Authentication  

Authentications and Appraisals
     Appraising and authenticating are often confused. A piece of art is authenticated to determin the identity of the artist who created the piece. Authentication requires the services of an art expert or experts in the field of the particular art. Authentications are much more time-consuming and expensive. Of course, artwork that may have historic value certainly makes the investment in authentication worthwhile.
     Appraisals assume the art is authentic.

Authentication Process
     The process authenticating a piece of art is complex and time-consuming, and therefore expensive.
     The authentication process begins with a physical examination and testing of the particular piece of art. The piece is subjected to several tests including: infra red tests, wood lamp tests, a study of the pigments, etc.. The purpose of these physical tests is to insure the work was completed at the time of the assumed artist.
     These physical tests are followed by the work of graphologists who examine the signature and any other writing on the work that might be attributed to the artist.
     Then experts of the assumed artist examine the work in context to other work of the artist as well as work from other similar artists who painted within the same time frame. There will also be an examination of any documents associated with the painting including provenance. Finally a process of research on the artists life to discover any mention of such a painting. This might include exhibition catalogs, gallery records, etc..
     After this thorough examination, the expert or panel of experts will determine whether an authentication is possible. In many cases, the art cannot be authenticated.
     The cost of authentication can run into the thousands of dollars so the process should not be taken unless there is solid foundation to believe the work has been done by a significant artist.

TIP
-- Authentications are rarely worth their cost, and should not be commissioned unless there is strong evidence the piece is genuine and represents a significant investment value. --