Damaged Artwork (after the fact)

I've been doing art fairs for probably a dozen years now and have a new problem. I sell encaustic and I have a patron who purchased what she described as "a large work" from me almost two years ago. I don't remember the sell so don't know which piece of art it is. She just emailed me last week to say the frame is warped - she said three inches on one corner - and she wants to discuss a remedy. I've asked for pictures but haven't gotten any yet.

If I can fix it, I will. I think. If I did something wrong, it seems ethical to fix it. But I also don't know what protocol is here. Nearly two years (20 months to be precise) is a long time and I don't know how it's been stored or displayed. Has it been leaned against a wall for 20 months? Or has it been simply hanging? Has a nail or brad worked itself loose? I have no idea.

Anyone offer advice here? Anyone run into a similar problem? Do I need to start giving out warranties with my work? (Only half-joking there.)

She's probably two hours away from me at least and I have no shows in that region until at least late May.



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  • call a local museum in her area and get names for conservators and give her the list. If you do fix them, you need to charge the same rate as conservators do. we are creators, not conservators and you have no idea about the conditions in any collector's environment. 

  • I wouldn't worry about where it's been for the last 20 months. I would fix it, since there are many simple fixes. She pays for shipping or delivers and picks it up herself. It's your reputation and a goodwill gesture. Imagine what she's going to tell other people based on your decision.

  • Richard always gives great advice, Fletcher.

    an example of an artist going to extreme measures to please his clients, a few years back maybe 10 or 15 now or more, photographer Clyde Butcher, when he first started doing art fairs printed his black-and-white photos on non-archival photo paper. He started getting feedback that these big photos were yellowing, he replaced as many as he heard of with archivally printed black and white photos At considerable expense to himself.

  • Get the picture(s), reply to her with quote for repair if she brings in to your studio or quote if you have to travel to her place. Two years out youbdon't need to do a free job unless you see it was your fault which is not likely. 


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