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Collection Questions, Chicago Gallery News

January 7, 2013

Advice from Experts

In CGN’s new series about collection management, we will hear from a range of art experts about topics like estate planning, art insurance, conservation and more.   For this debut edition, Rebecca Korach Woan, founder of Chartwell Insurance Services, addresses collection cataloging systems and reasons why collectors need them.

Collectors need to be organized for a variety of reasons.  Anything from a natural disaster scenario to a routine estate assessment will require that you have access to detailed information about the art in your home.   Rebecca Woan, founder of Chartwell Insurance Services, ( works with high net-worth clients, but her advice for keeping tabs on your artwork and for making regular updates trhoughout the year is a helpful habit for collectors of any level.  If you are organized from the get-go, updating your database will never seem overwhelming, it won’t get put-off until too late or you are unprepared.   You will better enjoy the pursuits of your passion and ensure your collection’s future for many years.

Some programs are relatively simple database projects, while others go beyond organization and are meant to be used by curators.  Many are web-based and allow specific customization options.  Some help you keep notes while attending art fairs or visiting galleries.  There are also guides to art world lingo, networking and custom slideshow or PDF options.

The following programs, recommended by Forbes Collector, will help you whether you are just getting started or if your collection is worthy of sophisticated curation.

Note:  Woan says it is important to receive quarterly backups from whomever is maintaining the collection in order to avoid losing contact with the collection manager and potentially your valuable data.

Chartwell Insurance Services does not accept referral fees if software is purchased from any listed vendors.


Published in the January-April 2013 issue of Chicago Gallery News.  Not to be reproduced without permission.       312-649-0064