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How to Get an Artwork Appraised during a Pandemic

While appraisals traditionally require in-person assessments, professionals have gotten creative during lockdown, finding safe and reliable ways to inspect artworks.

By Alina Cohen

Excerpt featuring Claire Marmion, Head of PURE Art Services, CEO and Founder of Haven Art Group

Haven Art Group CEO and founder Claire Marmion said she’s been surprised by how much of the business has seamlessly moved online. Her team can conduct site visits virtually, via Zoom, to explore a home and “map out all the exposures around a collection.”

Yet some types of appraisals specifically require on-site visits. In-person examinations are often a must if you want to secure a bank loan based on an artwork’s value, for example. According to Marmion, “in theory,” the Internal Revenue Service itself often requires on-site visits.

“In a claims scenario, it’s very difficult to respond and appraise without site verification,” she added. “You’re trying to figure out what artwork looked like before and after an event.” For insurance to pay out after a fire or other disaster, specialists must examine objects in person. In the case of estate appraisals, which can determine tax filing data, Marmion noted that assessments may be done virtually, with the assumption that qualified appraisers will follow up with an on-site visit at a later date.