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