Michael Kenna Donates all of his work to France

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MTGseattle

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Perhaps Mr. Kenna couldn't see a reasonable path to creating something like the Martin Parr foundation for himself. Who knows. My first introduction to his work was looking at his 20-year retrospective. I really enjoy his compositions, and the "mood" he creates with his imagery. I keep hoping to run into him sometime as he has a home here in Seattle. Maybe his motivation was one of simple consolidation and conservation?
 

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Perhaps Mr. Kenna couldn't see a reasonable path to creating something like the Martin Parr foundation for himself. Who knows. My first introduction to his work was looking at his 20-year retrospective. I really enjoy his compositions, and the "mood" he creates with his imagery. I keep hoping to run into him sometime as he has a home here in Seattle. Maybe his motivation was one of simple consolidation and conservation?

I like Michael McKenna's work and am happy he was able to find an institution that would preserve it for future generations.
 
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Ai Print

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OK, an update and this *really* should be been made clear from the beginning, not sure why it was not. I got an email from Michael Kenna's mailing list client yesterday and while it does touch upon the points we are already aware of regarding the entity in France, it also says this:

"It should be noted that I retain complete, full and unrestricted use of my negatives and all usage rights during my life time. The negatives will only be transferred on my death. In most respects, nothing has changed, except that I now have great peace of mind both for myself and for my heirs that I will not be leaving behind a messy mountain of prints and negatives when I eventually fly with the angels. For the forseeable future, I hope and trust that it will be “business as usual” for Michael Kenna Photography."

How on earth the initial announcement was made with this also important info absent seems super odd to me...
 

momus

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I'm going to leave all my work to Walmart. Hopefully it will go on the discount aisle over by the plastic plants and antifreeze. Location, location, location!
 
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OK, an update and this *really* should be been made clear from the beginning, not sure why it was not. I got an email from Michael Kenna's mailing list client yesterday and while it does touch upon the points we are already aware of regarding the entity in France, it also says this:

"It should be noted that I retain complete, full and unrestricted use of my negatives and all usage rights during my life time. The negatives will only be transferred on my death. In most respects, nothing has changed, except that I now have great peace of mind both for myself and for my heirs that I will not be leaving behind a messy mountain of prints and negatives when I eventually fly with the angels. For the forseeable future, I hope and trust that it will be “business as usual” for Michael Kenna Photography."

How on earth the initial announcement was made with this also important info absent seems super odd to me...

So his heirs get nothing? If the French museum continues to commercialize his work after he's dead, they still get nothing?
 

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So his heirs get nothing? If the French museum continues to commercialize his work after he's dead, they still get nothing?

Alan, why do you keep assuming this? He says for now he retains the negatives and all usage rights and that it's the negatives that are given to the museum. Nothing mentioned about his heirs losing all rights on the images. If he has peace of mind, it's most probably because he took care of that in the deal.
 
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Alan, why do you keep assuming this? He says for now he retains the negatives and all usage rights and that it's the negatives that are given to the museum. Nothing mentioned about his heirs losing all rights on the images. If he has peace of mind, it's most probably because he took care of that in the deal.

I didn't start this thread. I'm responding to the OP's original post who made a big deal about "being blown away by this incredible gift". It's not so incredible if he stiffed his heirs. I'm not saying he did. But asking what was in the terms is a reasonable question to ask. While my work doesn't qualify, there may be pros here who would like to do something similar with their work. So the details would be of interest.
 

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I didn't start this thread. I'm responding to the OP's original post who made a big deal about "being blown away by this incredible gift". It's not so incredible if he stiffed his heirs. ...

Why are you questioning MK's motive's? His heirs are his concern...not yours or mine.
 

MattKing

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Taxes!
In lots of places in this world, if one is an artist and dies owning a body of work with a substantial commercial value, a capital gain is immediately crystallized, and the estate owes a whopping sum for that tax bill.
Donation at time of death can reduce/eliminate that bill.
 

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Interesting. I wonder if that applies in the U.S.? I do remember (and things may have changed since) that if an artist donates his work to a museum or a charity, he or she could only write off the cost of materials, not the commercial value of the work. However, if a second party (collector, gallery, museum) would make that same donation, the full market value of the art could be written off. Many purchases of fine art are donated or promised immediately to museums, just for the tax benefits.
 

Vaughn

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I thought it would be interesting to know how one can leave one's work to a museum or a government agency while also protecting your heirs financially.

Then perhaps write what you mean a little sooner as that was not the wording you used. 😎

Asking if someone is 'stiffing' their heirs is a bit rude.
 

Vaughn

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What one says behind someone's back counts, too.

I had a meaningful critique from him decades ago, and others know him here, also.
 

halfaman

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Taxes!
In lots of places in this world, if one is an artist and dies owning a body of work with a substantial commercial value, a capital gain is immediately crystallized, and the estate owes a whopping sum for that tax bill.
Donation at time of death can reduce/eliminate that bill.

In Spain inheritances and donations receive the same treatment regarding taxes. Any kind of sucession in the ownership of anything with a value has a tax bill. With real estate heritage the taxes could be so high that the heirs would not claim their part.
 

Vaughn

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In Spain inheritances and donations receive the same treatment regarding taxes. Any kind of sucession in the ownership of anything with a value has a tax bill. With real estate heritage the taxes could be so high that the heirs would not claim their part.
This is the case in Japan, also. When taxes exceed the perceived value of the land, this cause of many family farms and homes to be abandoned because they are too expensive to claim. So buildings fall down without maintenance, etc.
 

MattKing

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The first$12 million is exempt to federal taxes in the US but each state has their own rules regarding inheritance taxes.

I wouldn't be surprised if that would still result in a big capital gains tax bill for Mr. Kenna's estate.
We don't really have much in the way of inheritance taxes in Canada - less than 1.4% in Probate fees in this province - but 1/2 of any crystalized capital gain is added to the year of death income, and taxed at the rates that apply to the resulting sum. A properly structured donation to appropriately configured not-for-profit registered entities wipes out that tax on capital gains.
 
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What one says behind someone's back counts, too.

I had a meaningful critique from him decades ago, and others know him here, also.

I will gladly apologize if he would explain how his heirs were protected since he gifted the museum. The article only explained how he protected his heritage and his concern for that after he dies.
 

Sirius Glass

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I will gladly apologize if he would explain how his heirs were protected since he gifted the museum. The article only explained how he protected his heritage and his concern for that after he dies.

Who cares?? It is his money and you do not get a say in what he does with his money? Why are you poking you nose in his personal business?
 
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