What we do

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What we do

McClelland + Rachen is a consultancy specializing in the field of 20th Century Decorative Arts and Design. Nancy McClelland and Lars Rachen established the firm in 2001. Both partners have a comprehensive knowledge in this field.

Services include advice in selling and purchasing works in the categories of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Post-War and Contemporary Design.

In addition, special focus is given to the maintenance, installation and all other aspects of building an important collection in this field.

Brokerage of Property

We offer direct connections between artists and collectors, galleries, auction houses and museums. Our collective knowledge is an invaluable asset for both buyers and sellers who aim to secure the appropriate outcome for their individual needs.

Clients seek out brokers because of their knowledge and experience in a relevant market and their ability to oversee transactions in a timely and professional manner.

Advice

All markets are subject to change. We offer clear and expert guidance for clients who wish to navigate a smooth passage through the complexities of this vibrant and exciting sector.

Auction Sales

The partners’ long professional association with Christie’s offers clients a rare insight into the practicalities of buying and selling at auction, whether at the major sales in the United States or globally.

Advice and Guidance

01 Find out what you love

Understand the area you would like to collect in and start looking at objects. Museums, specialized galleries and the auction houses are good places to train your eye. The ever-changing art market is a difficult place to navigate and a good basic knowledge will protect you from making fundamental mistakes. Start to compile a good reference library. Auction catalogues are an excellent source of information related to the objects and their value.

02 Be serious and selective in your choices

Identify your budget and buy one great object versus 10 mediocre pieces. Be disciplined and restrained but never when the right object comes along. Overpaying for a rare and wonderful work is never a mistake.

03 Condition and authenticity

The field of 20th Century Decorative Art and Design is complicated. When presented with an object, one must start from a position that it could have been restored or it is fake. Only rigorous and meticulous research can “clear” the object of any doubt. Provenance is critical to its value. If an object is restored, broken or has replaced parts, be cautious and only if the object is rare, unique or considered a masterpiece consider the acquisition.

04 Value

The value of an object is subjective to each individual but is characterized through the importance of the artist and the success of the design, the rarity of the object, its condition and its freshness to the market. As the art market, and particularly the area of Design, is linked to popular culture and taste, be aware of what you are buying: taste can change quickly and so will the value of an object. Short-lived trends are not part of serious collections.

05 Art as investment

We would not advise client to buy works of art as an investment.

06 Find a few people who you can trust

Speak to experts who have a deep and comprehensive knowledge in the field. Always keep an independent view and compare and contrast all comments you receive. Then make up your mind about a purchase or a sale.

07 Connoisseurship

A connoisseur is a person with a deep knowledge and training in the arts and an expert judge in matters of taste. In the art world, his or her judgment is a crucial skill for the identification and attribution of great works and great collections often involve the help of a connoisseur’s view. A dialogue with knowledgeable people is critical to understanding what you are doing in a market or keeping your collecting on-track.

08 Discretion

In the matter of buying or selling works of art, discretion is critical, especially relating to all financial transactions.

09 Don't be afraid to experiment

Periodic reappraisals of your tastes are always a good idea. What excites you today could easily bore you tomorrow. A quality collection is always evolving and never static.

10 Panning for gold

What makes a great collector great is his or her ability to separate out specific works of art from the millions of pieces already in existence and assemble them in such a way as to increase or advance our understanding of that art in particular or of the evolution of art in general.

What inspires us

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Tiffany's glass mosaics at Corning

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MOMA at Fondation LVMH

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Alfred Barr's "Torpedo" Diagram of ideal Permanent Collection

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Paris, always

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Philip Johnson, always

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Martinuzzi at Wright

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Goya Subastas, Madrid

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San Marco, Venice

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Brice Marden , Gagosian London

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Myrtle Trees

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Tina Barneys new book

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Holbein's Christina of Denmark, National Gallery, London

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Seurat at the National Gallery, London

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Morandi at Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Parma

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Not Vital at the Bündner Kunst Museum, Chur

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Bündner Kunst Museum, Chur

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Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza, Varese

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Mirror's by Marianna Kennedy

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Glyptothek, Munich