Artists Trust to Sell Half of Holdings

The Artist Pension Trust, the largest contemporary art collection in the world, with over 10,000 works by 1,600 artists from 75 different countries and worth an estimated 100 million dollars plus, is seeking to sell about 5,000 works starting this autumn.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network see this as a great opportunity to acquire some important emerging artists.

Based out of Brooklyn, the Trust is opening half of its holdings to sales. APT is a cross between an art fund and a 401(k) for artists who donate their work in the hopes that future gains will provide retirement savings (presumably with similar tax benefits.) The works will be offered privately, not at auction, which raises the question of whether the artists—individually and collectively—will see the greatest benefit.

Artist member, Adam Cvijanovic (whose work from APT is pictured above), has recently had a similar work sell at auction for $40,000.

The collection began 10 years ago when artists were invited to donate works to the Trust as a form of pension investment.

No sales have been made to date, but the terms have always been that 40 per cent will go the artist, 32 per cent into a general pool for all the other artists, and the remainder will go towards managing the trust and the artworks in its care.

With the contemporary art market seemingly booming then, as it is now, there was an inescapable rationale to the scheme.

“I thought it was worth a punt,” says Simon Patterson, a former Turner Prize nominee, who gave several works to the Trust early on. However, not all artists by any means are benefitting from the boom; only the chosen few we tend to see in the auction rooms.

The Trust, therefore, is being selective about what it releases for sale, and certainly nothing will be auctioned.

“We are hoping to place works privately with institutions through our team of curators,” say Moti Shniberg, a co-founder of the Trust. “Otherwise, interested buyers can contact us. The works are all listed on the Trust’s website.”

With funds from the sales, Shniberg is intending to support a newly introduced Global Art Trust which is adding another 600 artists to its books, and the creation of a non-profit APT Institute for educational and curatorial purposes.

Fund History

APT is the first investment opportunity created specifically to provide emerging and mid-career artists with a long-term financial planning program.

Established in 2004, APT has eight trusts, comprised of up to 250 artists each, totaling approximately 1500 global artists from the world’s major art centers. Each APT is a sum of individual collections within one larger collection.

Artists selected for participation invest their own works of art towards an accumulation of 20 artworks over the investment period. These artworks, by each artist then create a representative collection of that artist's career spanning 20 years. APT is the custodial party and retains the exclusive option to sell the artwork within the option period.

APT’s curators review and select artists for participation in the program. APT's selection process consists of 10 Head Curators with extensive experience, who are highly regarded in the field of contemporary art.

Following the invitation to participate in the program, the artist, and APT sign an Artist Participation Agreement. Within the first month and annually thereafter, the artist is required to propose artworks for consideration to be included in the APT Collection.

The business model is a plan that pays out cash disbursements from the mutually invested interests (artworks) from all the participating artists upon the first sale and then extends over a 30-40 year period.