Art appraiser Jennifer Carman is an open book if you’re looking to learn more about paintings, sculptures and decorative accessories. Since the age of eight she has been collecting artist’s monographs and exhibition catalogs, beginning with a large book of highlights from the Louvre Museum she received as a Christmas gift. “Until that time I was mostly familiar with books full of text where the stories would evoke a vision. With books full of artwork the vision is provided for you, requiring your mind to grapple with a new set of ideas,” she explains. Needless to say, Carman was taken with a passion for the books. “As a child I would save my allowance so I could slowly grow the collection,” she recalls.
Carman, who owns Little Rock’s J.Carman, Inc. Art Advisory and Appraisal Services, has allowed her love of art to evolve from a hobby to a career. She now has more than 3,000 books on art and decorative accessories, many of which she uses to identify and appraise her clients’ pieces. However when it comes to her personal collection, it’s not necessarily books that cover sought-after topics, ones that are rare finds themselves or even works considered to be of value that catch her well-trained eye. Rather, among her favorites are art books that evoke emotion or bring to mind certain places, experiences or people she’s been fortunate to meet during her pursuit of this passion.