Paintings and drawings can only be attributed and a certificate of attribution issued when there is reasonable certainty that they are the work of the artist. Every painting that is unsigned cannot always be attributed to a specific artist. The most that can sometimes be determined is that a work is from a particular period or approximate date and from a specific school or area. In other cases, it might be possible to go further and to determine that it is in the style of, in the manner of, by a follower of, from the circle of, from the studio or workshop of, a particular artist. The goal is always to identify the artist because it is what produces the highest increase in value for the owner.
Some very famous paintings are attributed in this way:
Leonardo da Vinci, Ginevra de' Benci, c. 1474/1478, oil on panel
National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund.
A solid attribution, well reasoned, clearly and convincingly presented, is just as good as an authentication in terms of market value of the painting. The result of an attribution is a supporting report. It shows and explains why the painting has been ascribed to a particular painter (if it has). It shows how this conclusion was reached. It explains what was researched and how. It demonstrates the validity of the attribution.
The attribution process can be complex, time-consuming and costly. We recommend attribution only when a painting has the requisite artistic merit. Contact us today for a consultation.
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We typically respond to inquiries within 24 hours.