charitable Planning with Art and Other Collectibles,” U.S. Trust’s Ramsay Slugg leads gift planners through the technical details. It’s important information to have on hand when you learn that a client or donor’s philanthropic goals could be accelerated by her valuable collection. What that collection means to her, and whether she really understands what it’s worth are part of the discovery process you’ll undertake as the gift is planned. This digest of facts and opinion offers starting points as you investigate an asset of passion.

Tiqui Atencio’s advice to young collectors: …[I]t is important that a collection is personal and should not follow fashion but should be the expression of a personal moment, a cultural moment, a social moment. There is a lot of education in the process. You go to museum, to fairs, to galleries. Education creates an eye. You have to ask questions, investigate, read.…[B]eing a collector also means collecting relationships in the art world and talking to people. This also includes speaking to the galleries and the specialists at auction houses. I would also say – and this is something that nearly all of the collectors…agreed on – you should not collect for investment, you should collect what you love. (source “Is Collecting a Heroic Commitment or a Crazy Sickness?”

Miami real estate developer Jorge Pérez on his first acquisition—a Joan Miró lithograph that cost $100: That first work opened up the world of collecting to me and helped me realize that art was a perfect way to explore and come to understand foreign cultures. Over time, my views evolved and I began to see art as a way to explore my own heritage. This desire to look inwards and explore my roots deeply impacted my interests as a collector and led me to focus primarily on artists from Cuba, Colombia, Argentina, and other Latin countries. The effects of that first lithograph can most definitely still be seen in my current personal and corporate collections. (source “7 Top Collectors Look Back on the Artworks That Got Them Hooked, From a Miró Print to a Warhol T-Shirt,”

A survey on the collecting behaviors of US-based high net worth individuals undertaken…as part of UBS quarterly Investor Watch, revealed that 35%, an estimated 1 million HNWIs, were active in the art and collectibles markets. 93% of those surveyed reported that they most often bought at prices less than $50,000 and 43% reported that buying through a gallery directly or at an art fair was their preferred channel. 73% felt that a passion for collecting art was an expression of their personality, while 63% were motivated to support arts and culture, with a higher rating for women (71%) than men (59%). There was a particularly strong motivation to support local and national artists and living artists. 86% of collectors surveyed reported that they had never sold a work from their collection, and while 73% of those surveyed had a professional financial advisor, relatively few used an art advisor (8%). (source News Release: The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, March 2018)

Typically, high-net-worth individuals and ultrahigh-net-worth individuals are told by their financial advisers not to spend more than 5 percent of their net worth on so-called investments of passion. (source “New Report Builds a Profile of the Elusive Art Collector,” 

…At some point, what starts out as a passion becomes a responsibility—both a financial one and a physical one. Some art simply needs to be taken care of, especially as it becomes more valuable. And a very valuable collection needs to be properly insured and properly maintained. Having a trusted advisor who knows you, knows your taste, and is committed to helping you in the long haul is invaluable. (source “The 8 Rules Every Art Collector Needs to Know,”

A separate UBS survey of HNWIs…found that “almost 40% could not estimate the value of their own collection and the majority had not discussed their collections with a financial advisor,” and that “the vast majority (81%) [was] planning to leave their collections to their heirs when they passed away.” (source “For Love Not Money,”


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Affluent art collectors are passionate about art. While they tend to expect their acquisitions to appreciate in value, they buy for personal and aesthetic reasons. Affluent art collectors are inclined to be extremely focused on acquiring and not very interested in disposing of art. This often means that at death they have amassed significant collections. What is surprisingly common is that many affluent art collectors do a substandard job of addressing their artwork in their estate plans. (source “Estate Planning And Affluent Art Collectors,” Russ Alan Prince,

Learn more about how art patrons view their collections and the artists they support in this installment of the video series The Art Market (in Four Parts).

Art is an asset of passion and a challenge to manage in estate and financial plans. So, like other complex assets, it can be an ideal option to fund a charitable gift. Ramsay Slugg helps you understand the challenges and opportunities so you'll be ready to help donors use their most cherished possessions to benefit their most cherished causes in his webinar tomorrow, May 31 at 1 p.m. EDT. 

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Topics: planned gift, Education, How-To Webinar