Redistributing Art Collections With the experts at Claggett/Rey Gallery

For over 30 years, Claggett/Rey gallery has represented some of the finest artists in North America, and these days, it’s also specializing in estate art consultations.

As many younger people opt for smaller homes and simpler lifestyles, they’ve been showing less interest in inheriting “stuff,” even if it is valuable fine art.

“The kids and grandkids don’t want the burden of things, especially if they have no emotional connection to them,” says Claggett/Rey Gallery owner Bill Rey, who literally grew up in the fine art business.

“Winter Aspens,” by Wayne Wolfe, oil, 45” x 60”

He says that in the next couple of decades, volumes of art will be “heirlooms without heirs” throughout the world. Meanwhile, many collectors haven’t made plans for their fine art to find a new home once they’re gone — or when they decide to downsize.

“The art and the collections are so personal to them — they really are their visual diary so they are the last things to be considered, because they’re so coveted,” Rey says. “We are a resource for families and estates to find a path of redistribution … It’s a profession that takes decades to develop. We have a pulse on the market and take some of the stress out of the decisions, because it is a very stressful thing. Being a comforting factor in that path ahead is what we want to be part of. It’s about relationships when collecting and being part of the solutions when decisions need to be made.”

Rey and his colleagues have strong relationships with auctioneers, appraisers and galleries throughout the nation, which means they can guide collectors through estate planning.


“Everyone in the gallery has strengths and opinions, and we all work together to gain the best insight,” Rey says. “We give clients an honest opinion of the pieces they want to sell.”

Resale values ebb and flow, as they reflect the availability of a certain artist or style; if the market is flooded, prices go down, and vice versa.

The experts at Claggert/Rey know exactly where to find the best price, or donation venue, for a variety of art.

Private sales usually garner much higher prices than auctions, and Claggett/Rey professionals know which galleries specialize, and excel, in the type of art that an individual collector may have. However, private sales can take much longer, and “most families don’t want to wait and deal with the daily challenges of private sales,” Rey says.

Like galleries, hundreds of auctions exist. Most auctions, whether regional or global, garner stronger sales in certain art styles and artists than others. Claggett/Rey steers collectors to the best fit.

As part of the estate planning process, Rey and his associates recommend appraisers who can catalogue collectors’ pieces and assess value.

Sometimes collectors decide to donate artwork and take a tax deduction, especially with quality pieces that don’t have great monetary value at the time.

“We connect people with instituitions, when donating, that can display it so it enhances the legacy of where it came from. 

And, as always, they help anyone new to the art world start collections. Rey says some young people concern themselves more with purchasing art for investment, rather than buying because they like it. His advice:

“Touch of Gold,” by G. Harvey (1933-2017), oil, 24” x 20”

“Buy quality, and buy because you love it and you want to get that radiant energy … this the visual return  dividend and enhancement,” he says. “Then, you should do fine as a return.”

After 30 years in Vail Village, Claggett/Rey Gallery continues to serve clients from its new, modern and redesigned gallery in Edwards, where they plan to stay for a very long time.

“It’s a way of life for us,” Rey says. “We love art, and we love the valley.”

“The Medicine Pipe of Arapoosh,” by Roy Andersen (1930-2019), oil, 48” x 34”