Artist Pension Trust to Sell Works for First Time

Forbes is reporting the Artist Pension Trust, a closed-end fund where artist contribute work to eventually be sold at auction and funds distributed to the participating artists plans its first sale. The sale, the first in the 13 year history of the fund hopes to raise an estimated $320,000 to $465,000 at sales in NYC and London through Sotheby's.

Forbes reports on the sale
The Artist Pension Trust, a unique closed-end art fund in which artists invest in their own work, is about to sell art at auction for the first time in its 13-year history, according to an article on Friday in the Financial Times. According to James Pickford’s article, APT will sell works by Bob and Roberta Smith, David Shrigley, Iv├ín Navarro and others with a combined estimated value of $319,600 to $464,200 at Sotheby’s in London and New York during March and April.

“We wanted to show the quality and variety of our collection – essentially to let the world know what we have,” said Al Brenner, the CEO of Mutual Art, which owns APT and who is quoted in the article.

APT has a mutual assurance model. Since 2004, APT’s curators have selected 2000 working artists to participate in a number of regional trusts and one global trust, who in turn, give the trusts 20 works of art over a period of around 20 years. APT now holds over 13,000 works and claims to have the world's largest contemporary art collection. When a trust sells individual artworks, the proceeds are disbursed to all the artists in the pool, with the artists that enjoy the most financial success supporting the ones who have less.

So APT’s decision to sell its first works at auction now into an uncertain market for all artists except the very biggest names is interesting, because it could have held public sales back in the boom years of 2011 to 2014, when global auction market sales were growing every year.

When I wrote about APT back in 2010, also for the Financial Times, it planned to start selling works from the trusts the following year. The then CEO of APT, Pamela Auchincloss, said that some artists were already becoming impatient to start receiving payments back then. “I think that some didn’t understand the program terribly well, and thought they’d immediately start getting disbursement checks,” she said.
Source: Forbes

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