Auction of books – Sothebys 20/11/03

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  • #5777

    Site Admin
    Participant

    “witchcraft and the occult: selected books from the collection of the late Robert Lenkiewicz”

    Anybody planning to attend this auction? It's a long way outside my area of interest, but out of curiosity I just browsed the catalogue (http://search.sothebys.com/jsps/live/event/EventDetail.jsp?event_id=26407) and it looks like it could raise more than the artwork auction did.

    #6923

    pmslanning
    Participant

    I am intending to attend this auction. I agree that it will raise far more than the paintings sale. I think its such a sad loss of so many beautiful, and important,books which must have taken so many years of to build up to this fantastic library. The catalogue had me drooling like a child at Christmas!!

    Unfortunately I doubt I'll be able to afford to buy any, if its anything like the paintings sale with most items outstripping their reserve. I think this will be well attended and has a worldwide appeal so predict high prices. There's still a few weeks of lottery wins possible I guess!!

    #6924

    ricky
    Participant

    Its a crying shame that bits of Roberts library have to be sold. But I think this must be the last time because the £1,700,000 debt should nearly be paid off.

    The sale of paintngs in Sothebies raised over £750,000. Since Robert died there have been more than 2,000 copies of official prints sold and according to his website this will have raised over £700,000. The sale of these witchcraft and occult books will make 4-500,000 pounds or more. So the debt must nearly be paid even without any more prints in the stockpile Robert left for a rainy day.

    Robert wanted the people of his beloved Plymouth to have the paintings and library in a special museum so that any one could go there and see them for free. Its sad that any had to be sold but there will stillbe tons of stuff left over.

    #6925

    Site Admin
    Participant
    ricky wrote:
    Its a crying shame that bits of Roberts library have to be sold. But I think this must be the last time because the £1,700,000 debt should nearly be paid off.

    The sale of paintngs in Sothebies raised over £750,000. Since Robert died there have been more than 2,000 copies of official prints sold and according to his website this will have raised over £700,000. The sale of these witchcraft and occult books will make 4-500,000 pounds or more. So the debt must nearly be paid even without any more prints in the stockpile Robert left for a rainy day.
    I hope you are right, but I suspect that the estate's executors are probably still some way from settling the outstanding debts (have they even established the final extent of the debt?)

    Does anybody know whether Robert's debts continue to accrue interest charges, or does that stop upon death?

    Also, remember that the estate will only receive a percentage of the receipts from the Sotheby's auctions (buyer's premium alone accounts for 15% of the quoted figures, whilst there would normally be a cost to the seller (unless the executors managed to negotiate a very good deal)).

    Out of interest, where did you see the figure of 2000 prints being sold? Were these part of the estate?
    #6926

    ricky
    Participant

    I was just adding up the own-brand prints that are up on the official online shop http://www.robertlenkiewicz.co.uk. I never di this before but try adding up the prints that have sold-out to. Is my calculator playing up or what? What do you make it. How come this guy got into debt!!!!

    #6927

    Site Admin
    Participant
    ricky wrote:
    I was just adding up the own-brand prints that are up on the official online shop http://www.robertlenkiewicz.co.uk. I never di this before but try adding up the prints that have sold-out to. Is my calculator playing up or what? What do you make it. How come this guy got into debt!!!!
    Many of those prints were on sale (sold out, even) long before Robert's death..

    Also, bear in mind that only a percentage of the sale price is profit, so you can't just do 2000x£350=£700k 😉

    Another consideration is that we don't necessarily know who commissioned each of those prints. I can't speak for any of the Lenkiewicz prints, but it is not uncommon for the owner of an original painting to commission a limited edition print (either on their own or in collaboration with a gallery/publisher), and then pay the artist a 'signing fee' for putting their signature on the prints (I 'think' that the recent Fiorella print might be an example of this?). In this case, the artist might only receive a relatively small proportion of the total receipts for the print.

    But my knowledge in this area is pretty non-existent, so if anybody has more specific knowledge/experience???

    As for how Lenkiewicz built up such debts, I think that probably deserves a thread all of its own 😕 Anybody care to start things going 😛
    #6928

    tomtit
    Participant

    I was fortunate to attend the last project opening, that of Blind Tobit, a couple of years ago and was able to chat to Robert Lenkiewicz a bit that evening.

    I told him that I was interested in buying prints, and he said that the money from them was being used to help buy the buildings (including the studio) and to set up the Foundation for his books and paintings.

    From that I get the impression that the prints that were done before he died were not commissions but must have been used himself (but where the money could of gone I don't know).

    Perhaps the prints done after he died were commissions, I don't know. Perhaps Anna or Esther might be able to clarify things.

    #6929

    sartre
    Participant
    Dave Goodwin wrote:
    I can’t speak for any of the Lenkiewicz prints, but it is not uncommon for the owner of an original painting to commission a limited edition print (either on their own or in collaboration with a gallery/publisher), and then pay the artist a ‘signing fee’ for putting their signature on the prints (I ‘think’ that the recent Fiorella print might be an example of this?). In this case, the artist might only receive a relatively small proportion of the total receipts for the print.

    What's the legal position on this? Who has the right to the image? The owner of the artwork? Or the artist (or his executors, in the case of Lenkiewicz)?
    #6930

    Site Admin
    Participant
    sartre wrote:
    What’s the legal position on this? Who has the right to the image? The owner of the artwork? Or the artist (or his executors, in the case of Lenkiewicz)?
    My understanding is that an artist normally retains all rights to an image (copyright, reproduction rights, etc.), even if they sell the original. However, those rights can be transferred if the artist signs an agreement relinquishing them.

    I believe that copyright is passed to the artist's heir for a set period after their death (50/70 years?).

    Of course, the owner of an original might come to some mutually beneficial arrangement with the artist/heir over those reproduction rights (presumably Triton Galleries' release of the print of 'Self Portrait with Self Portrait at Ninety' is an example of this, as this was most definitely an 'unofficial' print).

    I would imagine that the cost of releasing a limited edition print is quite high, so some form of collaborative arrangement between the artist, the owner of an original, and a publishing house (such as Washington Green) might be the only way that a print could ever be produced. in this case, the artist might simply agree to a commission or set fee.
    #6931

    ricky
    Participant

    I was also told that buying a Fisher MAckenzie print meant you were helping to buy the studio/library building to be turned into a museum. Some other people I know were told this to and one was ballistic when he heard that the building was going to be lost.

    Thta's why he tried adding up all the prints that FM sold while Robert was alive. Its something like 9,000 copies (not including Washngton Green) and takings of over £2,000,000!!! How much was this bloody building? The BBC News site says that Fisher Mackenzie was set up by Robert and business partners in 1998 to take over the publication of his prints [from WG). So FM was Robert & Co. it wasn't the Lenkiewicz Foundation Charity. But what did Robert & co do with all the loot. He must have been getting the lions share from his own brand prints. I looked u p some lithography services on the web and found out that top quality lithographs cost no more than $15 a copy to make.

    Trying to find out who the Lenkiewicz Foundation is justs leads back to robertlenkiewicz.com - the official site that sells Fisher Mackenzie prints. Maybe the charity got a donation from Roberts prints but i think we should be told what fraction of the profits went into that fund. Another 3,000 copies of prints have been released since Robert died. One of them seems to be unofficial - Self-portrait at 90. I think Fiorella must be official because its on the website. Can't anyone tell us which prints help save Roberts collection and which are private sales?

    Buying Roberts prints was like buying a Lottery ticket. You knew that something at least was going to a good cause. Or was it? Can a member of the public get to see a charities records to find out where the money went?

    #6932

    Nick Hawkins
    Participant

    how can you call this unofficial it is obvious that this picture meant a lot to robert for him to let it feature in the book and also make a limited edition of it,and as for the fiorella print its great its selling out fast i think you will all agree we need to keep buying these prints and hopefully enable the foundation to prove to local councils etc that roberts work needs to be put on permanent display and show the public how talented he was

    #6933

    tomtit
    Participant

    My wife has been in Plymouth today and has come back this evening with the Herald newspaper, with an interview in it with Annie Hill Smith.

    In it she says 'I begged him (Robert Lenkiewicz) to allow us to do a couple of of limited edition prints which we could have sold to give the foundation some money to work with. .. I learned after his death that he'd got prints made which he sold to buy more books.'

    OK, this is really confusing. I thought, and was told by the man himself, that by buying prints you were helping the foundation to set up the museum to house his books and paintings.

    So it looks like in fact the foundation never got a penny!

    Ricky worked out that all the prints sold up until his death must amount to almost 2 million in sales. So the question must be what the hell happened to all this money? Did he really spend all that on books?

    Also, is Fisher Mackenzie then a part of Robert's estate? As he set it up with business associates in 1998, would it not also be like any of the rest of his estate? I wonder what is happening? Esther has said in another message on this site that Fisher Mackenzie is her and Anna, but what about Robert's share in this?

    #6934

    Site Admin
    Participant
    ricky wrote:
    Buying Roberts prints was like buying a Lottery ticket. You knew that something at least was going to a good cause. Or was it?
    I've learned that the 'Moi' and 'Fiorella' prints were being held as security by the largest claimant against Robert's estate, so by selling these prints and putting the money into his hands it dramatically reduces his financial claim against the estate, which hopefully mean that fewer paintings will need to be sold by the executor.

    So yes, each one of these prints sold has a direct effect upon keeping Robert's legacy together.
    #6935

    ricky
    Participant

    Like Anna was saying in the Herald interview? How did you find out wich prints she meant?

    #6936

    Site Admin
    Participant
    ricky wrote:
    Like Anna was saying in the Herald interview? How did you find out wich prints she meant?
    I had quite a long and interesting chat with Annie, Esther and Anna on Friday.

    If anybody has any questions about the operation and activities of the Foundaton, probably the best thing to do is contact them direct. At least this way you get the facts straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak :)) and avoid some of the misinformation that is in circulation. If you are local to Plymouth, Annie is in the gallery on the Barbican most days of the week, or you can telephone them on 01752 668266.
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