VASTARI is an online platform which connects private collectors with museums, in order to facilitate loans and make art in private collections more accessible to the public. It launched in January 2013 and wants to simplify the art lending process through a simple and secure website which opens up a whole new world of possibilities for museum exhibitions.

Artspotter met Vastari founder, Bernadine Bröcker, to find out more about their project, the team behind it and its relevance in the current art world.

Bernadine, you are the founder of Vastari. What was your training, and what made you realise there was a need for this project?

I started my professional life as an artist at a small art school called Altos de Chavón in the Dominican Republic. It was a training that has stayed with me the rest of my life, immersing myself completely in the world of colour, composition, line and an appreciation of beauty I could have never learned in a city.

My journey took many turns since then, both in New York and London, but it was while I was managing a Mayfair gallery that I realised that there was a need for a project like Vastari. We were working with distinguished collectors of Modern and Impressionist art who were constantly missing opportunities to share their works at museum exhibitions. There was just no way – anywhere in the world – for a collector to initiate communication.

That fact made me sit down and write a business plan.

Give us a bit of background on how museum loans from private collectors function – who are the facilitators, what are the mutual interests – make us understand how this works.

At the moment, research is completely one-sided. Curators decide on a subject for a show years in advance, the museum has to spend a very long amount of time finding pieces that work for the theme. If the curator wished to contact private collectors, they would resort to communication through third parties such as auction houses. Consequently, curators borrow art, artefacts and antiques from other public institutions, as they are well documented and more accessible, even if a more relevant piece exists in private hands.

The process benefits both the borrower and the lender: the museum benefits from exhibiting works that may not have been seen by the public before while the collector’s items benefit the value-add of showing a work within a prestigious institution.

Vastari is about to publish an article on the top things that you should look out for when lending a work for museums, so check back on our website if you have any questions or concerns, or get in touch with our team!

What does Vastari change in this process, and how does your intervention work?

Vastari acts as a non-partisan introducer online.