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Old 09-30-2017, 01:58 PM
webminister webminister is offline
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Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Hello Artists....

I'm not an artist but my daughter is. My reason for writing is that I recently found a sketchbook/scrapbook in my father-in-laws storage building. The building hasn't been touched in 25 years and I helped clean it out. What I found was an "antiques roadshow" quality collection of 40+ drawings and prints by from the 1920's through 1946. The work is amazing. By the way, the artist is not associated with our family. I have taken steps to research the artist with little results. Chances are that the artist is no longer living.

I've already shared some images with friends and they are ready to purchase reproductions for their personal enjoyment.

My questions...

Who owns the rights to this collection?

Can I keep frames copies or originals for my personal use?

Should I restore the works and have them appraised?

Do I have the right to sell the originals and reproductions

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Webminister
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Old 09-30-2017, 07:24 PM
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artbymdp artbymdp is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

You should contact a lawyer. If the artist is still alive, then the artist still owns the copyright. Depending upon the country, copyrights extend beyond the death of the artist and may also belong to the artist's estate.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:57 PM
webminister webminister is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Thanks

The artist would be 100+ years old if still living.. I've done some initial searching with no luck on finding relatives. The artwork has been in our possession for over 30 years. It's been quite a mystery... I've already had someone offer me $200 for a reprint/copy of one of the pieces. I've also found some WW! photographs too...Even the menu from the RMS passenger ship.

Any other responses?
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:44 AM
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Yorky Yorky is online now
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Are they signed and can you read the artist's name?

You can post a photo of the painting now using the yellow mountain icon above.

Doug
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:30 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

The copyright is actually the artist's life span plus 70 years in the USA and similar times in other countries. So if they died in 1980, the copyright is still held by their heirs or trustee if any until 2050.

If you determine to your satisfaction that you do legally own the art which to me seems highly probable, then you can sell any of it that you wish to but you cannot legally reproduce any of the art without written permission from the artist or their heirs / trustee until the copyright time frame expires. If you start making duplicates and the artist's heirs catch wind of it you can be liable for all kinds of monetary damages well beyond what you sold the prints for.

If the storage building was something people paid to keep their stuff in, then most likely the owner of the building would be able to claim ownership of whatever was left there after any storage contract had expired, but it would be best as others have said to consult an attorney. If they were "lost" there, then the outcome might be very different. Ethically I feel you have a responsibility to make an effort to try to find the artist's heirs regardless of the legal aspects.

Before paying attorney's fees I would probably take the artwork to a reputable gallery to get an idea what it might be worth and to see if they recognize the artist.
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Old 10-01-2017, 03:21 PM
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

If there is a name on it, potentially try to contact one of the relatives. Sometimes a relative might like something from someone in the past related to their family.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:52 PM
webminister webminister is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Thanks for the comments.....

The artist in question is Carol Winter (aka Carol Colbert, Carol Borrego and Carol Claar). I have another 'scrapbook' of Samuel Claar, who she married in 1948. It's an amazing WW2 relationship. The two scrapbooks pre-date their marriage, so it's been fun to learn about their lives. The artist was born in 1912.

I am doing everything I can to learn as much as possible about this artist and her life. We've had the artwork in our family for at least 40 years. The storage building was located on our property.

I'm attaching a photo of one of the amazing drawings and hopefully someone might recognize this work.

Let me know what y'all think... I wish that the antiques roadshow was in town..

TY
Webminister
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Old 10-02-2017, 03:46 PM
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Beautiful work.
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:46 PM
webminister webminister is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Yes it is!
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:05 PM
webminister webminister is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

The mystery has been solved... I just got off the phone with the artist's daughter. She is an artist too... Her name is Samantha Claar and she paints Gullah art in Georgia. Thanks for all the help!
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:27 PM
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

That's great. The kindest thing would be for you to return it to the family. But I wonder what it was doing in your father in law's storage unit. Could the artist have given it to him? Or did the artist leave it behind for some reason? Let us know if you find what the connection is. I'd love to see more pages from that book.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:41 PM
webminister webminister is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

I found that that Samantha actually lived in my town for a while and there was a relationship between my in-laws and their family... I don't know why we had it, but we did. The daughter will be picking it up in person soon... The artist was a romantic. This story could be a great LMN or Hallmark movie. Artist in the 1930's marries soldier coming home from Europe etc. The 40 other pieces in this collection are amazing. I'm thrilled to have the art returned to the family.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:34 PM
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Cindy Schnackel Cindy Schnackel is offline
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Re: Sketchbook found in storage building... what do with it?

Wow, what a fantastic story, I bet she'll be so happy to get these things back! Fun to see a piece of history. Perhaps the people who wanted reprints will get them from her now.
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