Detroit’s $4.6 Billion Art Collection Saved From Liquidation

The Detroit Insitute of Arts‘ collection has recently been valued at $4.6 Billion, a figure sure to get some rapper tongues wagging.

The collection, 60,000 works deep, has been assessed by NYC’s Artvest Partners— a well-known company that advises attorneys, dealers, insurers, collectors and other art world professionals— and was found to have a value between $2.8 and $4.6 billion. Initially, the worth of the collection was calculated by Christies, but was only given a monetary value of $900 million. This was primarily because the only works assessed by Christies were those acquired with funds from the City of Detroit over the course of the museum’s history. Here’s how folks broke down the Christies’ analysis:

The Artvest report is a more comprehensive valuation of the DIA collection than last year’s city-commissioned report from Christie’s, which said that the 2,800 artworks at the museum bought directly with city funds had a market value of less than $900 million. Only the city-purchased artwork was considered by Christie’s because sale of those pieces would be less legally protected than art that was donated to the DIA or purchased with other funds. Christie’s did not consider the logistical or legal realities of trying to sell the art.

Artvest Partners was hired to do a subsequent analysis. They went through things with a fine toothed comb, taking into account Christies’ findings, but implementing different methods to properly estimate the value of the city’s overall collection:

In preparing the report, Plummer incorporated Christie’s previous estimates and used a similar methodology as the auction house to evaluate the rest of the collection, comparing works with similar works and making adjustments based on size, quality, historical significance, desirability, scarcity and other factors.

Artvest employed a number of consultant specialists who did supplemental research and viewed the works in person or through a high-resolution image. The company also relied on scores of current and historical art market financial reports and analyses, catalogs, newspapers and other sources.

What’s interesting about both reports is how they correlate. While Christies’ analysis came with a suggestion that the collection be auctioned off as debt collateral for the city, the Artvest report speaks out heavily against such a practice. Frankly because it would diminish the collections value reducing it to only $ 1.1 billion from the projected $ 4.6 billion. The Artvest evaluation, following Christies’ has been praised by city officials for its consideration of external factors:

A spokesman for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr told the Free Press that the conclusions of the Artvest report question the practicality of recent creditor demands to reconsider the value of the collection, with an eye to liquidation.

An interesting story and a win for the arts in a city that doesn’t need any more ill shit piled on top of their comeback efforts. Peace to the “D.”

[h/t HA, DFP]

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