Year in Review - 2021
2021 Year in Review
The most important highlight to report is that our entire family has managed the year in good health. Ranging in ages from 94 to 3, everyone is well. We continue to wish our readers good health.
If you are followers of art businesses elsewhere in Canada, the USA, the UK or Western Europe, ones which have developed a presence in cyberspace comparable to ours it will not surprise you to read that in terms of business activity 2020 - 2021 was as strong as any previous year. “Everything changed, but nothing changed” is how we put it. Over this past year we have transacted the largest number of works we have ever sold.
The Montship Collection was a real treat to represent in its sale. Our original gallery, Walter Klinkhoff Gallery developed most of it. And now, with the evolution of Montship, it was an honour to work with these pictures in their next transition. The collection sold out in its entirety. And the Distinguished Montreal Family which offered its collection through us in anonymity included works of art of the highest quality. John Lyman’s “The Hammock under the Tree” of 1912, which is available for your astute purchase as of this writing, is an exquisite example of the calibre of fine art from that collection. We are grateful for the confidence buyers and sellers from across Canada and elsewhere have expressed in our gallery. Yes, it does sometimes take a bit of patience to marry outstanding pictures with their next stewards. In that regard we congratulate the Mitzi and Mel Dobrin family and to the new owners of what must be the definitive Frank Johnston, a majestic painting, just sold and soon to go on a museum tour. We have a number of highlights in images we have sold this past year, some of which we are featuring in this brochure.
The impact of Covid-19 on our business and fine art galleries like it both during lockdowns and beyond has been contingent on how well equipped we were to share our inventory with potential clients and how well we could serve the demands of clients both buyers and sellers remotely with the front doors of both physical galleries shuttered. Thanks to years of investment, our galleries remained 'open' 24/7/365 at Klinkhoff.ca, not only with images of the art work, framed too, the reverse of the paintings as well, simulation of the framed artworks on a wall, a presentation unequalled by few in Canada, and, extraordinarily with prices posted while the works were still available for purchase. This transparency of price among Canadian galleries selling “classics” is unusual and welcomed by all.
We don’t want to minimize the turmoil, confusion, personal and emotional hardships many of us/you suffered, even the loss of loved ones. That was devastating. After only a relatively brief period after the onset of Covid-19, spurned on by your increase in leisure time and confined to your home, your increase in wealth and financial confidence watching markets stabilize, and in part due to sheer necessity, you and we all became increasingly comfortable shopping online. The availability to view our entire art galleries online at Klinkhoff.ca offered easy accessibility to art collectors.
Before the pandemic, most of you, our clients, weren’t physically coming in anyway. You live in Yellowknife, Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria, Mississaugua, Halifax, in the USA, a smattering of you in the UK, Western Europe, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere. Even those of you living in Forest Hill, Ontario and Westmount, Quebec, close to our storefront galleries, you tend to visit us online, at least prior to coming to the gallery.
During the lockdown the foot traffic we received daily was numerically pretty much the same as before the pandemic. However, instead of visits from clients, it was Transport Fero, Art Solution, FedEx, Loomis, Canada Post, and Trans Art. The galleries locked, our entire inventory of paintings for sale was available online at Klinkhoff.ca, and with their prices posted. Our gallery telephone lines were connected to cell phones. We didn’t miss a phone call and emails were monitored and responded to as per normal, now however, from our homes.
You too were working from home. We were all confined strictly to our houses, looking at our walls more than ever before. Beyond work, there were few pleasurable distractions. No opera, no ballet, no hockey, basketball or football, baseball. You couldn’t travel to Aspen, St. Moritz, or even to Florida. You had a library of good books, and your computer which, if you weren’t particularly computer literate prior to March 2020, you learned quickly even to visit with the children or grandchildren. And grocery shopping, something you never previously would have entrusted to a third party, you now ordered online and had delivered to your door. NetFlix and Crave became part of your routine to provide relief from the daily death count.
There is a well known saying in our world, “Collectors collect”. With the development of Klinkhoff.ca we gave collectors everywhere the opportunity to visit us anytime at their leisure with the confidence that we are offering a selection of works of art of “quality”, in proper restorative condition and available for their immediate purchase at a fair price.
Our site was developed with 3 objectives in mind. The primary objective of klinkhoff.ca is to show the artwork we have available to the largest audience possible, allowing them to visit our gallery at their leisure and engage with us directly when it suits them, maybe only when they see something of interest to them to purchase.
Secondly, our site is intended to stimulate sales not only from us but to stimulate sales to us. Showcasing quality “classic” works of art, we cultivate inquiries on both sides of the buy/sell equation. All businesses need new clients. Since we sell old paintings, recycling as it were, each work sold leaves us with only money. The sold work needs a replacement with another work to sell. We are always looking to attract new sellers who have fine works to offer either through or to us. So, for instance, if a potential seller sees on our site that we are actively selling works or art by Suzor Coté he/she may think of us as an appropriate business to consult to sell his/her Suzors.
The third objective of our site has been to pave that all important “Trust Path”, one that is invaluable to both buyers and sellers to encourage them to open a dialogue with us and either purchase from us or sell through or to us. It has been our intention to show prospective purchasers and sellers that they can work with us with the confidence that they are being dealt with honourably, properly and with the highest degree of professionalism and integrity. The transparency we offer in showing the prices we are asking for works available support those claims.
The cycle of the life of stewardship of a work of art remains unchanged. Families consulted with us making estate plans, the children electing to keep some, while others were consigned to us to be sold. We had some representatives of Estates contact us to manage the sales of fine art for the estates. Some collectors downsized to smaller properties and sold works of art that were not going to fit in their new homes. We represented numerous collectors who simply wanted to sell some works or art, and take the money to buy others. They changed their living spaces and at the same time changed their art to create a different feeling. Admittedly there were one or two divorces that elected to use artwork to create liquidity in dividing assets.
Now, late in December as we draft this, some 23 months after the nightmare originally began, website visits, phone calls and emails inquiries from both potential buyers and sellers continue unabated. Clients from out of town have been on the road again, some for business and others for pleasure, putting us on their itinerary for an in person visit when in either Montreal or Toronto. “Locals” in both centres where our galleries are physically located have been coming by to say hello again. Some clients have extended generous lunch invitations even for indoor dining. We have resumed some travel for business and have enjoyed in-home appointments with friends and clients again.
Now, again, uncertainty looms large as to whether or not we can continue this well deserved liberty. We have postponed a tour to visit friends in Alberta and BC and will reschedule as soon as we can assume an opportunity for safe travel. Despite whatever restrictions are imposed to ensure good health, we emphasize our ability at Alan Klinkhoff Gallery to serve buyers and sellers of important fine art to the highest degree of professionalism. For sellers of important fine art, our fixed price selling platform avoids the obvious financial risks of selling in a different format and especially in unpredictable markets like today when moods change almost daily. For buyers of important fine art, at Alan Klinkhoff Gallery one has the assurance of a fine selection of works of art of quality and available at fair market values.