Curator On Demand

Art collection management

What can I do for you?

- Inventory of the art collection in accordance with international standards (e.g. for insurance or tax purposes)

- Consulting and execution in matters pertaining to conservation, storage and security

- Advice concerning damage claims and supervision of the execution of restoration

- Leading the process and overseeing appraisals

- Administration of loans to museums, registrar, courier services

- Organization of international transports

- Composing of texts for exhibitions, media, and marketing

- Publication of collection catalogues

- Curating of exhibitions

- Consultancy concerning changes of ownership and of inheritance



Contact

Rigistrasse 61

8006 Zürich

Switzerland

Phone +41 79 594 13 27

info@curator-on-demand.com


Flyer download English



References



«Myrtha is a terrific person to work with, professional and conscientious in the way she installed and maintained my work at Donald Hess’ James Turrell Museum. I highly recommend her as a curator.»

James Turrell, artist


«Over the years, I have worked with Myrtha Steiner on numerous projects and in a wide variety of situations. She has consistently shown an exemplary degree of professionalism, always dealing with things with the utmost promptness, and displaying the knowledge, curiosity and discretion that marks a world-class curator. I can recommend her without the slightest hesitation.»

Brendan Connell, writer and director of the John Connell Estate



Myrtha Steiner

Over the last twenty years I have worked for several art collections: as Academic Assistant at the Richard Paul Lohse Foundation, as Director of the Graphics Collection of the Museum of Gestaltung (Museum of Design) Zurich, for twelve years as Curator of the Hess Art Collection, which belongs to the Bernese entrepreneur Donald Hess, and for other private collectors. Earlier, I was active for seven years at the Schweizerisches Institut für Kunstwissenschaft (Swiss Institute for Art Research) (SIK-ISEA) in the Documentation Centre for Swiss Art.

These varied positions and additional engagements have provided me with a comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge in the approach to art: from academic surveys to the conception of exhibitions and publications, through the problems of storage, conservation and restoration, to the management of the respective art archives and the organisation of international loans and transport.

I am an artist and studied art history at the University of Zurich. This practical as well as academic education has regularly proven itself as an advantage in the handling of artwork/art works; many questions arise daily that require knowledge of materials and handling. At the same time, a broad knowledge of both art history and current events in the art world is necessary in order to be able to classify and appropriately evaluate the works in an art collection.

You can contact me at any time for a conversation/discussion without obligation.



Case studies

CASE 1

My art collection has been growing continuously over the years; it is necessary to put some works into storage.


How can I keep an overview of my collection?

How and where do I find the adequate art warehouse?

Which documentation and information about the pieces need to be kept?

What do I have to consider when storing pieces of art?


An inventory containing all the relevant documentation, data and images of the pieces, is the prerequisite to having the information available at all times. Several database systems that focus on art collections are commercially available. Myrtha Steiner supports the elucidation of requirements, the evaluation and the selection of the most suitable system, followed by the professional data research and comprehensive data entry. In this day and age it is of utmost importance to save all documents concerning the purchase, ownership and provenience of the piece of art to preclude difficulties with taxes, inheritance or resale.

- In her function as the managing curator of the graphic collection of the Museum of Design in Zürich, Myrtha Steiner has selected and introduced the database, which was subsequently used for the scientific data collection of a plethora of objects of the collection. Moreover, the database was fully compatible with the needs of the three other collections of the museum and the school archive, which was over a century old.

Works of art can consist of many different materials. It is therefore essential to provide for adequate packaging and handling, climate control, security and surveillance.

- Myrtha Steiner’s activities in heterogeneous collections and archives, which included visual arts, photography, graphic design, books and applied arts, have always dealt with questions concerning the suitable storage. Her prudent inventory oversight and control have contributed greatly to the preservation of the objects.

- As an artist, Myrtha Steiner has acquired expert knowledge of artistic techniques and materials. This very practical background proves invaluable in many aspects of the day-to-day management of pieces of art.

- Myrtha Steiner’s network with art restorers helps her staying on top of new developments and know-how for the preservation of damages.




CASE 2

During a renovation in our house, a burst water pipe caused damage to several paintings and other works of art. I don’t have the time to deal with this. I need a specialist to take care of the claims and restoration.


In the event of damages, it is essential to act fast to avoid further irrecoverable deterioration of the object and to minimize loss of value.

- During the years of her activity as a curator, Myrtha Steiner was confronted with damages from time to time. Depending on the materials used, the size of the piece, the kind of damage, and the financial possibilities, Myrtha Steiner has reliably found the optimal solution for the restoration of the piece in question; in close cooperation with art insurance experts and restorers.




CASE 3

I inherited the art collection from my father, who unexpectedly died. Unfortunately, I have never shared the excitement and passion that my parents felt for this collection and have little knowledge about the art markets.


How do I treat this collection?

What costs do I have to expect?

Should I sell part of it, if yes, how?

Is it worth keeping the collection as a financial investment?

How do I value this collection?


Inheritances of art collections can render the heirs helpless, in particular if they are not active in the art markets themselves. In this difficult personal situation, when many things need to be taken care of, especially in the case of an unexpected accident, rarely do the heirs have the energy to deal with the time demanding issues of a relatively unknown collection. Furthermore, art collections reflect the character of the collector, which can rarely be moved to the next generation unchanged.

- Myrtha Steiner supports the heirs and helps them to ask the right questions, to develop options and research the required information to find the proper answers and the best solution for the future.

- In her position as the head curator of the Hess Art Collection, Myrtha Steiner is responsible for the annual valuation of the entire collection for insurance purposes. The volatile art market requires constant observation and scrutiny of the market and exchanges with her thorough network of experts.




CASE 4

A foreign museum has inquired to borrow two pieces from my collection for an exhibition;

I would like to do that. I need someone to organize the loan, negotiate the contracts and take care of the transport.


Even though there are standardized procedures, which regulate the competent execution of loans for exhibitions, there are pitfalls, which can be avoided by professional curators. Among them the assessment of the structural and safety conditions in the museum, the shipping documentation, the documentation for customs on export and import, the condition reports, the public and internal use of photographs and marketing material by the museum, clarification of copyrights and the kind of reference to the lender.

- Myrtha Steiner has been organizing and installing exhibitions in the three museums of the Hess Art Collection. She has been responsible for the loans of works of the collection to museums around the globe and subsequently has taken care of all issues involved in international transport of art. Thus, she collected invaluable experiences in connection with art-loans.