What exactly is the difference between "When we make a temp list of works of art" and "When we save the list"?
I believe that you are saving finds and since the sort order is not saved with the find, you have to sort them each time. Saving a find just saves the criteria used to perform that find and nothing else.
You might want to set up a table where you store both the criteria and the desired sort order (unless the sort order is the same in all cases.) A script can then use the stored criteria to perfom the find and also to sort the records for you.