Head of Art and Cultural Property Law, Howard Kennedy FSI
How can we make sure we are not buying stolen art?
You can check with stolen or missing art databases like The Art Loss Register (UK/US).
How can we check the provenance of a piece of art?
Ask the seller or seller’s agent to provide as full a disclosure as possible for the history of ownership
of the artwork, from the date of creation to its current owner, including all public sales of the artwork. Be aware of any gaps in the provenance that might cause suspicion.
Is there anything we need to be aware of when shipping art to another country?
Yes, you should be aware of the export laws of the country where you are shipping the artwork from. There might be cultural property or heritage restrictions if the artwork or antique is old, is valuable and has been in the country for a long period of time. In the UK this is normally 50 years.
What’s the fastest way to lose money in the art world?
Buying fakes or misattributed artworks. This is a common problem. Speculating in the contemporary art market on certain artists can also be a problem.
Dr Xue Liqing
Director, ShanghART Gallery Singapore
What is a fair discount on a painting?
The discount that you can get depends on the negotiation. I would say that a 10 per cent or more discount may be possible if we are looking at a good common painting.However, I don’t think that there is such a thing as “a fair discount” on a great painting.A good painting’s price is expected to increase gradually over the years as it reflects both the quality and the demand of the painting. Therefore, you do not want to buy a painting that galleries are selling at a big discount.
If an artist is known for a typical type of painting and you’ve bought something of theirs in a different style—is this a good or a bad move?
It’s hard to tell. My opinion—keep observing the artist’s development, if the artist adopts multi-style, then just choose the one you like most out of all of his/her works. Sometimes it’s good to get a work
of the new series or new style if it looks like it is going to be a continuing style.
Should you avoid buying the paintings of an artist in fashion?
Depends on the buyer’s interests. For me, normally, I am not interested in paintings that are in fashion.
Q Framing and Conservation Conservator
How can we ensure our paintings are not affected by heat or mildew?
Heat and humidity can weaken paintings. It’s always a good idea to rotate the works rather than leave them permanently in the same space. Rotating works puts them under different environmental conditions. Look for where light shines into your house and casts shadows. When a shadow is cast across a painting, you will be left with a two-tone painting as it will be bleached by UV light. Heat also affects humidity too. Think about when you put your shoes in a cupboard after it’s rained and spores start to form. You should also monitor the room’s temperature, heat and humidity with a hydrometer and thermometer, or have an air conditioning system that is climatic to both temperature and humidity.
If you have a painting that’s damaged where can you take it in Singapore?
Take it to trained and professional conservators who can restore damaged work such as here at
Q Framing and Conservation. (www.qframing.com.sg)
How do you clean your artwork?
Artwork should not be cleaned unless you know what you are doing. Many instances people try using vacuum cleaners to clean the artwork, and the work can get sucked out of its canvas. Some use brushes to clean. Unless you understand the structure of the painting, best not to do the cleaning on your own. Bring it to the professionals.