An examination of the impact of records on the value of artworks

Date03 October 2008
Publication Date03 October 2008
AuthorLeena Fritzke
SubjectInformation & knowledge management
An examination of the impact of
records on the value of artworks
Leena Fritzke
European Central Bank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role and type of records required to support the
financial value of artworks and the importance of records for accountability. It looks at the impact of
records of provenance, authenticity and investment value and it identifies the impact of the presence,
absence and quality of supporting records on the value of an artwork.
Design/methodology/approach – Assessing records and their impact on the value of artworks
involves investigating whether an artwork without records of authenticity, provenance and
investment has the same value as one with such records. It also involves examining how records that
provide evidence of an artwork’s financial value (prices, auctions, transactions, condition reports, etc.)
affect the value of the artwork. What is the impact of records on the value of an artwork? Research was
conducted starting with a review of the literature and a small survey of experts.
Findings – The results suggest that art records are increasingly important with regard to ownership
disputes, insurance claims, accountability for public spending, risk reduction and investment value.
Records of provenance, investment and authenticity clearly support the value of artworks, yet the
research highlighted a lack of awareness amongst experts about the importance of authenticity.
Higher standards, record-keeping, regular reviews of the artwork and the market and continuous
improvements are required to maintain accountability and the value of a collection. Recommendations
include regular updates of records, the keeping of records on rights, proof of ownership and long-term
Practical implications – Further research would be required to clarify whether comparison
methods are adequate for the price formation of artworks, to ascertain which records would be
required and to establish recognised standards for the content of records. The findings raised
awareness of the need for information on the creation of artworks.
Originality/value – The paper concludes by emphasising that it is essential to obtain records for a
collection and to keep them secure and updated. It proposes that good record-keeping reduces risks,
improves transparency, supports the value attained and increases in importance as the financial value
of art climbs. Many sources and types of record are necessary to support the value of an artwork,
especially records of provenance, investment value and authenticity. An artwork with quality records
in these categories has higher financial value.
Keywords Records management,Arts, Market value, Investments
Paper type Research paper
What is the impact of records on the financial value of an artwork? This question
touches on art investment, provenance and accountability for artworks in an art
collection. The presence or absence of records and their quality and authenticity have
an impact on the financial value of an artwork, supporting the value of artworks and
the accountability of an art collection.
It has long been acknowledged that documentation and records on artwo rks
significantly influence the value of artworks, as they provide evidence of authorship,
provenance, value, ownership, etc. In recent years the art market has been faced with
doubts and court cases related to ownership disputes over artworks, as a result of
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Value of
Records Management Journal
Vol. 18 No. 3, 2008
pp. 221-235
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/09565690810916465

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