Consulting Journal - A Fortuitous New Find for a Long-Term Client

Robert Motherwell,  Blue and White on Orange No. 1

Robert Motherwell, Blue and White on Orange No. 1

Recently, I received a notice about a private collection being offered for sale in New York. As I looked over images from the collection, several of the works reminded me of a particular client I had first worked with more than a decade ago. 

When I first met this client she was looking for one or two paintings for specific areas in her high-rise. Later, when she moved to a larger home, I helped her acquire several more pieces to fit her new space. That was a few years ago, but I had gotten to know her tastes and her existing collection quite well, and I identified a few pieces in the New York collection that I believed would be of interest to her, so I got in touch. 

Indeed, she did like the selections, and was particularly drawn to a vibrant Robert Motherwell work. After I performed my research on the piece and negotiated the price, I arranged a viewing in New York so my client and I could see the piece in person and complete the purchase. 

Building long-term relationships with clients is one of the things I love most about my work. In fact, most of my client relationships extend well beyond the initial transaction. As I get to know clients over time, I become acutely aware of their aesthetics, likes and dislikes. Then, even when I’m not actively looking on behalf of a particular client, I will automatically think of them when something that suits their taste crosses my desk. It’s as if I’m their eyes and ears in the art world.

Likewise, clients sometimes contact me again after a period of years. Perhaps they’re in the market for a new piece, or they might be ready to sell works from their collection, or simply need an appraisal. It’s always a pleasure to reconnect with clients, no matter how long it’s been, because developing relationships (consultant-client partnerships, really) is what it’s all about.

Visit to Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI features 158 acres of beautiful botanical gardens and one of the most comprehensive collections of modern and contemporary outdoor sculpture in the world. Definitely worth a visit!

MFAH Contemporary Patron Group Art Tour at The Lancaster

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What: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston toasts The Lancaster Hotel

Where: The Lancaster Hotel

PC Moment: The Contemporary@MFAH patron group works to highlight and expand the role of contemporary art at the MFAH, and the unique synergy between its mission statement and the newly restored and renovated “art palace” The Lancaster hotel in downtown Houston embodied its ideals.

Gathering at the historic Theater District location – The Lancaster is the city’s oldest operating hotel – Contemporary@MFAH members toured the hotel’s expansive and important collection filled with Texas artists. The hotel’s lobby, restaurant, halls, and rooms showcase choice Houston talents such as Mark Flood, Trenton Doyle Hancock, and Terrell James, alongside other Lone Star state faves, including Robert Rauschenberg and Luis Jiménez.

The intimate crowd took in The Lancaster’s trove of art while enjoying bites from the hotel’s recently re-imagined downtown dining destination, the restaurant Cultivated F+B. Artist and Lancaster visionary – the Dallas-based Jay Shinn, CEO of Magnolia Lodging, which owns and operates the hotel – alongside Alison de Lima Greene, the MFAH’s Isabel Brown Wilson Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and artists Margo Sawyer (in from Austin) and UH department of art professor Aaron Parazette (both proudly featured at the hotel) gave greetings and short remarks about the dynamic partnership between Contemporary@MFAH and The Lancaster’s informed curation of Texas works.

After toasts, guests enjoyed browsing The Lancaster’s collection featuring more than 100 Texas artists, which also includes works by Donald Judd, James Surls, Helen Altman, Ed Blackburn, Matt Kleberg, Tommy Fitzpatrick, and Donald Moffett (born in San Antonio).

PC Seen: Curator Clint Willour and Reid Mitchell; top collectors Jereann Chaney, Minnette Robinson, Leigh and Reggie Smith, and Dorene and Frank Herzog; gallerists Betty Moody, and Deborah Colton with husband William Colton; art consultant Elise Arnoult Miller; Polly and David Roth; Ann Jackson; Carol Fleming; Lesley and Gerald Bodzy; patrons Shirley Rose and Bettie Cartwright; and artist Chong-Ok Lee Matthews.

DIY Steps to Hanging Art

DIY-ers who want to hang artworks on their own at home can achieve professional results by following these steps. The less ambitious can save themselves the trouble by calling on AFAC for help. We can advise on art placement and bring professional installers.

Framing note: When having works framed, ask your framer to install two D-rings on the piece. No wire necessary. Check to be sure the two D-rings are equal distance from the top of the piece.

Tools: Pencil, tape measure, level (either a ruler with a level in it, or a laser level), art hanging hooks, hammer, Magic Rub eraser.

Step 1: Find the center point of the wall where you’d like to hang the piece, or if centering over furniture, the center point of the furniture. Mark this point with a pencil on the wall.

Step 2: Hold the piece in place at the desired height. No hard and fast rule here, but consider how the piece will be viewed—will the viewer be standing right next to it, looking at it from a distance, or mostly from a sitting position? Mark the bottom edge of the piece on the wall.

Step 3: On the back of the piece, measure the distance between the bottom edge and the top of one D-ring (where the hook will be). On the wall, measure up from the bottom edge mark this distance and mark it on the wall.

Step 4: Using a ruler with a level or a laser level. line up this mark with the center mark you made in step one. Move your mark as necessary to line up with the center mark vertically.

Step 5: On the piece, measure the distance between the two D-rings at the tops of the “D”s where the hooks will go, and divide by two. This is the distance you will measure on each side of your new center mark. Mark each distance on the wall. Using the level, adjust these marks as necessary so that the two hook marks line up with the center mark horizontally.

Step 6: Using special art-hanging hooks (see image above), hammer the hooks into place so that the bottom edges of the hooks line up with your marks. Be sure to use a hook in the appropriate size for the weight of the piece. They come in one, two and three-nail sizes.

Step 7: Erase your pencil marks with a Magic Rub eraser. Do not use the eraser on the end of a pencil. Hang your piece and check to be sure it is level.

Because the piece is now hanging from two points, it will never need straightening.

Private Collection Tour

I had the good fortune of meeting Houston collector Brad Boucher and touring his fascinating collection of contemporary art. Inside a building with a nondescript exterior is a wonderland of art, including installation, video, sculpture, kinetic works, paintings and works on paper—even a James Turrell light piece. Boucher has an admirable, thoughtful approach to collecting, focusing on works that are meaningful to him personally, which is evident in his ability to share a backstory for each piece.

Jasper Johns at the Menil Drawing Institute

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The opening of the much-anticipated and architecturally stunning Menil Drawing Institute included quite a party! It also brings a fantastic exhibition of drawings by Jasper Johns. The works are grouped by theme, instead of chronologically, allowing the viewer to follow the artist through a sometimes years-long exploration of a concept.

Kudos to Assistant Curator Kelly Montana, who has a palpable enthusiasm for the works paired with an intimate knowledge of each piece in the exhibit. The Condition of Being Here will continue through January 27th. If you have a chance to hear Montana speak, don’t hesitate.

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Arnoult Fine Art Consulting at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair

AFAC had a wonderful time exhibiting at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair—seeing friends and colleagues, meeting new collectors, and talking about art!

Texas Contemporary Art Fair VIP Kickoff

What:  VIP Kickoff for the 2018 Texas Contemporary Art Fair   Where:  BeDesign   PC Moment:  The glamorous interiors enclave BeDesign was the site of an intimate but chic cocktail kickoff for the  seventh installment of the Texas Contemporary Art Fair , which is proudly returning after Hurricane Harvey postponed the Fair a year ago.

What: VIP Kickoff for the 2018 Texas Contemporary Art Fair

Where: BeDesign

PC Moment: The glamorous interiors enclave BeDesign was the site of an intimate but chic cocktail kickoff for the seventh installment of the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, which is proudly returning after Hurricane Harvey postponed the Fair a year ago.

Co-owners Adrián Dueñas and Marcelo Saenz invited the art-savvy crowd for a toast to the Fair and to pick up their VIP pass cards.

BeDesign, in collaboration with Contour Interior Design, has created a smartly designed VIP Lounge for the Fair, which kicked off Thursday, October 4, at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Fair runs through Sunday, October 7.

Dueñas told PaperCity the VIP Lounge will offer retrospectives of some of the signature designers BeDesign represents, including Zanotta, B&B Italia and Molteni & C.

Find information about obtaining a VIP pass, which provides access to this curated lounge here.

Who: Fair director Kelly Freeman; Contour Interior Design’s Tanner Doggett and Elyse Krueger; Texas Contemporary’s event planner Matt Johns; Houston Symphony’s Liam Bonner with wife Meredith Bonner; exhibiting dealers including Galeria Moro’s Rodrigo Rosquete-Leonardi, in from Venezuela, Enrique Guerrero of Mexico City and Houston, and exhibiting consultant Elise Arnoult Miller; Elise Glattier-Hollingsworth and Denzil Hollingsworth (he with The Houston Design Center); collector Ken Christie; interior designer Anne Breux; Karen Lix; marketing guru Sofia Gambara; Marcela Astralaga; Ivan and Dr. Ted Voloyiannis; Denise Partridge; Nicole De Bacco and Raul Martinez, set to wed next month in Venezuela; Art of the World’s Mauricio Sampogna; and PaperCity‘s Mary Hoang-Do.

Art Lover's Library

A selection of recent releases for your consideration. One of these may just make the perfect addition to your collection or a thoughtful gift for another art lover.



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The diverse oeuvre of Hans Arp (1886-1966)—primarily consisting of sculptures, reliefs, drawings, collages and prints—is world-renowned, yet his sketchbooks remain relatively unknown. 20 Sketchbooks seeks to remedy this by reproducing as meticulous facsimiles 20 of Arp's small sketchbooks and spiral-bound pads, made between 1950 and 1966 and today held at the Fondazione Marguerite Arp-Hagenbach, located in Arp's last atelier in Locarno, Switzerland.

This publication allows us for the first time to "hold" Arp's sketchbooks in our hands and gain new insight into his working processes. Some sketches reveal themselves as drafts for fully realized artworks, yet the majority are exploratory works in themselves. 20 Sketchbooks contains over 400 sketches as well as written notes by the artist. The 20 volumes, each produced at its original size, are presented in a handmade box following the design of the carton in which they were found in Arp's archive.

Published by Gerhard Steidl Druckerei und Verlag, November 20, 2018

ISBN: 9783958293366

Edition of 1,000




Yayoi Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her extraordinary and highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life documents the artist’s exhibition at David Zwirner’s Chelsea location in New York in late 2017, featuring a selection of paintings from her iconic My Eternal Soul series, new large-scale flower sculptures, a polka-dotted environment, and two Infinity Mirror Rooms. The monograph includes new scholarship on the artist by Jenni Sorkin, as well as sixty-five color reproductions and a special foldout poster.

Published by David Zwirner Books, September 25, 2018

ISBN: 9781941701812




For the prospective buyer, the world of printmaking can be overwhelming. Intaglio, lithography, aquatint and sugarlift―even the terms used have the potential to confuse. Helen Rosslyn, a prints and drawings specialist and Director of the London Original Print Fair, provides her expert insider advice in this straight-talking guide. She explains the techniques used by today’s printmakers, accompanied by a brief history of printmaking. A comprehensive glossary elucidates printmaking terms, including the newer language of digital printmaking. Rosslyn answers the commonly asked questions to help the reader navigate this often mysterious world. There are tips and expert advice from artists, print dealers, paper conservators, picture framers and art handlers, alongside reproductions of some of the finest prints from the collection of the Royal Academy of Arts, making this book the perfect companion for anyone interested in buying or collecting prints, whether old master or contemporary.

Published by the Royal Academy of Arts, November 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781912520084


AFAC's Select Art Fairs for Fall: New York, Miami, London, Paris


Here we are at the fall season once again, when the art world is in full swing. If your travel plans take you to any of these major cities this season, you might enjoy making time to see one of these world-class art shows.

Frieze London

The sixteenth edition of Frieze London takes place October 5–7, 2018, with two Preview Days on Wednesday and Thursday, October 3–4. The event will showcase the best of international contemporary art, with a discerning selection of around 160 galleries presenting their most forward-thinking artists. New collaborations with international curators, institutions and galleries will respond to contemporary issues and create an exceptional environment for creativity and discovery. This year’s themed gallery section, “Social Work,” features women artists—from Nancy Spero in the US to Ipek Duben in Turkey—who challenged the status quo and explored the possibilities of political activism in their art-making during the 1980s and 1990s.

FIAC, Paris

La Foire internationale d’art contemporain (FIAC) opens at the Grand Palais October 18–21, 2018. The 45th edition of this show welcomes 195 galleries, including eighteen new participants from around the world, showing modern and contemporary works, beginning with early-twentieth-century masters and extending to today’s emerging artists. Concurrently, FIAC Hors les Murs presents a variety of outdoor exhibits around Paris, including an installation of twenty works at the Tuileries garden, arranged in collaboration with the Louvre museum.

TEFAF New York Fall


This show returns to the Park Avenue Armory October 27–31 with a focus on fine art and decorative art from before 1920, including antiquities. The third edition of this fair, launched in October 2016, has drawn ninety-three exhibitors, including ten new participants. Before the fair, every object intended for display is professionally vetted by TEFAF’s committees of experts in twenty-nine categories. They study each artwork, review provenance, and verify attribution to ensure the quality of the exhibits.

Art Basel Miami Beach


The American edition of Art Basel, the granddaddy of all art fairs, takes place December 6–9, 2018, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. There, 250 of the world’s leading galleries will show artworks from around the globe. The event draws 70,000 visitors each year by offering an exciting week packed with shows, events and a plethora of satellite fairs around the city.

Menil's Makeover

The renovation of the Menil Collection’s main museum building is complete! I had the pleasure of attending the Reopening Preview and Reception last week. Since the museum first opened 30 years ago, some of its exhibits have rarely or never been moved. Now, the building has been refreshed, with restored floors and enhanced lighting, and the galleries have been reconfigured for the newly re-curated exhibits. Seeing the extensive Max Ernst holdings alone is well worth a visit.


Menil Collection

Reopening Reception

The Menil’s fifth and newest building, commissioned as the home of the Menil Drawing Institute, is slated to open to the public on November 3. The 30,146-square-foot structure by Los Angeles-based architects Johnston Marklee features three spacious courtyards and a design that modulates daylight in a way that illuminates the institute’s collection of modern drawings and protects the delicate works on paper.

In related news, Dr. Edouard Kopp has been named Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute. A specialist in European and American drawings, Kopp was previously Curator of Drawings at the Harvard Art Museum and Assistant Curator of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He will manage the growth of the collection of the Menil Drawing Institute as well as its programming, educational outreach, and administration.

New Market Level for Female Artists

Joan Mitchell, "Untitled" (Image, Christie's)

Joan Mitchell, "Untitled" (Image, Christie's)

What is the first name that comes to mind when you think of American abstract expressionists? Pollock? De Kooning? Maybe it should be Mitchell instead. Joan Mitchell produced large, boldly colored paintings and prints throughout a career that spanned from the late 1940s through the early 1990s. In June, two of her paintings sold at Art Basel for $14 million each, just a month after a $16.6 million record was set by another of her paintings at Christie’s sale of Post-war and Contemporary Art in New York.

Is the market for female modern artists finally starting to gain traction, reversing decades of undervaluation? Historically under-recognized and under-priced, female artists still lag behind their male contemporaries in all categories—from old masters to modernists. But institutions and collectors are beginning to pay greater attention to the work of female artists. Recently, top museums, such as the Tate Modern and the Uffizi are presenting more shows focused on female artists. Galleries exhibiting at art fairs like Art Basel are making the decision to exhibit more female artists’ work. And for the Venice Biennale 2019, four participating countries have already chosen to be represented by female artists.

If you have long valued the work of female artists in general, if you already own the work of one or more female artists, or if the name of a female artist is the first that pops to mind when you think of American abstract expressionists, then the fact that women have contributed many noteworthy works of exceptional quality will not be news to you. However, if you’re not familiar with many (or any) female artists, I encourage you to LOOK, LEARN, and COLLECT: that is, spend some time looking at the works, learn all you can about the works and the artists who created them, and then make an investment in owning examples you can enjoy for a lifetime.

My short list recommendations of artists to look at and learn about would include Hannah Hoch, Barbara Hepworth, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Agnes Martin, and Louise Bourgeois. For further recommendations and advice about jumping into the market for female artists, please be in touch.

Elise Arnoult Miller

Studio Visit - Joseph Havel


Enjoyed a fascinating visit to Joseph Havel's studio/foundry in North Houston where he creates a variety of works, from lyrical drawings to monumental bronzes painstakingly, and meticulously created piece by piece seamlessly. He also collaborates with his pet African Grey parrot, Hannah whose random chewing of paper bags and cardboard boxes are forever recorded in bronze, becoming the building blocks of deceptively delicate looking sculptures.

Havel freezes in time the things of everyday life - a curtain, a stack of books from his father's library, an old parasol frame - thereby creating a sentimental type of beauty.

Dallas Art Fair, Nasher Sculpture Center, Karpidas Collection, Goss-Michael Foundation

It's always a pleasure to take in the well-curated Dallas Art Fair. This year, I was also invited to view "The Anatomy of Disquiet" at The Karpidas Collection, and works by Tracey Emin from the Ross-Michael Foundation. I always try to visit Nasher Sculpture Center before leaving town.

The Dallas Art Fair

The Karpidas Collection

Nasher Sculpture Center

Creating a Corporate Collection

Although the majority of my clients are private collectors, I was thrilled to have the occasion to create a unique collection for a commodities trading corporation with offices in Houston and in Stamford, CT. Each piece was carefully selected to convey themes of significance to the client: water, especially the coastal regions of the South and the Northeast, the color of the company's logo (red), and references to their industry. Works in the collection include paintings, sculptures (including a site-specific commission), unique works on paper, and photography. We were also able to use some imagery of company assets as the starting point for some abstract pieces created especially for this project.

Despite the fact that this project required a larger number of works than I normally deal with at once, the approach was identical: listen, discuss, search for just the right pieces that will stand the test of time and suit the space, coordinate shipping, framing, installation and lighting, and document the collection. It was a terrific experience.

Christie's Impressionist and Modern Sales

While attending the Impressionist and Modern sales in New York, it was a special thrill to view the much buzzed-about Salvator Mundi. It sold the following evening for a record-smashing $450 Million! 


The 68-lot evening sale generated $480,414,000 and included the enchanting Matinée sur la Seine by Monet.


AFAC's Select Shows for Fall

I recently attended a panel discussion including a seasoned collector, a curator, a dealer and a conservator. When the question of connoisseurship came up, they all agreed on the importance of enthusiastic looking. The more you look and discuss what you're seeing the better. One panelist commented that connoisseurship is "a practice", not a state of being. One doesn't simply "have an eye" or not, it all comes down to a commitment to, and passion for looking. Looking...looking...and more looking. In that spirit, and now that we are well into the fall season, when the art world is full swing, here are a few exhibits to take in. Happy looking!

Art League Houston’s Texas Artist of the Year at Rice Gallery 

One of the state’s most celebrated and influential contemporary artists, Trenton Doyle Hancock draws on personal experience, art’s canon, and myriad pop culture references to construct a fantastical narrative that spans his artistic career. This exhibition of Hancock’s work, titled “Texas: 1997-2017”, features more than fifty works in a diverse range of media, including mixed-media, painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. His complex amalgamations of characters and plots speak to universal concepts of light and dark, good and evil, and all the grey in between. On view through November 17, 2017. 

Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985 at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 

This show examines the experimental works produced by a range of female artists during a key period for both Latin American history and contemporary art. More than 260 works, including photography and video, were produced by 116 artists, from emblematic figures, such as Lygia Pape and Ana Mendieta, to the lesser-known, including Cuban-born abstract artist Zilia Sánchez and Colombian sculptor Feliza Bursztyn. On display through December 31. 

 Dalí / Duchamp at The Royal Academy of the Arts, London 

Examining the unlikely friendship between the father of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp, and larger-than-life Surrealist Salvador Dalí, this original exhibition brings together around 80 works, including some of Dalí’s most inspired and technically accomplished paintings and sculptures and some of Duchamp’s groundbreaking assemblages, along with correspondence and collaborations between the two artists. Closes January 3, 2018. 

 Rodin at The Met, New York 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates its historic collection of nearly 50 works by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)—representing more than a century of acquisitions—on the centenary of the artist’s death. Bronzes, plasters, and terracottas by Rodin are on display in the newly refurbished B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Gallery through January 15, 2018. 

30th Anniversary Exhibit at The Menil Collection, Houston 

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Menil is highlighting 30 significant works from its permanent collection, which have been chosen to represent the museum’s origins and evolution. The featured paintings, sculptures, and drawings include Native objects, Byzantine icons, Surrealism, and contemporary art. They are specially labeled and distributed throughout the galleries and the campus which is a wonderful way to revisit the entire collection. The works remain on view through January 28, 2018. 

Julie Mehretu HOWL, eon (I, II) at SFMOMA, San Francisco 

The main staircase of SFMOMA’s soaring Haas, Jr. Atrium is newly flanked with a stunning, site-specific diptych by Julie Mehretu, once a resident of the CORE Program, Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The two vast abstract canvases were created as part of SFMOMA’s new art commissioning program. An expansive exploration of the American West, the work deals with the Bay Area’s history of colonialism, capitalism, class conflict, social protest, and technological innovation and how these forces have transformed the social and physical landscape. Ongoing. 





Disaster Preparedness for Art Collectors

Hurricane Harvey exited the Texas Gulf Coast at the end of August, after producing record rainfall, widespread flooding, and other damage that affected more than 50 Texas counties. The storm displaced tens of thousands of residents in the Houston area alone. Whether you’re one of the many now recovering from property damage or someone looking for ways to be better prepared for the next hurricane or extreme rain event, Arnoult Fine Art Consulting offers these tips for protecting works of art before, during, and after such disasters. 

Before a Major Weather Event 

Establish Value:  Have an up-to-date inventory of the artwork you own that includes photos of the individual works and purchase receipts. In addition, it’s ideal to have a professional appraisal (which should be updated every five-to-ten years, depending on the type of work and the artist).  

Know About Your Insurance Coverage:  Discuss your art collection with your insurance agent. Home insurance typically does not cover art collections. 

Seek Shelter:  If you think you are at risk of flooding—and if there is time—move works to a climate-controlled space, such as a storage facility or the home of a friend or family member. 


If You Have to Evacuate 

Move to Higher Ground:  Move artwork to the highest point possible inside the climate-controlled part of the house. 

For Paintings - It’s okay to lay a painting on a flat surface (like a table), face-down on top of a sheet of plastic—or glassine, if possible—to protect the surface. Consider removing canvases from their stretchers if it will make them easier to store or to remove from the house. Remove the entire canvas from the stretcher bars and roll it up, paint side out. Wrap in paper or plastic. 

For Works on Paper - Framed works on paper are best stored upright. Lean the pieces against each other, right-side up, arranged face to face and back to back. 


After an Extreme Wet-Weather Event 

Dry Out:  Try to get artwork away from water and into a climate-controlled area as soon as possible. Big temperature and humidity fluctuations are hard on artwork, especially if they happen repeatedly. For framed works on paper that have gotten wet, find a framer to take them out of their frames to dry as soon as possible.  

Assess Damage:  If any works of art are damaged, find a reputable fine art conservation and restoration professional to evaluate them. Most damage can be repaired.  


And Throughout... 

Remember the Power of Art:  It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy art every day, but the power of art is perhaps even more profound during difficult times. As Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” It’s a quote I often think of when art offers solace in the midst of tragedy. And it’s this quality that makes our roles as caretakers of fine art all the more vital.


For more advice about any of these recommendations, contact Elise Arnoult Miller of Arnoult Fine Art Consulting ,, 832.483.5360.