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.
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
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.
-- 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. --