Hello again, pidge-ga.
OK...here?s the story of the strange search for information on Mino Argento.
I can answer one of your questions quite conclusively. Mr. Argento is
alive and living in Long Island, NY. I know, because I spoke with him
on the phone. More on our conversation below.
But first, I want to begin with all the places where Mr. Argento is NOT:
He?s not listed in the 34-volume Grove Dictionary of Art;
--nor in the comprehensive GaleNet Biographical Collection;
--and not in the listing of more than 100,000 mostly-contemporary
artists included in several on-line art databases such as:
--or numerous other artist/art sales/art auction sites.
Note that several of these sites specialize in scouring the art world
for information on recent sales of paintings, and collect not only
artist information, but information on the art market itself, and the
going prices for artwork..
There are a few places where bits and pieces of information do turn up
about Mino Argento.
One of the most comprehensive indexes of information on artists is the
Union List of Artist Names (ULAN), which is available on-line through
the Getty Research Institute:
?The ULAN is a structured vocabulary containing more than 225,000
names and biographical and bibliographic information about artists and
architects, including a wealth of variant names, pseudonyms, and
There actually is an entry for Mino Argento in ULAN, but it only
references two other articles from Arts Magazine dated in the 1970's
(October 1975, and December 1977) -- there is nothing more recent in
the ULAN entry for our mysterious Mr. Argento.
I spoke with a reference librarian at Getty (310-440-7335) who was
kind enough to look for additional records for me on Mino Argento, but
came up empty-handed, I?m afraid (she did allude to some specialty
reference publications in non-English languages that may have
additional information, but did not search these...your use of
www.comanducci.it may have been one of the types of sources she had in
A search on a magazine/journal database returned one hit for a
magazine the included a reproduction of one of Mr. Argento?s untitled
Art News v. 86 (May 1987) p. 28
I also conducted a comprehensive search of newspaper files at the New
York Time, Lexis-Nexis, and several other sources. The most recent
newspaper reference I could find regarding Mr. Argento?s artwork is a
January 22, 1988 Los Angles Times article that reads, in part:
?Mino Argento's checkerboard-strewn abstractions are an '80s version
of the lightweight sensibility of those School of Paris painters who
embroidered on the big guys' themes. He specializes in geometric
shapes with cloudy edges, expanses of industrial gray touched up with
bright-and-airy candy-colored backgrounds....April Sgro-Riddle Gallery
, 836 N. La Brea Ave., to Feb. 10.?
Unfortunately, the gallery mentioned in the article seems to no longer
be in business.
The only more-recent newspaper article is from Newsday, on Long Island
(where Mr. Argento lives) and is from 1994, but only mentions his name
in the context of his ex-wife?s workout program:
?Staying Power In an era of fast-paced workouts, Lotte Berk's low-key
approach to exercise endures.?
Which brings me to my phone conversation with Mr. Argento.
There are a number of telephone-book entries for Mino Argento in both
Sag Harbor Bridgehampton NY. It is against policy for me to post the
numbers here, but I tried calling the numbers and none of the listed
numbers are actually current numbers for Mr. Argento (one person who
answered said he gets occasional calls for the artist, but has no idea
of his current whereabouts).
The on-line white pages/yellow pages site called SuperPages at:
has several listings for Mino Argento, one for his business listing,
and two others for his personal residence.
PLEASE NOTE THAT NONE OF THE LISTINGS THERE ARE CORRECT.
The listings are not current. However, his business number in the
Yellow Pages is listed as (631) 537-1215, and when I called that
number, an answering machine identified it as a Lotte Berk studio.
Ms. Berk, of course, is Mino Argento?s ex-wife.
I left a message there that I was looking for Mr. Argento, and a few
days afterwards, he was kind enough to call me. My impression was
that he was making a very genuine and willing attempt to be of
assistance. However, I?m afraid very little useful information
emerged from the conversation.
Mr. Argento no longer paints, and has not really been ?in the
business? for many years now. He has no knowledge of recent (within
the last ten years or so) sales or showings. At one point, he
mentally ticked off a number of galleries that had displayed his work
in the past, and as he did so, he said things like ?No, they closed?,
?they?re no longer around?, ?Nope...they?re gone too?.
In other words, no active leads came out of the conversation. I?m
sorry. However, you may want to contact Mr. Argento yourself through
the same route I used, or perhaps even of greater value, have an art
professional contact him.
Which brings us to the topic of selling your painting.
Your options for selling your painting appear to be:
--selling through an arthouse auction
--selling directly to a gallery
--selling through a gallery on consignment
--selling directly to the public via an auction site like Ebay
--making a charitable contribution of your painting, and taking a tax credit for it
I do not have any direct, personal experience in selling art, so
please take the information I provide with the appropriate grains of
You may want to begin the process by speaking with an art appraiser
(I?ve included some contact information below). From what I have
learned during my searching, this could be a valuable first step for
someone like yourself in the process of trying to sell a painting.
You asked a very sensible question: ?Don't appraisers have to have
some knowledge of the artist before they can give an accurate
appraisal of the work??
The answer, of course, is ?Yes?. And even given the dearth of
information on recent sales of Mr. Argento?s works, an appraiser may
be able to help because:
--they have access to specialized sources of information regarding
ownership and sales of paintings that may be of use in valuing an
Argento painting, and;
--they have extensive knowledge of ?Who?s who? in the art world. This
can be enormously valuable in making personal contacts with people who
either own, have bought/sold, or may be interested in buying a work by
--an appraiser may also be able to contact Mr. Argento directly and
ask more meaningful questions of him than I was able to in my
If you do decide to contact an appraiser, you would certainly do well
to make the situation very clear -- that there does not seem to be any
information of recent vintage on sales of Mino Argento works -- and
ask for specifics of how they would value a work in this sort of
situation. Perhaps you should even provide them a copy of, or a link
to, this answer, so that they can quickly become familiar with the
information sources already scrutinized.
With that as background, here are the names of some people and
organizations in the art world you may want to contact for further
Some basic background information on buying/selling/appraising art
works can be found at the Fine Art Dealers Association website:
You may want to contact FADA for additional leads and information.
Since they represent art dealers, their site is understandably a bit
biased towards working through dealers rather than auctions.
Nonetheless, there is good overview information here.
The Art Dealers Association of America has a very well respected
appraisal service. You can find a brief description of it here:
and for more information, can contact:
Art Dealers Association of America
575 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022
phone: 212 940 8590 fax: 212 940 6484
I spoke with Ms. Carlson, who acknowledged that it can be difficult to
fully appraise a work unless there is access to information on recent
sales -- this may or may not be the case for Mr. Argento?s work, but
you wouldn?t know for sure until you underwent an appraisal process.
Ms. Carlson was quite up-front that in some situations like yours, an
auction or a charitable donation might be an easier route than trying
to locate an interested dealer.
By the way, if you decide to go the donation route (donating your
painting as a charitable gift), then you may also want to consider the
appraisal services of the Private Art Dealers Association -- PADA,--
who charges $250 for an appraisal:
?The Private Art Dealers Association is an organization of sixty
established and respected dealers whose various fields of expertise
range from Old Masters to Contemporary Art. PADA has instituted its
appraisal service to provide appraisals exclusively for accepted
donations to charitable organizations and for estate tax purposes.?
?Art in America? magazine is a source of valuable information, much of
which is available online (by the way, a search of the Art in America
archives for Mino Argento turned up (guess...!) no results).
Their list of Art Auction houses can be found here:
The list is geographically diverse, and there may be an auction house
in your area that you can visit for a consultation -- note that some
of the auction houses offer free appraisal services.
Their list of art dealerships can be seen here:
Again, there are dealers all over the country, with a focus on many
different areas of art. If a dealer specializes in the types of
paintings that Mr. Argento produced, or generally sells paintings from
the same period, then they may be interested in acquiring or
consigning your piece.
Lastly, they list two appraisal services to take note of:
Art Research Associates
49 Ocean Avenue
Allenhurst, NJ 07711
732.663.0060 Fax: 732.663.0032
Rose O'Connor, by appointment. Professional, expedient and
confidential service for accurate appraisal reports. Member of
Appraiser Association of America, New England Appraisers Association.
A graduate of NYU's Appraisal Studies program. American and European
paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints of all periods.
Jeffrey P. Fuller, ASA
730-32 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119-3406
215.991.1900 Fax: 215.991.0900
Web: www.artworth.net Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey P. Fuller, ASA, Accredited Senior Appraiser, American Society
of Appraisers since 1984. Certified fine art appraisals of American
and European works of arts for insurance, charitable contributions,
sale, dissolution of marriage, equitable distribution, estate tax and
expert witness services. Call: 1-800-ARTWORTH (800-278-9678)
Well...I wish I could have supplied a more definitive answer of the
type I know you had wished to receive. However, if there?s no
information, then there?s no information...I?m afraid that?s simply
the bottom line.
I do wish you well in your efforts, of course (and I hope you don?t
mind, but I?ll throw in ?season?s greetings? as well).
If anything here is not clear, or if you want additional information
on any of the topics I touched on, just let me know by posting a
Request for Clarification, and I?ll be happy to assist you further.