Website matches museums curators with privately held art
A new online platform that matches museums curators with works in private hands has signed up 356 collectors and 101 museum, according to Bernadine Bröcker, managing director of Vastari.com. The site has established “successful connections for exhibitions for the next three years,” she says. Private collectors can upload details of their collections, while curators, museums and non-profit institutions can search the works and make contact with the collectors to arrange loans.
The site is currently free, but an annual subscription fee is due to be introduced next year. Members are vetted before joining and Bröcker stresses that ‘institutional members’ can approach collectors only for exhibition loans, not for sales. To prevent third parties from poaching works from private collections for the secondary market, the only members with access to the works on the system are approved museum professionals. Employees of auction houses, for example, can register as ‘private members’ and communicate with museums, but they will not have access to private collections.
Information about members is treated confidentially and collectors can remain anonymous at the start of a transaction. Curators are asked to report any suspicious works. Dealers can sign up as ‘professional collectors’ enabling them to see, for example, any ‘call for entries’ exhibition proposals, but they will not have access to the works of art.