The grave of George Inness from findagrave.com.
I got received that question an e-mail,and I believe I will answer it.
That depends largely on who you are and what sort of a market there is for your work. Usually artists whose work is valuable after their death are the same artists whose work is valuable before their death. People who say you have to die to be recognized are generally off base.There are a few artists who are unknown, often "folk" or naive artists, who are discovered after falling from their perch, but that is rare. So if you want your art to be valued after your death, work to make it valued while you are alive.
You will often hear people say, that artist just died (or looks weak) and you should buy one of their paintings because when they die their work will appreciate in value. That is not usually how it works though. There is often a spike in the value of an artists work upon their death, precisely because of people saying that. However with the artist and their galleries no longer promoting or advertising, the market drops off. Then there is usually a period of time when the artist is either out of fashion or just not available commonly enough to make a market. Then some years later a dealer gets the estate from the distraught heirs (hoping to turn a buck on grandads' art) or a graduate student writes a book or curates a show somewhere of the artists work. If a dealer gets the estate he may work to promote the artists reputation. Then there is a reappraisal, the market reexamines the artist, sometimes their verdict is valuable! and the auction prices go up.
I have been the president of an art association and witnessed many artists trying to leave enormous estates having little or no commercial value to be painstaking preserved and cared for in perpetuity. After an organization gets a couple of tons of this stuff they wise up and realize they can only store so much and become willing to accept only works that have proven value.
Usually an amateur artists paintings are left to their children. The kids hang their favorite up and then store the rest. If they store it in the attic the work should last for generations. If they store it in the cellar the work will often deteriorate.
I will continue with this thread tomorrow.
By the way, I ran into a copy of the big Metcalf book in Belfast Maine for the quite reasonable price or 125.00. It is in the front window of Old Professors Bookshop 99 Main st. 207.338.2006
This is an out of print and hard to find book. It is also the only really good book on Willard Metcalf.