In the United States, Italy, France and the UK, museums no longer authenticate paintings. They do not give opinions either. The reason is that they are afraid of lawsuits if they make a mistake, or perhaps even if they don't. This trend is extending everywhere and the result is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find out if a painting is authentic or not.
There are private experts, but many are difficult to deal with. Some famous experts have not authenticated anything in 25 years. They reject systematically everything presented to them. Some refuse to look at any newly discovered painting. Others do not even respond to mail and photos sent to them.
The main problem with private experts is perhaps that most of them use outdated methods. They look at the painting and compare it to what they remember. This is the way it was done 100 years ago. This is also why they just send you a piece of paper saying "No. It is not by so and so." or "It will not be in the next catalogue raisonné." No explanation. It is frustrating.
The big auction houses look mostly at the provenance and the catalogue raisonne. If the painting has not been sold at auction before, or you do not have its documented history since it left the artist's studio, and it is not listed in the catalogue raisonné, 99% of the time it will be rejected. Never mind that most catalogues raisonnés are vastly outdated and that none of them was ever complete to begin with. You could call this the recycling approach to authenticating art. Only the paintings already recorded get to be sold again. It is a form of market protectionism. Publishing a catalogue raisonné is often nothing else than an attempt at controlling and cornering the market for an artist. This is why so many are published by the biggest art dealers.
Then, you have laboratories, advertising that they can test pigments and take infrared photographs, and really misleading people into believing this will authenticate the painting. Of course it does not. No pigment analysis will ever prove that you have a Renoir. Or a Rembrandt. Or anything. Scientific material tests can contribute to authenticating a painting, but mostly they serve to confirm or establish cut-off dates, and to reveal forgeries. In other words, they can only show that a painting is not authentic. They cannot identify who painted it, and much less that it is authentic.
Another problem is the masterpiece syndrome. It consists in rejecting all the paintings that are run-of-the-mill, or mediocre, as if every artist produced masterpiece after masterpiece. Painting is not so different from composing music. How many composers do you know who produced only top hits, non-stop, for 40 or 50 years? How many produced 3,000 unforgettable songs or concerti?
Artists have bad days, bad weeks and even bad years. Most painters, even among the most famous, only produced a few masterpieces. The rest of their production was ordinary and may have included numerous mediocre works. The result of the masterpiece syndrome is that if it is not as good as the well-known masterpieces, your painting is immediately rejected.
Then, there is the fact that many artists experimented with styles, subjects or media and produced paintings that are very different from their general output. The so-called atypical paintings. Another reason for a quick rejection.
What is the solution to all this?
We have asked a large number of competent art experts to join us. We offered them to work under the umbrella of this company and to remain anonymous if they want to. This way, they can say what they really think when we show them a painting. In the process, we gain a huge amount of expertise and experience under one roof.
Then, we decided to authenticate paintings using all of the authenticating techniques, methods, approaches and technologies available. This way, a painting would not be rejected because someone has a memory lapse. Expert opinion would be only one component of the conclusions. Conversely, the eye of the connoisseur would not be ignored, it would play its part. Paintings and everything about them, would be researched and analyzed and examined in every way and from every aspect and angle, using all available methods, approaches and technologies.
The result is the best authenticating services ever offered anywhere.
The art experts we have assembled provide unprecedented and enormous combined expertise and we research paintings fully, using all available means. The 360 degrees approach.
Contact us today to learn more!
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We typically respond to inquiries within 24 hours.