Institute for Artists’ Estates launches in Berlin

The very first organisation in Europe advising on the management of artists’ estates has opened in Berlin this month.

The Institute for Artists’ Estates offers training and support to living artists, their heirs and anyone else tasked with managing an artist’s legacy. Services include consultancy and management, training and seminars for estate managers, a research archive and networking opportunities.

Co-founder, Dr Loretta Würtenberger, has said a major objective of the institute is to encourage artists to think about the posthumous preservation of their works:

“It may seem removed from the creative process, but we try to get artists to think of their estate as the last work of art they make.”

The creation of the institute was inspired by Dr Würtenberger’s personal experience of managing the estates of Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Keith Arnatt. When she began writing a book on the subject, Würtenberger discovered the paucity of academic research on the management of artists’ estates despite the surge in their number in the last 25 years.

She was struck by the idea of an institute to promote best practice and education in the area of estate management, to establish a professional support network for those involved in artists’ estates and to encourage artists to structure their legacies.

The newly-launched institute offers practical, expert advice on everything from staffing and budget, to the applicable legal and tax frameworks to authentication and archiving. A unique feature of the team is that each of its members, including Dr Würtenberger and co-founder Daniel Tümpel, is a descendant of an artist and/or is directly responsible for an artist’s estate.

With copyright licensing and forgeries currently presenting some of the biggest challenges for artists’ estates, it is hoped those responsible for them will turn to the institute as a centralised source of information and advice on how to manage them more creatively and effectively.

What are some of the complications facing artists’ estates? We take a look here.

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